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OK, I'm a workin stiff, so who's got time - but egged on by a counter-commenter, here goes...

Good ol' MinistryofTruth posted a diary headlined The Walking Dumb, highly recced today, certainly enough to get me to read it... whereupon I seen some 10 really GREAT lead-off lines, followed by some dumping on the dumb.

Dig it, sisters and brothers, I enjoy inveighing against the willfully ignorant just as much as the next progressive-socialist-humanitarian-ecologian type around here - - but I also believe in the most TOLERANT, expansive, inclusive DEMOCRATIC Party possible in our times... and times to come. And so, past the autumnally-hued cloud x-ray, I take the advice of counter-commenter Mathazar, who suggested I post me own fine screed here!

Here's a comment I posted just after Election Day, on a diary headlined The Rural Worldview's Death Rattle:


I disagree with condemning "rural" to meaning cracker-backwards-racist-bigoted-male-dominant-ignorant-isolationist.


    There are plenty of big city and suburban neighborhoods I could walk you through where all that and worse would be grossly evident.

    Just as there are plenty of remote, boondocks places full of vibrant, cosmopolitan - not necessarily hipster potfarm yoga retreats, I mean - communities where difference is celebrated, not just tolerated, and certainly not shunned or written off. And votes are there.

    Why should we ink out the boondocks? I can read county and state maps - but I don't buy the blue-red paradigm wholesale. I see purple.

    Sociologically, anthropologically, psychologically, yes people are different - and one way they show difference is in where they choose to live, or where not to live. BUT folks end up in the darndest places, y'know?

    Again - why should progressives write off districts and parishes and counties where people live who like their wide open spaces? This "worldview" you are talking about: I guess if I take issue with your thesis, then I am really taking issue with this label, "rural," as code for this "clannish" intolerant thing.

    Je refuse!

    If you want to consider a different label, I'd be game. But it seems to me, that even for the sake of expedience, writing off "country," or "pastoral," or "rural," is painting the Democratic party into a corner we don't belong in.
    Ask Iowa senator Tom Harkin. Ask Democrats in Vermont!

    We are urban - we are rural - we are mountain fastness and swampy coast. We are desert fringe and downtown river.

    We are etc. Let this tent be open, and let the canvas spread further.

and here is some expansion:


there are certainly differences in social structures btwn urban & rural areas - but there are often greater differences within a single city than between that city and a rural area.

    Let's face it, there are plenty of cities where the local "urban" viewpoint is not one of acceptance of differences.

    And there are parts of cities where this cosmopolitan viewpoint is strong - and just a few streets away, one finds oneself in some type of clannish settlement, very inward-focused, exclusive, even "backwards."

    For that matter, do we want every city to be Portland, Oregon? Or Boise, Idaho? San Diego? El Paso? Jacksonville, Florida? The prevailing "urban" worldview of each of these cities - IF it can be succinctly defined - is different, and some of them might be considered to have a "rural" worldview, in terms that the diarist frames this...

LET US NOT CEDE the "RURAL" and not even the "DUMB" to the parties that are not in step with us!

(I think many of those "DUMB" white folks are in most cases more HARRIED and perhaps FECKLESS or ABASHED than DUMB, anyway.)

Here's a quote from George Bernard Shaw (the play "Major Barbara"):


  UNDERSHAFT [with biting contempt] You lust for personal righteousness, for self-approval, for what you call a good conscience, for what Barbara calls salvation, for what I call patronizing people who are not so lucky as yourself.
Is that who we are? Is that what we are doing? I read "people who are not so lucky" as the ones we are here condemning as RURAL and/or DUMB.

It is perhaps morally wrong, it is shallow, and it seems to me ill-advised for a progressive movement seeking to grow as the most inclusive American political party.

Tipped and recced, of course - especially for your succinct and sizzling first 10 lines!

AND SO -- The above segments were the comment; urged by Mathazar here they are in diary form for y'all. HAVE at it, KOSSACKS!

And HEY: don't come crying to me if you are too damn DUMB to get the point, or too far out in RURAL America to get good reception on the innertubes! What am I? A ROOSEVELT or something!?

8:25 PM PT: UPDATE 8:18 Pacific time... top o' the Reco heap - want to know what's best? the feeling of thoughtful, community discourse. That individuals out there - North Carolina, Kentucky, Maine, NYC, Oregon - care, and are dedicated enough to speak their piece. The respect of the circle, as we pass the peace pipe. Don't really have to say a word....

Somehow, staying hooked to dKos through various election cycles and political deadzone times has yielded an almost magical, optimistic moment. In that very spirit, I trust this democratic and Democratic superblog will carry on, long, strong, and true. = thanks =

Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:32 AM PT: thanks all - after a 24-hr hiatus, got to parse & respond to bunch of newer comments, incl. one from the one and only MoT.
this diary has been a nice little love fest, for the most part, and if I had the final word, it would have to be: RAY CHARLES.
= peaceout y'all =

