Apparently, I live in Dumb----istan. Let me tell you about it


The other day I saw a t-shirt for sale with the 2016 electoral college map printed on the front. Along the bottom, the map had a key indicating the blue states were "The United States of America," and the red states were a place called "Dumbf---istan."

I live in St. Charles, Missouri, right in the heart of Dumbf---istan. My family and I moved here in 2013. About a year later my mom passed away, and my wife and I needed to leave town and take care of her funeral. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford to bring our kids on such short notice.

Despite knowing very few people in our new community, the entire neighborhood stepped up. Our kids spent a week going from house to house, getting consoled with unlimited mac n' cheese and Netflix.

Dumbf---istan takes care of its own.

I learned that again the following year.

My wife, who was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, started volunteering at our community's startup incubator. A short while later she was hired to be the incubator manager. Valuing the transferrable skillset of a stay-at-home mom is an extremely progressive, uncommon employment practice, and for our family it happened in a conservative community in one of the reddest states on the map.

The people of Dumbf---istan aren't Neanderthals.

My wife isn't chained to a stove.

My Trump-supporting neighbor doesn't have a welcome mat with a swastika on it.

But we can be just as guilty of thinking of our counterparts in other parts of the country in similarly simplistic terms.

I recently appeared on Patriot Radio, a conservative channel on Sirius XM. During the show the host kept referring to Democrats as "coastal elites."

Granted, "coastal elite" isn't "Dumbf---istan"—but it still lumps literally hundreds of millions of people into one uniform category.

Hearing the host use the term made me think of my very liberal brother. He lives in Seattle, but he is no one's idea of a "coastal elite." He manages an auto parts store and builds hot rods on the side. He attends Seattle Seahawks games with his giant beard dyed neon green. This week he's raising money to deliver Christmas presents to underprivileged kids.

"Though the narratives on the left and right are different, both are premised on the idea that your political opposite doesn't care about you and wants to see your way of life disappear."

My brother didn't vote for Hillary Clinton because he wanted to see vanilla ice cream, Chevy trucks, and all else that is good and holy about America banned. In fact, my brother likes vanilla ice cream and owns a Chevy truck.

My brother voted for Hillary Clinton for the same reason my neighbor voted for Trump: he believed she was the candidate who best spoke to his concerns.

The people of Dummbf*ckistan would like my brother, and he would fit right in in Dumbf---istan.

Though the narratives on the left and right are different, both are premised on the idea that your political opposite doesn't care about you and wants to see your way of life disappear.

"Coastal elites" are glad to see Dumbf---istanians suffer a jobless, heroin-addled existence so long as we all understand which bathroom everyone should use.

Dumbf---istanians would prefer everyone who isn't straight, white, conservative, and Christian make their way to Canada as soon as possible.

These narratives are both untrue and incredibly damaging.

After the election, the media started covering a small secession movement in California. Nearly every one of the articles about "Calexit" comes to the same conclusion: because of Texas vs. White, the 1869 ruling laying out the path to secession, any state leaving the Union is extremely unlikely. The required constitutional amendment simply sets the bar too high.

That's like saying a couple won't get divorced because they just bought a big expensive house in a bad economy.

My parents tried sticking together because it was too expensive to divorce. One year after they made that decision, my mom tried to light my dad's truck on fire (with him in it), and he moved into a horse trailer.

Needless to say, neither one cared about the foreclosure and my mom was happy to move into a tiny apartment.

If you consistently tell your spouse how awful they are for long enough they will eventually leave—no matter what a mortgage (or a court ruling from 1869) says.

Every time we publish a Tweet calling someone a "libtard" or purchase a Dumbf---istan t-shirt, we get closer to that moment where one half of the union just says, "I'm out—no matter what you try and do to stop to me."

And as anyone who's gone through a divorce—or watched someone else go through a divorce—can tell you, while sometimes it's inevitable, you will regret not doing whatever you can to try and fix it before it's too late.

Commentary by Dustin McKissen, the founder and CEO of McKissen + Company, a strategy, marketing, and public relations firm based in St. Charles, Missouri. He was named one of LinkedIn's "Top Voices" in 2015 and 2016, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Organizational and Industrial Psychology. Follow him on Twitter @DMcKissen.

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