Essential American Wisdom

Two Old Boomers Walked Into An Appalachian Saloon…

We would very much like your assistance

… one a blind writer and the other a self-made historian. They saddled up on a couple of three-legged bar stools, threw back a few too many rounds of PBR, and lamented the state of affairs in America these days. The blind guy took notes, and this is what they had to say about the mess the country has made of itself.

This is, literally, what Vassar and I have been doing for the last nine months. OK, maybe not quite “literally” since the whole collaboration took place via a bunch of phone calls and a multitude of email threads. Of course, it’s also true that we didn’t actually meet, physically, in a saloon but we talked often about how much more fun this project would have been had we both gone to our Mutual land of Birthright in Appalachia, and scribbled it down on a bunch of sticky notes. The rest of this story is almost 100% true.

Starting back in mid-October of 2020 it occurred to the two of us that the election was going to be a shitshow, given everything that happened between the period after the George Floyd riots, the slow-motion train wreck of the covid-19 response, and everything that went on between the corporatist media and the social media Elites to put a thumb on the scales of the national election. We intentionally waited to finish this up until at least the first hundred days of the new presidency were in the can.

The manuscript is complete, the book consists of over sixty-four thousand words and almost 300 pages, and we think it’s good enough to try and get it published.

For those of you reading this that are not aware, as a result of three Strokes, I can no longer read and write and am completely blind in the right half of each eye – a condition known as “Homonymous Hemianopsia”. I have found several tools… One of which is not cheap… That takes dictation, shows me grammatical errors in red lines, and provides the ability to proofread and spell-check along with whether or not it stinks and if my grammar makes the grade. The book consists of 12 chapters, some of which I wrote and the rest of which came from Vassar. It is a truly collaborative effort, and I would never have bothered to try if it hadn’t been for his partnership and mentorship. We had definitely gotten to know each other a great deal better as a result of this exercise.

So why am I writing this, you ask? We would like your Collective assistance along with a little guidance on how to go about finding a publisher that isn’t Amazon. Uploading to Kindle is easy enough, but Amazon is the enemy in my mind, especially since they like to censor people with whom they disagree, and the two of us are far enough along in age that seeing it in print and on a bookshelf in the store would be a far greater bucket-list pleasure than whether or not we make any real serious money as a result of our effort.

For what it’s worth, we think it should be considered a must-read for anyone trying to figure out how we’re going to clean up the mess that has been made of this country in the last year-and-a-half. If any of you have any suggestions or advice… Leads or friends of friends that know friends… We would very much like to hear about them and thank you in advance for your support in finding a publisher and seeing the book make it to print.

To give you a taste, I will paste below the introduction to the book as it is seen in the manuscript that has yet to be submitted to any Publishers for consideration or review.

“Unwashed Philosophy: Perfecting An Imperfect Union”

A philosopher, generically, is considered “a lover of wisdom. “Wisdom has been defined as “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. I believe, personally, that a more concise definition would suggest that “Wisdom is Failure’s Bastard. Further, I contend that there are actually two types of philosophers; the so-called “high-minded philosopher” who spends a lifetime studying the wisdom of others, and the philosopher I like to call “everybody else” who lives their hands-on, real-life experience and then, God willing, lives long enough to share what they think they learned along the way with anyone willing to listen and hopefully learn how to do it better for themselves.

We are proud, card-carrying members, of the Unwashed “everybody else” Philosophers’ Society.

Convinced, as I am, that “there are far more people in the world that consider themselves lovers of wisdom than there are those that actually possess it, I decided that it was time for me to write a book.

This treatise was inspired by the course of human events over the last few decades (1950’s to present), folded in with written essays that have been published in various forums around the internet by myself and my contributing author, under the sobriquet “Vassar Bushmills,” without whom this project would never have been undertaken. Vassar and I share both socio-political opinions as well as deep ancestral ties to Appalachian America. We share a similar upbringing in church-based and God-centric homes; both of us come from Families with a deep appreciation for hard work, kindness and human decency, humility, self-respect, and good manners.

Our respective observations and collective convictions are that America is the greatest nation in the history of humankind. To be sure, she is not without flaws and imperfections. Still, no other nation since the dawn of the human race has ever been designed precisely because it was believed that the value of the individual should be considered greater than the value of the collective ruling authority. The ideas of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and individual freedom are anathema to everything every previous civilized society has ever been designed to represent.

While it is true that dynasties and civilizations have risen and fallen, and kingdoms and empires have come and gone, it also remains true that tyrants and saviors alike have come into power or notoriety only to be subsequently consumed by it and ultimately destroyed because of it. And, forasmuch as Humanity may have biologically evolved over the centuries, we haven’t changed very much, in the Darwinian context, at all.

At our core, the primal expectation of the human race, as it is with all living creatures, is pretty straightforward: we are born, and we die, and along the way, in the name of survival, we labor to hone and refine our skills and abilities, in harmony with our environment and available resources, such that we have adequate shelter, sufficient sustenance, and successful reproduction to continue the species in the name of avoiding our own extinction.

There is no prerequisite here that readers ascribe to, practice, or even disavow any particular faith, religion, or dogma. It is important, however, that you accept as at least possible the notion that the universe, of which we are each little more than a microscopic part, is comprised of far more than what we can see, or even possibly fully comprehend, and that some things can only be taken at face value and in our own personal context and perspective. Such was the case with our founding fathers as well as, and perhaps even more so, the life and times of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the generations hence upon which much of the foundation of the American Nation was built.

This point matters going forward because, after Abraham built up the foundations of a new nation, it was Moses and the Israelites that left Egypt and wandered in the desert a very long time before settling in and re-building the nation Abraham’s descendants had squandered and lost generations before. That process included writing laws and organizing social structures in the name of their God and their faith and their hopes for better lives for themselves and future generations.

History may be flush with tales of nations that have risen and fallen in the past, but America doesn’t have to suffer the same fate. We have the capacity to weather this storm if enough of us refuse to let it go without a fight.


An Engineer and Educator by trade, David has been a writer, developer, and accomplished web designer/administrator for more than 20 years. Descended from a long line of Appalachians, on the McCoy side of the feud, he was raised in a God-centric and American pride-influenced home in which kindness, human decency, humility, grace, self-respect, and good manners were expected and enforced. Blinded by three strokes and no longer able to read or write, David developed methods to compensate for these challenges in order to continue communicating; while acknowledging that there is more life in his rear-view mirror than whatever lies ahead through the front windshield, he insists this doesn't mean he has nothing left to say.

Add comment

Special Feature Entries


The Edge

Buy me a Coffee :)