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  •  Tip Jar (292+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfinx, Another Grizzle, Chacounne, Dave in Northridge, DBunn, lineatus, Catte Nappe, filthyLiberalDOTcom, WheninRome, TarheelDem, jarbyus, glorificus, nomandates, claude, jakedog42, Catesby, peachcreek, Lost Left Coaster, 73rd virgin, dskoe, eeff, BlackSheep1, poliwrangler, illegal smile, dance you monster, TracieLynn, Anne was here, jguzman17, envwq, CJB, emptythreatsfarm, exiledfromTN, Mentatmark, just another vet, Tunk, pragmaticidealist, Nailbanger, Richard Cranium, gundyj, flowerfarmer, Bule Betawi, miscanthus, Unduna, carlylu, Marihilda, snowwoman, psnyder, Nulwee, zett, Joieau, slatsg, Prairie Gal, quaoar, frisco, Glinda, tofumagoo, OrangeMike, NYmom, pelagicray, NotGeorgeWill, Massconfusion, jan4insight, Chi, Loonesta, also mom of 5, emmasnacker, Spit, Keninoakland, joanneleon, lostboyjim, PaDemTerry, bronte17, randallt, KVoimakas, maybeeso in michigan, howabout, susanthe, Jane Lew, rhetoricus, mahakali overdrive, Matilda, Leftcandid, philipmerrill, Jim R, tardis10, Ice Blue, Morgan Sandlin, Steveningen, buddabelly, Bridge Master, wasatch, Chaddiwicker, Illinois IRV, terjeanderson, muddy boots, chantedor, litoralis, wader, Araguato, David54, begone, kevinpdx, thomask, millwood, Mathazar, CA coastsider, geebeebee, Just Bob, liz dexic, bsmechanic, Debby, roses, citisven, edsbrooklyn, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, splashy, Thinking Fella, frankzappatista, MRA NY, not a cent, dotsright, 417els, fight2bfree, yoduuuh do or do not, kpardue, camlbacker, marleycat, Thousandwatts, MJ via Chicago, manyamile, dotdash2u, GMFORD, We Won, bluesheep, outragedinSF, gloriana, fhcec, sawgrass727, retLT, Jeff Y, Nicci August, ekyprogressive, rat racer, Larsstephens, riverlover, standingup, Noodles, earicicle, spooks51, ahyums, here4tehbeer, BachFan, Missys Brother, radarlady, cantelow, stegro, mofembot, skohayes, pipercity1, MartyM, dear occupant, lotlizard, Karen Wehrstein, jhop7, BlueInARedState, boatwright, MadGeorgiaDem, djMikulec, MrSandman, melo, mamamorgaine, missLotus, cassandraX, rodentrancher, DSC on the Plateau, Dobber, coppercelt, kestrel9000, dadadata, coolbreeze, cal2010, Carol in San Antonio, MuskokaGord, GDbot, PvtJarHead, broths, sgary, Shadowmage36, Yasuragi, cactusgal, Hopeful Monster, legalchic, Joy of Fishes, rosabw, trustno1, Mike Kahlow, starfu, arlene, SingerInTheChoir, meralda, salmo, Tinfoil Hat, MidwestTreeHugger, stoneboat, jacey, Its a New Day, semiot, suspiciousmind, Noddy, profmom, CroneWit, Lawrence, jw1, OutcastsAndCastoffs, OhioNatureMom, texaslucy, avsp, Audri, figbash, beaky, leftywright, cv lurking gf, Russ Jarmusch, vmibran, stormicats, mkfarkus, redlum jak, Texknight, oortdust, NearlyNormal, Mayfly, Jake Williams, dkw, MinistryOfTruth, CanadaGoose, mbh1023, blue armadillo, CS in AZ, duckhunter, Serendipity, Timaeus, BigOkie, rsmpdx, the OTHER rasmussen, J M F, surfbird007, MKinTN, nickrud, bewild, mungley, el dorado gal, Andrew F Cockburn, Nag, grrr, elfling, Youffraita, zerelda, misslegalbeagle, high uintas, doingbusinessas, SanFernandoValleyMom, Robynhood too, FreeWoman19, winsock, Glacial Erratic, retch sweeny, sostos, Naranjadia, mrbeen38, Little Red Hen, Wood Dragon, Wife of Bath, Eddie L, Quicklund, FourthOfJulyAsburyPark, Smoh, filby, nyr2k2, Msinformed, left over flower child, deepeco, Old Iowa Liberal, sethtriggs, cotterperson, sboucher, elginblt, Oh Mary Oh, Shippo1776, mashed potatoes, diggerspop, Lonely Texan, ER Doc

    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 05:40:01 PM PST

  •  Near our cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains, which (113+ / 0-)

    is "Rural The Way We Like It" (according to the license plate holders our community organization sold a few years back), we have both seriously progressive and seriously conservative folks.

    The thing is - in a rural area, sometimes it seems easier to overlook those differences.  We know that in times of crisis, we're going to count on each other first and foremost, and the outside world and the government after them.  Our neighbor, who is so conservative that we agreed never to talk politics years ago, knows that he can come over and help himself to our generator if the power goes out for a long stretch in the winter.  We know that he'll keep an eye on our place and give us a call if anything seems out of place, or if he sees people around in the months that we don't visit.  He and my husband worked together to help a third neighbor who had a log fall on his leg while chopping firewood - they got him to the hospital, and then came back to finish chopping the firewood because it was obvious that the neighbor wouldn't be mobile for months.

    It seems like rural areas would be the best place to reach out, because neighbors really do know each other and understand the idea of working toward common goals, even if you don't always agree how to get there.

    •  well I love your examples (62+ / 0-)

      but I have to say Look at Staten Island and Breezy Point and other New York City areas where people have come out in droves to help each other in this post-superstorm crisis!

      all of these examples really show how silly it is to condemn "rural" or "urban" or anything along these lines.

      Now, if you want to condemn "DUMB" by itself, I have much less of a problem - especially when we are talking about a WILLFUL IGNORANCE, a "can't be bothered" to read up on the issues mentality.  But tying DUMB to RURAL is - it seems to me - both strategically short-sighted and humanistically incoherent.

      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 06:48:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I live along one of the main streets in Eugene,OR (16+ / 0-)

      My neighbor is a loony republican who also is an exceptional programmer so he ain't dumb. I just say that he is emotionally handicapped and we mostly don't discuss politics. Yet we mow each others lawns, we loan him the use of our tools and utility trailer, he gives us fish and elk, we commiserate on the thistle lady across the street (ever seen an 8ft thistle- she had 15), we sadly commiserated when his best friend from childhood recently died at 50 from an inoperable brain tumor.... We really like this guy and we certainly don't think he is dumb but he definitely ignores anything that might get in the way of hunting or fishing.., otherwise his mom who lives in AZ seems to give him most of his political points. I actually have giggled at his points and now he seldom dumps a Limbaughian or Beckian rationale. We get along and we are not rural but we really do not want to fight... We really are there for each other and our other neighbors.

      I think that this rural crap comes from the fact that many who live a distance from near neighbors develops the delusion that they are totally self-sufficient. Somehow they don't see a neighborly helping hand as in conflict with their attitude. Now my son is a republican and lives in LA as far from rural as a human being can get. He is coming around slowly.

      Fear is the Mind Killer...

      by boophus on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:07:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for the word-pictures (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wasatch, lineatus, radarlady, sethtriggs

        really pleasant to visualize that "loony" and your other neighbors

        your sig -

        Fear is the Mind Killer...
        makes me think of -
        Woody Guthrie's guitar is the fascist killer...
        if there weren't any loony birds, then Minnesota would be out one state icon!

        - and good luck with that boy o' yours in Angelville.

        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 07:39:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I love Minnesota. Lived there from 4 to 14. Hated (7+ / 0-)

          the mosquitos that carried children away sometimes and the humidity. But I really loved the snow. Seems it doesn't get as cold as when I was a wee babe. LOL but the lakes were fab. I especially liked leech lake where we came out of the water covered in leeches. Truth in naming and we ignored it cause we wanted to swim. LOL. I want my honey to see it and consider moving there because we could easily go to all the eastern states.

          I was a farm girl all those years as my stepfather worked as a tenant farmer on wheat , corn, turkey and dairy farms. Loved those silly old cows especially the one I called Daisy. Later I found out that my favorite place to lay was the back of a mean old bull (except he was so sweet). We lived on a turkey farm for nearly a year. Hate them since they attacked me as a flock while I was doing the chore of collecting the goofs who simply died of surprise to be dumped in a cistern. We as imps that many children are used to try to surprise them and see if they would fall over dead. My brother-in -law didn't believe me until I showed him an article about a turkey farm that sued the fire department for running with sirens ... they lost lots of dumb turkeys (probably why some people are called turkeys)... Fun to stampede them too. AND dumber then chickens.

          I love the sound of loons. They don't bother me like peacock cries. Is fishing still good there? Does the Miss still flood? I read somewhere that Itaska is drying up. Is that true? Is the Miss going to shrink? It has been over 30 years since I last went back to visit relatives... You know all of us Finns who descended on Minnesota. Most have moved away now. Anyway just hearing Minnesota sent me off sorry.

          Fear is the Mind Killer...

          by boophus on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:59:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  sweet sweet writing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ain't been up Minnehaha way for awhile myself either - but there's a land where the urban and the rural have a lot positive interplay!

            thanks for writing.

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

            by ornerydad on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:11:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Had a friend (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ornerydad, lineatus, sethtriggs

      Say the same thing about rural Alaska. Her take on it (and most of the year she lives in Berkley,) is that in rural areas, everyone has a tendency to unite against nature - and that, while political schisms exist, they take a backseat to working together.

      The same doesn't hold true in the suburbs many times, I'm afraid.

      It's gonna be, a glorious day - I feel my luck could change. ~ Radiohead

      by trustno1 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 04:54:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "unite against nature" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lineatus, sethtriggs

        that ain't ornerydad's take on rural, but I suppose since you're talking ALASKA, the meaning is more like "unite to have a fighting chance to survive nature" ey.

        Hey, in suburbs you have to unite - especially as young punks - to survive against endless parking lots and related insufferable pressures.

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

        by ornerydad on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:14:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Didn't read the diary that sparked this (48+ / 0-)

    But have to sign on with recs and tips to the reminder that the urge toward broad brush segmentation of the diverse population under our big tent often needs to be reined in.

    " can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:26:42 PM PST

    •  You can say that again. (8+ / 0-)

      Send conservatives to for re-education.

      by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:30:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  both are linked above (10+ / 0-)

        here they are again:

        The Rural Worldview's Death Rattle


        The Walking Dumb

        to be clear: I admire each of the diarists, and I share some of their points and angles. The line I'm looking to draw, however, is that we E Pluribus Unum types have to guard against ghettoizing or stigmatizing what amounts to huge swaths of humanity - and voters - by facile shorthand and stereotyping.

        I like stereotyping for fun - tell me off-color jokes at parties, please! But politics ain't beanbag.

        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 06:54:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I read the "walking" one. It was well (8+ / 0-)

          written. I may or may not bother to look at the other.

          Yes, indeed, there is a weakness of some in the liberal community to gleefully attack their own over what they perceive as trusims, but aren't.  Rural whites=dumb conservative is one.  You can take a look at certain of my past diary entries if you want to identify another. Fortunately  there aren't a lot of those kind of liberals among us, just enough to cause major trouble when unity is required, and constantly drive corrosive wedges into the progressive community.

          Send conservatives to for re-education.

          by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:24:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  do we live in an age of triumphant sarcasm? (5+ / 0-)

            (or is it just my breath)

            what I mean is, we all the time buy into stereotypes about "the others" because it is easy and funny - except when it gets ugly and destructive. in other words, I agree with you on this point, and am hopeful about your take on the proportions.

            Also, those "corrosive wedges" - (what a cool tool!) - where can we order a gross?

            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 08:00:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think what is forgotten or is not understood (22+ / 0-)

            well enough, is that folks in a rural community (or in a poor urban community) are living their lives, making a living, getting along as they can, and sharing the culture of their friends and neighbors and relatives.

            I think that what is in the best interests of one community is often in the best interests of the other, however, the powers that be (on both sides sometimes) pit one against the other.

            I think it is the failure of progressives to triumph in messaging over the last 30 years that should be given some scrutiny in this context, and we are now in a position to finally achieve that victory.

            This will ultimately pull our fractured society back together.
            It isn't going to be easy, and it won't happen every night.

