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View Diary: "rural" and "dumb" need not apply (185 comments)

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  •  Well said (40+ / 0-)

    The whole notion of red states and blue states was a Republican marketing technique to make their minority status of population look greater than it was on the electoral map, which shows states by land area.

    The whole notion of a culture war was to delegitimize the culture of educated people that was coming into being during the 1970s.  It was to privilege a whole variety of entrepreneur who learned how to profit from ignorance.

    My FDR-loving parents grew up in the rural South, and I grew up in a pro-labor small textile town.  The people there that I know changed because of the preaching they heard, the radio they listened to, the use the Republican party made of personal networks in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to actively propagandize, and the exploitation of the latent sense those outside your rural or small town environment were snickering at you behind their hands.

    For working folks lionized in the graphic arts and music of the 1930s and World War II, that was a cause of resentment.  Call it pseudo-cosmopolitan bigoty, it showed up in TV when working-class and rural characters became portrayed as buffoons.  Where wealth and suburbs dominated the imagery on the TV.

    It also happened because they were not prepared for the dramatic changes that would occur from the 1950s to 1970s.  The farm my mom grew up on two miles from a one-block rural market town is now part of a sprawling suburb of a high-tech Southern city in an urban area approaching 2 million.  The small town I grew up in is now a city of 100,000 in an urban area of 300,000.  The textile mills are gone.  A lot of folks commute as much as 50 miles to work.

    And after a progressive era with a growth in prosperity, declining wages and harder times caused folks to retreat to what they knew best--family, church, traditional ideas about the way society should be organized.  And now they are sorta dug in, defensive, not wanting any more change for a while until they can cope with the change and the difficulties they have already experienced.

    They want the dignity of work again.  That is what they want and the sense that they aren't the only one's pulling the load.  Mostly they want not to be looked down upon because of where they grew up or what they are.

    They are the 99% too.  Time to stop writing them off and pushing them away.

    That said, because of the defensiveness, it is going to be damn difficult to bring them into honest dialog.  It's going to be difficult to have conversations that reach beyond talking points they heard on the radio or from the preacher or the guys hanging out at whatever business folks get together at or the gals from the beauty parlor or from their friends at church.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:57:20 PM PST

    •  wow - deep and enlightening (5+ / 0-)

      We need the noble types, like the late Andy Griffith of your beautiful North Carolina, whose clear-eyed reason, straight-backed posture, and fair-minded speaking worked for a common sense that emphasized our reassuring similarities rather than our annoying or faux-threatening differences.

      Plenty of good words have been inked since Mr. Griffith died last July. google around for examples.

      Here's a high-rated one: Andy Griffith, Political Icon?

      Hope is, after all, the currency of popular politics, and a coin surprisingly hard to devalue. -- Fred Anderson, Crucible of War

      by ornerydad on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:11:49 PM PST

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    •  Today's liberals and progressives (12+ / 0-)

      are the ideological and political and many times literal descendants of the rural populists and urban progressives of the late 19th century, who overcame their differences and distrust to come together from 1900-1965 to pass some of the most progressive legislation the world has known.

      In response, the increasingly more craven and conservative GOP sought to divide them along racial and class lines, very successfully, such that rural agrarian and urban working class whites are far more aligned with the GOP than in the past. But it wasn't always so. There was a time when a majority of both were solidly Democratic (or Socialist). It wasn't where they lived that turned them GOP. It was the politics of racial and class division, stirred by the GOP.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:36:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dead on. (6+ / 0-)

      We should not write them off. That doesn't mean it's easy, and you hit on some of the hard places well here.

      But it's so worth it if we can find the ways to reach. And stopping with treating rural people like they're all stupid or all the same is a start, anyway. As is hearing the real issues they're facing that are often making their actual lives hard as hell now.

    •  Good antidote: the late, great Joe Bageant. (4+ / 0-)

      The guy spent of lot of 2004-2006 trying to enlighten DK denizens about what folks were like back in his hometown of Winchester, VA.  While he was a good deal to the left of most DK-ers, his writing should still be on the reading list of everyone who claims to care about the 99%.

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