The Nebraskafication of the US

Belligerence, Christian Nationalism & Big Money

Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
6 min readNov 2, 2023


I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and I got out as soon as I could because I found it so wretched. But much to my dismay, the last few years have seen the rest of the United States become more like the place I fled.

It’s been said about Omaha that it’s “too Southern” to be a Northern city, but “too far north” to be a Southern city. That is, the culture and the politics of Omaha are too conservative for a Northern city, but geographically it’s just not in the South.

I personally found it to be narrow-minded and bigoted, with the threat of violence being a constant undertone. As someone who was struggling to understand and come to terms with my gender nonconformity and gay sexuality, the atmosphere was hostile. (For more on this saga, see my book, “Confessions of a Queer Catholic Nebraska Boy.”)

I haven’t lived there for three solid decades, and I’m willing to believe things have changed — during 2016’s post-election anti-Trump protests, I saw rainbow flags being carried in the photos of Central High’s student walk-out, which would’ve been unthinkable when I was that age in the ‘80s — but nonetheless the shadows I sought to escape there have seemingly spread across the country.

I’m not just talking about specific cultural afflictions like racism, sexism, homophobia, and the rest, or particular political stances in favor of “Capitalism” and militarism and against “Socialism” and peace, but about the spirit with which they are held, which is, in a word: belligerence.

(I put “Capitalism” and “Socialism” in quotation marks because neither concept is actually understood by the the vast majority of people who throw around the terms.)

This belligerence is what I most associate with the culture I was subjected to in Nebraska, and it’s what I see ever more dominating politics and discourse in the US. I know this belligerence is not unique to Nebraska, and I’m sure readers from many other places are all too familiar. It’s stubborn, conceited, clench-fisted, red-faced and shrill. It’s a knee-jerk resistance to any idea that might mean even the slightest change to the status quo. It’s the tone of…