            It wasn't just the efforts of capitalists that whittled away at labor, it was the failure of labor itself to maintain its integrity. Labor leaders became corrupted, labor was infiltrated by organized crime. Organizing stopped, the labor force was divided along racial lines. Etc. This coincided with the 'new South' and the movement of investment to the "right to work" states.
            What the inner cities have been experiencing for decades, esp. since the Reagan years, has been the decline of the black middle class, the increasing scarcity of good jobs; and in the last 15 years or so, especially since 2007, this has been the new reality for the white-dominant suburbs and rural areas.

            So we're waking up. We're all in this together. That includes all those Fox viewers and tea party koolaid drinkers. Even if  they never face reality. We have a better chance of waking them up if we don't buy into their delusion.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:50:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

          I've travelled the world my whole life. I've lived in D.C. where I was born. I've lived in San Francisco, Monterey, Colorado Spring and Denver, not to mention cities in Belguim and Germany. Cities have their benefits, but, the traffic and crowding and cost, I was not happy. The noise and lights and sirens were more than I could bear. When we settled down, my husband (a Detroit boy), decided to settle in Kentucky. And we live way out in the country, nearest neighbor is my parents quarter of a mile away. I have great horned owls and coyotes singing at night and stars fill the sky. I walk the dog a mile and never leave my yard, she's not bored either. I have wild turkeys in summer and deer year round.
           Not sure how this makes me an idiot or racist. There have been times here I've felt unwanted and unwelcome on this site. Look, country ain't always klan, and anyone screaming it is needs to rethink their position.

          "And while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions."

          by Shippo1776 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:05:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  "rural" and "dumb" are not the same thing and I (29+ / 0-)

    would not cede any vote, anywhere. Wherever hatriot radio reigns, people will be subjected to its sirens' call. It FEELS good to hate, it FEELS good to hear someone attack someone you hate (yeah you can say differently but human nature will out), that emotion is very stimulating, and when information is limited it's very easy to manufacturer a strawman liberal/Democrat and hold it up for everyone to attack. When you're so busy working and trying to enjoy your life AND you find politics boring, AND the only stations on the radio broadcast that filth, well, people will get twisted. And the right has been twisting them for 30 years. It's time to start UNTWISTING them, not ignoring them. I know of 1 success story I took part in so i KNOW IT IS POSSIBLE.

    Send conservatives to for re-education.

    by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:29:29 PM PST

  •  Republicans of the Rovian ilk (8+ / 0-)

    ... like to exploit the rural/urban divide to win elections they ought to be losing, and are too often successful. I can't think of any reason why we'd want to play into that, as the Walking Dumb diarist seems to do.

  •  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

  •  I lived in big cities nearly all my life (32+ / 0-)

    London, NY, Ft Lauderdale.

    My husband and I always wanted to get out to somewhere more peaceful, and we did it in a big way by moving out to rural Oregon onto what we consider to be a large 50 acre piece of property.

    And no, not all of Oregon is the same.  Our county is full of die-hard Ron Paul fanatics.  They're also very religious.  And for the most part, their family has been here for generations and everyone's known each other their whole lives.

    We knew when we came here that we had some prejudices about rural folks (dumb hick gun nuts) that we had to get over.  And boy did we ever.  We soon learned the sense in why they did what they did considering their environment.  We soon learned how much incredibly smarter they were about stuff than we were for things that count around here.  They made us, who prided ourselves on how intelligent we were, well they made us look like idiots who knew how to do nothing.  Because we were.

    And we soon learned about their amazing generosity of spirit.  Yes, we may not agree on politics, and not on religion, but without exception everyone has been kind and generous and always willing to help.  Which is more than I can say for the people from the city that we left behind.

    I will always have the utmost respect for 99% of my neighbors.  And I have caused one or two to come over to the dark side on religion and politics :D

  •  I serve two, rural congregations in NW Wisconsin (39+ / 0-)

    and I love it. I do suffer from occasional ocular muscle strain from rolling the old eyeballs fairly frequently, but mine aren't the only one's rattling around.

    My congregants run the gamut on the typical political/social scale. Many of them are third and fourth gen farmers, and oftentimes, the only post secondary education they received was in the service. They've never had a female pastor before, and I came to them from twelve years in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but my big city shine wore off pretty quick and they're getting used to boobs under the robes.

    No matter where I've served-urban, suburban, rural, or beyond the beyonds, I've run into the same kinds of folks. And I've come to the conclusion that your world is as big as your heart can stretch to fit. And that's all there is to it.

    Hearts can be surprisingly elastic without folks even realizing it.

    Almost 10 year old Daughter: "Boys are pretty good, but daughters have sentimental value." Me: "I don't think that phrase means what you think it does." Daughter: "None of them do, Mom. More's the pity. Words have to be flexible in today's world."

    by left rev on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:09:00 PM PST

  •  Rural dweller here... (25+ / 0-)

    (Kentucky, even!) I appreciate not being written off!  Some of  us are trying to do good work out here...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:22:17 PM PST

  •  I posted a comment to that otherwise fine diary (12+ / 0-)

    here, in which I wrote that there are dumb racist whites everywhere, in cities, suburbs and rural American, and that they're not just poor but also working and middle class (hell, upper class too, I should have added), and that this isn't really a city vs. rural thing so much as it's a smart vs. dumb, tolerant vs. bigoted, and progressive vs. regressive thing, that crosses regional boundaries.

    I also threw in some stuff that many here will disagree with about how these idiots, wherever they live, are Jefferson's evil spawn, the descendants of the yoeman farmers he championed who in all too many cases ended up being for secession and then joined the Klan to protect their "rights", because he refused to be more open to the need to push the country forward rather than keep it held back to an unsustainable pre-industrial agrarian past.

    Which is I believe one of the reasons we have many urban whites who might live and work in the modern industrial world but experience and perceive it with a pre-industrial mindset that fears change and people unlike them. Put another way, Jefferson championed a form of luddite, anti-elitist, hyper-individualist populism that manifests itself these days as the Tea Party, and before that as Birchers, Goldwaterites and Reaganites (including Reagan Democrats).

