But our so-called lives kuew joy as well. Wlio can ever forgetrnthe U.S. women’s soccer team? Brianna and Brandi and Mia:rnWlien that winning goal was scored, we cried, too, at least thosernof us who were awake.rnThe soccer ball: that leathery symbol of British imperialism,rntaken up by collaborators in every country that had the misfortunernto find itself under the British bootheel. The Shah of Iranrnused it to Westernize his subjects; Nike is spending $50 millionrnon Project 2010, its pestilenhal campaign to infect Americanrnchildren with this foreign virus. Among my heroes are the Zulusrnwho, in the 19th centur)’, rioted and ripped soccer balls tornshreds after watching British sailors play the infernal game.rn(The recent ballyhooed “A Call to Civil Societ},” signed byrnsuch usual suspects as Francis Fukuyama, Cornel West, JamesrnQ. Wilson, and the unavoidable Senator Lieberman, gushesrnthat “vouth soccer has acc[uired a profound public significance.”rnAs Jim Garrison said, it’s all starting to come together.)rnBefore World War II, when book-length poems were actuallyrnpublished without NEA subvention and bought by peoplernwho intended to read them and often did, Josephine YoungrnCase, the daughter of electro-mogul Owen D. Young of GeneralrnElectric, wrote At Midnight on the 3ht of March, a fantasy inrnwhich a small Upstate New York town awakes to find that it hasrnbeen cut off from the rest of the world —if, indeed, the rest ofrnthe world even exists anymore. After an initial period of bewilderment,rnMrs. Case’s townfolk of Saugersville survive by dint ofrncooperative effort, native ingenuity, and the use of those resourcesrnindigenous to the area. The older ones begin to remember:rnWien Saugersville set fashions for itself,rnI mean to say we had our own ways herernThat weren’t the ways of Centerfield or Steck,rnMuch less the ways of any city placernWliere most of us had never been at all.rnAfter a year of isolation, “they knew each other as they neverrnhad”; they come to realize:rnThe life is harder than it used to be,rnBut troubles are more real. We’re thankful thatrnWhat’s bad, or good, is right beneath your hand.rnYou know just where you’re at, and what to do.rnWe’re all of us more real, and more alive.rnAnd Saugersville is real, more like a town.rnAnd not just a gas-pump on a concrete road.rnAll of us more real: They have gotten a life.rnImagine waking up in a world with no Michael F.isner, nornRupert Murdoch, no Bill and Hillary Clinton, no George W.rnBush, no Robin Williams, no Microsoft or Gannett or Wal-rnMart . . . you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the onlyrnone.rn”Locality gives art,” said Robert Frost, and any step, any actrnwe take to bring back locality, to resuscitate the parochial, to invigoraternthe provincialism that thwarted tiie cocaine dreams ofrnyoung George Bush, is thus an act of hope and love and beautv.rnThomas Craven wrote in the 1930’s that “the only outlet, thernsole means of escape, for the American painter, lies in the discoveryrnof the local essence,” by which he did not mean a PBSrnhootenanny but anything from Grant Wood to Zora NealcrnHurston to Donald Davidson to the Coen brothers’ Fargo, onernof the only movies I have ever seen that admits, even celebrates,rnthe fact that people who live outside television anchor sets oftenrnspeak in peculiar dialects.rnOne painting of the Tonawanda Creek is better than five millionrnpieces of computerized mail trying to steal the widow’srnmite. The earringed community college teacher whose laborsrnhave gotten the children’s stories of our native son John Gardnerrninto fourth-grade classrooms across the county is doing whatrna thousand Falls Church minarehists burrowed in the Departmentrnof Education can never do. The elderly spinster whornwrites a history of her Triangle Club is satisfied in a way thatrnElizabeth Dole never can be, no matter how many pills herrnhusband pops. The father who might drink a bit too much beerrnand curse a blue streak but who walks his son through town,rnpointing out where the Tracys lived, where they used to playrnfootball in the autumn twilight, where Jack the Indian used tornhunker down for the night to sleep it off, is living “family values”rnin a way that Gary Bauer cannot even dream of, even if he saysrn”gee-whillikers” and drinks grape Nehi.rnSeveral years ago, I had the displeasure of evaluating, for arnuniversity press, a book of essays by professors and staff at St.rnLawrence Universit}’ about the North Country of New York,rnthe American arctic, Frederick Exley land. One professor’srnwife, a lady from downstate who had obviously moved for money,rncomplained that her efforts to make conversation with thernlocal women always came to naught, for they insisted on talkingrnabout the weather, remarking on hot spells and cold stretches,rnand never about “the front page of the New York Times.” Indeed,rnshe harbored dark suspicions that these women werernwholly unfamiliar with the prose stylings of A.M. Rosenthal.rnLike George W. Bush, she probably uses “provincial” as anrnepithet. To her, Washington matters. But hers is the Americarnof Time magazine; there also exists a time-less America, anrnAmerica willing to fight for its precious insularit)’ against the citizensrnof the world who believe they own our countr)’.rn”America, turn in and find yourself,” urged the Iowa poetrnPaul Engle in those mid-century years when such advice wasrndeemed treasonous. Iowa existed not for its own sake but as arncolony which would send corn and boys to the empire. And ifrnone of those boys had the pluck to ask “why?” as Bill Williamsrnof Atlantic, Iowa, did, he was anathematized by Gold War liberalsrnand ridiculed by Washington/New York conservatives, thernsame pallid creatures who made fun of George McCovern’srnbeautiful campaign slogan, “Come home, America.” But then,rnwhatever homes they once had had long since been abandoned.rnIt is not that Washington and New York Cit’ and Hollywoodrnare out of touch or unresponsive —rather, they are our enemies.rnResistance is futile, or so they would have us believe. And besides,rnyou have a choice: Coke or Pepsi. Bush or Gore. Disneyrnor Dreamworks. Wal-Mart or K-Mart. CBS or CNN. Gannettrnor Knight-Ridder. George Stephanopolous or Bill Kristol.rnG’mon, stop complaining. Get a life.rnWhen the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer hasrnresigned his office, then the revolufion is accomplished. Buyrnfrom your neighbor. Grow your own. Turn off the TV. Voternfor Pat—or Harry or Joe or the Greens or the lady next door.rnRead your ancestors. Put flowers by their graves. Paint yourrnblock. Avenge what is lost; laugh.rnCommit place-ism. With joy and impunity.rn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn