Excerpted from GOD, GUNS, GRITS AND GRAVY by Mike Huckabee. Copyright © 2015 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC.
The three major "nerve centers" of our culture are New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. The nation's finance and fashion center is New York City; D.C. is the epicenter of American politics and government; and Los Angeles is the nexus for enter- tainment, whether movies, television, or music. They are the three "bubbles" of influence in our modern culture and they are indeed "bub- bles." I call these cities "Bubble-ville." I intentionally live in what I call "Bubba-ville." It's where "Bubbas" live, and where a lot of people are called by two names: Mary Elizabeth, Katherine Grace, Jim Bob, and Darryl Wayne.
I travel to New York City every week to host my TV show on the Fox News Channel. Because the show originates from there, most people think that I surely must live there. I'm quick to say, "I don't live there and won't unless they will let me duck hunt in Central Park." I'm quite certain that isn't going to happen since it's all but impossible to own a gun in New York City, much less legally use it. Unless you're a cop or a crook, you probably don't possess a firearm in New York City. In fact, you've probably never seen one in person.
But it's more than guns. Have you ever tried to order grits in a fancy Manhattan restaurant? Good luck. Not even for breakfast! And you'll get some real weird looks if you ask for "sawmill gravy" on your pota- toes or biscuits-that is if you can find real biscuits. And I'm sorry, but gravy on a bagel just doesn't work for me. If I want to chew that hard, I'll take up chewing tobacco, which I won't. I'm not even that rural! I can somewhat understand that New York restaurants might not typi- cally have red-eye gravy or chocolate gravy as those might be a bit re- gional, but how can an eating place that fancies itself fancy have the audacity to open its doors and not have biscuits and gravy or grits on the breakfast menu?
And while there are some really wonderful churches in New York City, I get the impression that the total number of the people who faith- fully attend church is a small fraction of the population. It's not com- pletely Sodom and Gomorrah, but the traffic at 3 a.m. Sunday is more intense than at 11 a.m. That ought to tell you something.
Don't get me wrong-New York is an exciting city and there's al- ways a lot going on. It's full of energy and it has a unique "vibe" all its own. But it's crowded, loud, hurried, intense, and it just seems like its streets are filthy. Even when the trash gets picked up, you always want to burn your shoes after you've walked the New York streets because of all the "stuff " that is ever present on the sidewalks. I can't find a Walmart in Manhattan, either, and people stare at my cowboy boots when I'm on the subway. What's up with that? I prefer boots over Birkenstocks. Does that make me weird?
I feel out of place in Washington, D.C. as well. I really spend very little time in our nation's capital and only go there when I have to. It's a lovely city with all those monuments and stone buildings, but if ego could be turned into electricity, Washington, D.C. would have electric power in unlimited levels and never have a power outage. But for a city where everyone sure is in a hurry and acts busy, nothing productive ever happens there. Some people think that because I'm involved in poli- tics, I surely must live there. I don't. In fact, there's only one address in that city that I'd probably want to relocate to. J
And Los Angeles has great weather, but the weather isn't great enough to make me want to sit in traffic for two hours to go four miles on any given day. And getting grits and gravy there is maybe tougher than in New York. If you want to eat seaweed salad, kale, or granola, you can find lots of varieties. But I thought only North Koreans ate lawn clippings, and no one ever looks you in the eyes in LA or if they do, you're unaware of it because they wear sunglasses all the time-even indoors. I don't know how they can see well enough to keep from stum- bling all over the place.
So let me make it clear-I'm a proud son of the South, but I can easily relate to folks from the Midwest, Southwest, and most of rural America. I feel a bit more disconnected from people who have never fired a gun, never fished with a cane pole, never cooked with propane, or never changed a tire. If people use "summer" as a verb as in, "we sum- mer in the Hamptons," I probably don't have much in common with them. If people don't put pepper sauce on their black-eyed peas or or- der fried green tomatoes for an appetizer, I probably won't relate to them without some effort.
This is a book about God, guns, grits, and gravy. It's not a recipe book for Southern cuisine, nor a collection of religious devotionals, nor a manual on how to properly load a semiautomatic shotgun. It's a book about what's commonly referred to as "flyover country," the vast por- tion of real estate that sits between the East Coast and the West Coast and which more often than not votes red instead of blue, roots for the Cowboys in the NFL and the Cardinals in the National League, and has three or more Bibles in every house. It's where there's nothing un- usual at all about God, guns, grits, or gravy. It's not a novelty; it's not strange or weird. It's a way of life.
It's where I was born, raised, and have lived my entire life. I like it. I feel at home there. I'm a catfish and corn bread kind of guy, not a caviar and crab salad connoisseur.
This book will be very encouraging to people who live in Bubba- ville. And to those who live in Bubble-ville, it will be very enlightening. After you've read it, you'll probably still want to live in your same bubble, but you might at least for the first time really understand those of us you fly over and look down on when you make the LA to New York red-eye flight and wonder, "Just what kind of people live there?" Because most of the movies and television shows portray people living in one of the bubbles, we know you pretty well. We get your unique phrases, attitudes, and even know something about your various neigh- borhoods. But I don't think you know us very well. We really don't live in Bugtussle and we do have indoor plumbing and electricity. So let me introduce you to the land and the people for whom God, guns, grits, and gravy all make perfect sense. After you finish the book, you might just say, "Dang, those good ol' boys ain't so dumb after all."
See former Gov. Huckabee Sunday on "This Week."