    Just as there are urban white racist idiots, there are also rural white progressives. It's not about where you live or what economic strata you occupy, but what kind of person you are, and how open-minded and decent you are.

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

    by kovie on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:25:39 PM PST

    •  I've lived there. (15+ / 0-)

      And it's inconvenient but true - there are more fine shades and dimensions than our stereotypes allow.

      I knew farmers who were passionate dittoheads - except they were also passionate about conservation of the land.  I knew hunters who were pro-gun-control.  I knew home schoolers who were upset when public school funding was cut.

      People don't always fit into categories.

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:48:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't disagree with that, but, from what I've (5+ / 0-)

      read in histories of the South, Northern/urban/industrialized condescension towards the pre-industrialized South goes back to the beginnings of this country as well. It's an unhelpful attitude, to say the least. I thought it was a basic liberal tenet that we should lift up the poor and educated, which is what 'rural' is likely to mean. It's a failure of our commitment to progressive values when we look down on the poor and uneducated, just because we don't like the way they vote. Does anyone think it's an accident that VA and NC are turning blue and a dark shade of purple while the rest of the South stays red? And that those states coincidentally have education systems that are superior to the rest of the South? I don't.

      Also, ahem, the highest AA population percentages are in the South. When you write off the South, you are also being racist. The numbers of AA's fleeing cities like NYC for the South have been astonishing in the past decade or so. Guess what? Those oh so progressive urban areas didn't do jack shit to lift up urban AA's as cities gentrified.

      I live in a small town just south of Chapel Hill that has been Dem since the 70's. It's also more educated than other small towns in the state. My mother's family has been in another part of the state since the '70's; they voted Dem when their neighbors didn't. My family also happened to more educated than their neighbors.

      When I hear self-identified progressives trashing rural areas, I also see their progressive values drying up. I believe strongly in the transformative powers of education and economic stability. I'm saddened when fellow progressives only kinda sorta believe in those powers.

      •  way to go with the (0+ / 0-)

        Transformative Powers!

        especially on Fridays... would say more but got to go do that rat race thing.

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

        by ornerydad on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:20:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't believe I was doing any of this (0+ / 0-)

        Rather, I was arguing against it. Or so I thought. But if your problem is with my and other progressives appearing to look down at stupid and racist whites who vote GOP in general, wherever they live in terms of region or city/country, and whether they're poor, middle class or rich, well, am I supposed to forgive them or look up to them? Or should I patronze them and excuse their behavior?

        Sorry, can't and won't do that. We can argue over what's the best way to reach out to them or whether it's even possible or worth the effort, but over here in the land of the reality-based, there's simply no way to view them except as stupid, ignorant and racist, because that's what they ARE, objectively speaking (and trust me, they don't read this blog, or are likely to have heard of it).

        So, to be clear, I'm not trashing the south, midwest or non-coastal west, rural America, white people, poor people, working class people, religious people, and all the other "flyover America" stereotypes. I'm trashing stupid, ignorant, hateful and racist people, wherever they live, whatever they do and whatever their class. And I believe that this is also true of most progressives you refer to.

        However, having said that, such people are clearly overrepresented in certain regions, namely the south and rural America, as per survey after survey, poll after poll and election after election. It's not an opinion, let alone a negative one. As Obama put it, in a different context, it's just math (and btw he was dead on in that "cling to their guns and religion" speech). And any attempt to fix this must begin with an acknowledgement of this reality.

        Also, I disagree with you about historical condescension toward the south and its historically more rural, less educated and poorer people. During the founding it was progressives like Hamilton who tried to implement policies that would help the south move past its agrarian neo-feudal past, via national financial and economic policies, government support for industry, education, roads, standards, etc. (not to mention the gradual abolition of slavery). And it was self-imagined champions of the south like Jefferson who actively fought against this, hiding behind "states rights" nonsense but in reality just protecting their own privileges and positions as neo-aristocrats at the top of its social and economic ladder.

        You need to make up your mind, do you really want to help the south and its poorer and less educated people (and similarly lagging regions), which requires government help including at the national level, or do you want to fixate over tone and language and what kinds of help are condescending and not?

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

        by kovie on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:40:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know much about the rural South (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wood Dragon, Shippo1776

        but I know a lot about the rural northeast.  Perhaps they are very different in this respect, but I wouldn't paint the entire rural landscape of the U.S. as uniquely poor and uneducated. I've lived in rural parts of the Northeast and urban areas -- and I would guess that there are a lot more people in NYC who have less education (and are probably poorer) than people in the small rural town I grew up in.  There is rural poverty and there is urban poverty.  But it seems okay among progressive circles to  condescend to the rural working class and poor (and even middle class) -- particularly if those people are republican -- whereas one wouldn't do that openly about the people that live in the projects near me in Brooklyn.  Why is that?  Is it because rural poor tend to be white, so we can't be accused of racism?  In any case, I really appreciate your last paragraph.  Also, rural Maine used to be a lot more economically viable.  The community that my parents grew up in was very different than even the one that I grew up in.  It was much more socially mobile.  Much more civic pride.  Still, a large percent of the population in the town I grew up in went on to college, and there was a very high value placed on education. But then they tended to move out of state or at least to a New England city to find work.  It is a sad state of affairs, but not the fault of the people who live there and love their land and their communities and only want to be able to make a decent living and support their families.  It is a sad situation for our country that rural communities are less and less economically viable.

        •  As I wrote in another comment recently (0+ / 0-)

          Over the past decades the GOP has successfully split the old Democratic-Populist-Progressive coalition that was responsible for most of the progressive reforms in the US from roughly 1900-1965, along racial, regional and cultural lines, pitting whites against blacks, social conservatives against social liberals, rural and outer suburban dwellers against urban and inner suburban dwellers, etc.

