Friday, January 11, 2019

An interesting spin on rurality in relation to "the wall"

I've been accumulating stories about rural and working class folks who are bearing the brunt of (what  I see as )Trump's crazy policies, and I was planning to write a composite post about them at some point.  But all of that synthesizing will take time, and when I came across this today, I decided it deserved it's own post.  The headline for the Washington Post story is "The Wall is Trump's 'Read my Lips' Pledge." Contributing columnist Gary Abernathy of Hillsboro, Ohio rehashes the "literal v. serious" dichotomy regarding whether we should take what Trump says, a recurring theme among pundits.  The point of invoking that dichotomy here is to interrogate whether Trump's campaign promise of a wall was to be taken literally.  Here's Abernathy's rural-themed insight/argument:
In rural America, where property lines are regularly defined by fences and gates to keep livestock in, families and property secure, and trespassers out (“No Trespassing” signs are as common here as stoplights in the city), defining and defending our southern border with a wall is just common sense.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

"Nationalism" across the rural-urban axis

E.J. Dionne proclaimed a few days in his syndicated column that "There is much to fear about nationalism.  But liberals need to address it the right way."  In it, he discusses the current political moment (including the nationalist grip on Trumpsters--think "America First") in relation to the rural-urban divide.  He begins:
In affluent neighborhoods around Washington, New York and Los Angeles — and, for that matter, Paris, London and Berlin — it’s common to denounce nationalism, to disdain supposedly mindless, angry populists, and to praise those with an open-minded, cosmopolitan outlook. Note that those involved are praising themselves.
And then he gets more specifically to the rural-urban divide, linking the current political divide that
so often falls along the rural-urban axis to the economic woes of the former:
But those who would save liberal democracy (along with anyone who would advance a broadly progressive political outlook) need to be honest with themselves and less arrogant toward those who currently find nationalism attractive. 
Across the democratic world, an enormous divide has opened between affluent metropolitan areas and the smaller cities, towns and rural regions far removed from tech booms and knowledge industries. 
Globalization married to rapid technological change has been very good to the well-educated folks in metro areas and a disaster for many citizens outside of them. This is now a truism, but it took far too long for economic and policy elites to recognize what was happening (emphasis added).
I'll leave it at that for now, for readers to consider Dionne's critique of the chattering classes.