          White and blacks, the poor, working and middle class, rural, suburban and urban dwellers, etc., used to be united against their upper class exploiters, whether it was on a farm or in a factory. Obviously, there was racism within this coalition, and tensions across regional and cultural lines. But it managed to hold firm and get some amazing things done, until the modern GOP found a way to split it wide open over race, region and culture, and through economic and labor policy.

          They used the Civil and Voting Rights Acts to divide poor and working class whites and blacks over race. They chipped away at the Wagner Act and other labor laws to weaken one of the left's traditional power bases, unions. They used free trade, corporate consolidation and financial deregulation to impoverish and weaken independant farmers, another traditional power base of the left. They exploited social issues like religion, guns, women's and gay rights and abortion to divide Democrats yet again. And so now, instead of standing united against their common enemy, too-powerful corporations and oligarchs, whites and blacks, rural and urban dwellers, social conservatives and liberals, etc., are divided over such issues, which while clearly important need not be so divisive.

          And even here, they've managed to divide the thinking left over such relatively secondary issues as whether you're from the north or south or a rural or urban region. They've got us fighting each other over pecking order.

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

          by kovie on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:24:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  kovie, you've got the kind of tough (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and sharp instrument of a mind it's a pleasure to tumble with.

            glad of your historic descriptions & observations here

            may have to start "following" you


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

            by ornerydad on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:38:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, friend. (16+ / 0-)

    In Wisconsin, the Republicans build up their biggest margins in the deep red counties around Milwaukee - Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee.

    Look at a map from most recent elections and you can see my beloved rural southwestern counties colored a beautiful shade of blue.  My home county, Vernon, is a hotbed of organic agriculture and political resistance to industrial abuse of various types.

    Even though I am a 5th generation farmboy with a mild case of urbanophobia,  I have learned not to despise cities as I become more mature.

    I wish more of my progressive urban brothers and sisters would do the same for us living out in the sticks.

  •  I grew up in rural Maine (19+ / 0-)

    And I really appreciate this diary.  My experience -- I live in New York City and am a college professor and artist -- is that a lot of the people I know who trash talk rural people are basically spouting their class disdain.  Rural people often have less money that urban and suburban folks.  They are not as well educated or sophisticated.  They by culture may be more conservative, but they are not less intelligent.  (Oh, and by the way, using the word "dumb" to describe the less intelligent is also an insult to the non-hearing community.)  And as long as rural people are condescended to by those urbanites who think they are so much smarter, there will be no dialogue, and no change will happen -- and we'll continue to have red states and blue states.  In other words, it's really a snotty, arrogant trope that doesn't serve anyone.  

    •  c'mon now, glacialgal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Another Grizzle

      drop the diffidence and TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL!!

      seriously, I'm glad you brought in MONEY and CONDESCENDING, although I for one would steer clear of SNOTTY.

      However, I agree with most everything you say. By pointing to "class disdain" you have put a spotlight on something.

      If I may pose it metaphorically, what is the difference between an urban peppermint latte and a rural peppermint latte?

      I really don't know the difference - but I can remember the very earliest really fine coffee specials I ever had - in a funky place in small-town Washington state many years - MANY - before ol' Starbucks swept the nation & planet. Now both the rural and the downtown - and the suburban - joints today may serve a peppermint foamy holiday coffee drink. I start to feel like Proust, but what I want to know is, how are they DIFFERENT? Are they at all?

      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 08:17:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I really can't answer your question (8+ / 0-)

        because I really don't like peppermint anything.  But as a serious latte lover, I can tell you that they are harder to come by in rural Maine than in midtown NYC, where there is almost literally a "latte seller" on every street corner.  I know I was a little over the top, but this topic touches a nerve and I don't get to spout off about it often.  So, thank you for writing your diary.  I think it is a very important topic, and if the left wants to change this political divide between rural and non-rural populations, we are going to have to do some work on ourselves.  Because snotty may not be the right word to use, but believe me that is the word many of my rural friends and family would use to describe most of us having this discussion.  Also, I suspect it wouldn't matter where you encountered that first peppermint latte -- it will always be the gold standard.

    •  okay, okay, here I go (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snowwoman, Wood Dragon, Shippo1776

      reading the diary got me thinking-
      what is dumb ?
      speechless ?
      uneducated ?
      thoughtless ?
      inconsiderate ?
      what is stupid ?
      someone else can answer that...
      I am always thankful when the pickup truck with the chainsaw    and chains shows up in the pouring night rain to help clear
      away the tree that has fallen and blocked the road
      a person can only move so much breaking off and dragging branches...
      Political and religious differences go over the bank when things have to get done.
      I have learned living in a rural environment that no matter the education or skill level someone always knows something that I don't. Thank Goodness.
      Here's hoping that the city dweller, or anyone else for that
      matter, out enjoying the country scenery or simply trying to get home, will get out and help when the path is being cleared by people that want to get where they are going. (not as well put as I would have liked).
      Thanks to all here for the input(s).
      Enjoy, best of everything to ya'll.........

  •  Yeah, I concur. (8+ / 0-)

    Like Catesby above, I'm from Oregon.  Yes, we're from bright blue Portland, but we have much the same experience right here in our neighborhood.  I live near - and care deeply for - Republicans, conservatives, Libertarians, Greens, adamantly-apolitical folks.  I would never, EVER insult them with the verbiage from the other diary.

    Can you call yourself a real liberal if you aren't reading driftglass?

    by CJB on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:45:11 PM PST

  •  Enlightenment has no ZIP Code (13+ / 0-)

    I spent a couple of years as pastor in a very small town -- around 700 residents. For the whole time I was there, every mailing I got from Amnesty International and People For The American Way (I was a member of both) somehow wound up with a boot print on the front of it before it entered my mail box.

    Just before I left to go to another church, I was visiting one of the older ladies of the church at her invitation. I'd been there before, and as always it was neat as a pin -- nothing ever out of place. This time, in addition to the usual knickknacks, there were copies of the last few issues of the Amnesty newsletter on the coffee table. They'd never been there before. I commented on them, and since I'd mentioned Amnesty more than once in sermons and committee meetings over the time I'd been there, I asked why she'd never mentioned that she was a member. She smiled slightly, and said, "Well, you know how it is. You just don't talk about some things." But she'd left them there, and asked me to come for tea, so that I'd know before I left.

    There are all kinds pretty much everywhere.

    "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

    by pragmaticidealist on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:47:40 PM PST

    •  "we don't talk about some things!" (4+ / 0-)

      amazing - the irony

      Amnesty International's sole purpose is to "talk about such things," that is, truth to power and witness to injustice.

      nice tale, rev. the way she got the message to ya, subtle, somehow it seems a small-town sensibility.

      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 08:08:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ironic, yes, but very practical (8+ / 0-)

        If you live in a small town, and hold a view of the world that you know places you in a rather small minority of your neighbors, you don't generally push it in people's faces unless something sufficiently imminent and personal makes it necessary to do so. Amnesty's work is vital and urgent, but it has no dire, immediate consequences that will significantly damage the lives of folk living in your typical Midwestern farming community. So she quietly supported them by contributing, making sure she was up on the issues, and quietly representing those issues to the community. (For instance, she was an active supporter of social justice programs through the church, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if she wrote a lot of letters to politicians to make sure they knew what she thought they needed to do. She just didn't mention Amnesty.)

        On the other hand, what I saw in that town tells me that it would be an extraordinary event if, faced with an imminent threat to the well-being of a member of the community, that person's family, friends, and neighbors, backed by the whole town, did not rally around and provide whatever support was needed to the best of their ability and the extent of their resources. When the chips are really down, being neighbors trumps political differences without any contest.

        And you're absolutely right; the way she got me the message was absolutely in line with the sensibilities of that town. Let folk know what you want or need them to know, but don't make a big deal out of it, and try not to embarrass anyone in the process.

        "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

        by pragmaticidealist on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:33:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  and speaking of ZIP codes... (7+ / 0-)

      your sigline calls to mind this quote from Mark Twain:

      "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

      now, there's an inkling of class war in there someplace!

      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 09:59:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed (14+ / 0-)

    Using the code word "Rural" to mean racist stupid crackers still fighting the civil war is no different than the other side using "urban" to mean "lazy, stupid dependent minorities" (there words, not mine).

    If you mean stupid racist cracker, say it, don't hide behind code. We are better than that and even those stupid racist crackers are welcome if they decide to see the light...

    Progress 365 not just a slogan a goal - 300 progressive seats in the House and 65 progressive seats in the Senate.

    by jusjtim35 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:51:20 PM PST

  •  For what it's worth (6+ / 0-)

    there's a great diary right now about how screwed up modern American children are now because they have antibacterial wipes and soaps for every event in the day, and aren't allowed to roam around outside.  That is true, unless you're rural.  And I don't mean living in a city of 5,000.  

    I mean living in the true boonies, you won't have the luxury of being so obsessively in denial about the real world.

    And to be honest I'm a city-dweller who tends not to care much for most cities. They're good for universities and their related doings for me, and buying decent clothes and food.  You can find some people who can stand you and you find some connection with, but you generally can in really, truly small communities, just because people realize that they have few options if they're not cooperative.

    Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

    by Nulwee on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:00:55 PM PST

  •  My prejudice is not against rural residents (5+ / 0-)

    In fact, I grew up in a town of 3000 people in upstate NY at the opposite end of the state from NYC.  My parents moved me to the suburbs when I was in 6th grade much to my unending horror. Thankfully I went to high school in the city (Buffalo).

    When I was 18, I moved to NYC and was at first shocked and appalled by the city until I realized that it was comprised of hundreds and hundreds of neighborhoods that were essentially exactly like my small town ... complete with local merchants both those of kind hearts and those with Grinch hearts, semi-laughable "pillars of the community", the town (neighborhood) eccentrics, the neighbors with hearts of gold, the diverse type of family situations, the wiseass and eccentric non-conforming adolescents that drive everyone to distraction but are nurtured by the community ... and all of the other characters that make rural life so wonderful.  I fell in love!

    Now I have a small home in a tiny hamlet in upstate NY as well as an apartment in NYC. When my daughter graduates college and I no longer need an NYC job, my husband (NYC born and raised but who also recognizes the kindred in the rural) and I will gladly say goodbye to our city dwelling and jobs and visit NYC only on weekends.

    My prejudice is against suburbs. As the saying goes:  "All the disadvantages of cities and small towns and none of the advantages". I find the average suburb way too conformist, rigid and stultifying.  Small towns and thriving cities are where creativity and individuality happens.

    But I admit that that is my personal prejudice.

    "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

    by Glinda on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:04:04 PM PST

    •  Yeah I always felt much the same about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the suburbs - until I let it sink in : the how and why people make their decisions to live there. Plenty of sensible reasons. Many of those reasons are community-friendly.

      And over time, I have also watched some suburban places become real places - not the non-places they were lamented to be, during the 1970s reaction against this mid-century demographic movement.

      Kind of encouraging, actually, about the capacity and the DRIVE of people (some, at least) to connect and to make their environs more neighborly.

      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 08:48:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I still don't get it. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Spit, ornerydad, sethtriggs

        Community-friendly still is wholly an urban or rural phenomenon for me.  I wretch whenever I have to spend any time in a suburban environment.

        Don't even get me started about Easton Town Center in Columbus Ohio where I spent over a year while working for a client.  It sounds urban but Columbus city proper includes a lot of (disappearing) rural "towns".  It is ostensibly "rural" but it is quintessentially suburban in all of the ways that make me want to get the hell out of there ASAP.  

        That there are "suburban" towns that are real places ... that is most likely to occur if there is a major university or cultural institution in or in close proximity to the town.  

        I admit that I am incorrigible.

        "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex." - David Frum

        by Glinda on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:12:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  dare I say it? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "There's no place like home!"


          So, btw, how's your sister Locasta doin?

          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 09:29:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I have the same thing. (5+ / 0-)

          Cities, I get -- there's all kinds of stuff, and diversity, and interesting things always going on. Rural, I get -- there's a closeness even if you see fewer people, a lot of the time, and there's different stuff to do, animals and plants and mucking around in creeks and stuff.

          Suburbs? I don't get it.

          I stay open to people from anywhere, but hard as I squint, I just don't get why people would want to live in them. I mean, there's nothing to do, and you have to drive everywhere you go, but you still can't have a goat.

          And the most conservative people I knew where I grew up were actually from the encroaching exurbs. We mocked them at the time. I trained horses, and I had friends who raised sheep and cattle and had farms and orchards, but the ones with the biggest shiny trucks and the most awesome cowboy hats? Yeah, most of them had never been near a horse. Anybody with sense knows you don't wear the stetson at home.

          So it was the image they were after, not the reality. Most of the really rural people I knew had a way more complex understanding of what they did and how it related to the world at large, even the conservative ones.

          All of that said, I now have any number of friends in the 'burbs, too, and there's a wide variety of forces that bring all sorts of people to them. Needs for housing, worries about schools, etc. All sorts of valid, honestly -- my rural school was craptastic, and the ones here in the urban core where I live now are not exactly lovely, either.

          •  something to be said (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mashed potatoes

            for Penny Lane...

            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 10:01:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  As I understand it (6+ / 0-)

            the appeal of the suburbs for working professionals and union workers is that you can have a 3-bedroom house with a yard on a middle-class income, while living within an hour's commute of an employer who will pay you a middle-class income. Going rural would mean giving up the job (or contributing to exurban sprawl), while going urban would mean giving up on homeownership.

            For the lower-middle-class, the appeal is that you can rent an apartment or townhouse in a middle-class school district with a bedroom for everyone and still afford to eat.

            The upper-middle-class can have a McMansion in a gated community that looks sort of like a mass-produced knockoff of the city neighbourhoods where the truly wealthy live. I'm not entirely sure why this is preferable to a condo or smaller house in an upper-middle-class city neighbourhood - this is the one that makes the least sense to me.

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:28:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  labor/work availability and sense (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Spit, kyril, mashed potatoes

              of wide open spaces, seems like a pure American distillation.

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

              by ornerydad on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:23:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  hey there! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril, sethtriggs, mashed potatoes

              This is precisely why I live in in Torrance when I'd much rather live in the Santa Monica/Sunset/Hollywood corridor. I can rent an equivalent apt here in the 70's suburbia for much less than I could up there. I miss the street culture, but if I lived there that'd be just about all I could afford - watching the street culture. At least now I can afford to actually go there an do stuff occasionally.

              47 is the new 51!

              by nickrud on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:57:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I went and posted on the "Walking Dumb" diary (18+ / 0-)

    but it's nearly "Walking Dead" this late in the day, so I'd like to re-post my comment here, as this is the diary that prompted it. (Please forgive a tired, 57 year old for not completely re-writing. It's nearly my bedtime. ;-):

       My county, in rural Northwest Iowa, has no
    town with a population higher than 4000 people. I live on the outskirts of a town of 1000.  Most folks in this farming community are decidedly rural--they farm for a living, or cater to farmers needs, for a living, or work as merchants and teachers and doctors in the very small towns that survive in large part because of agriculture...

      And, despite a strong Dutch Reformed and conservative Lutheran influence, and despite the fact Steve King does still, inexplicably, keep winning, my neighbors and fellow rural Iowans are not any "dumber" than people my daughter meets every day in Center City, Philadelphia....Less sophisticated? Yeah, but not much--not these days of a thousand channels and internet everywhere...Quieter and somewhat repressed? Yeah, it's the nature of the region. I've learned to live with it (but I still feel the need to howl at the moon, sometimes, out of sheer frustration ;-).  But their children are well educated, they perform their jobs with dedication and talent, they're literate and sensible and hard working,  and Obama only lost the county by 2% of the vote. ;-D

      (AND we were able to buy a large, 100 year old farmhouse on an acre of land in an incredibly safe neighborhood--we don't even lock our doors when running short errands; in 9 years we've had absolutely zero crime--for $72K, my husband's commute to work is only 15 minutes long, and my internet speeds are fast enough to stream Netflix. "Rural" can be just about anything you expect it to be...except stereotypical. )

    •  what a great scene! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prairie Gal, peachcreek, CS in AZ

      Now let's work on that daggone 2% and that dagblasted Steve King!

      thanks for chiming in, hawkeye!

      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 08:50:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Northwest Iowa (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ornerydad, Prairie Gal, funluvn1

      My paternal grandparents were from Osceola County (Ashton), and my maternal grandparents were from Kossuth (Bancroft).

      I come from a long line of "rural" folk.

    •  This makes me want to move to Iowa (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wood Dragon, mashed potatoes

      Except for the tornados and freezing winters and whatnot, I might seriously consider it. But having grown up in southern arizona, I am a desert rat and a weather wimp -- can't deal with snow, temperatures below 50, or natural disasters ... and the desert is my home.

      Tucson is not rural, nor is it cosmopolitan... it's my home town and has really changed over the years, and we have our share of right-wingers who truly do seem beyond reach... but most people here don't fit the stereotype of the hateful bigoted Arizonan that has become the popular view of us... hating on Zonies and the entire state of Arizona is good sport here, I've learned to ignore it but it bothers me. We are a blue area of a 'red' state that is actually pretty purple... and we have very pretty purple sunsets too.

      I appreciate this diary... I didn't read the one this is responding to, but I agree with the points made here about not writing off or hating on and making fun of whole areas or groups of people. I wish that message will take root and grow here.

  •  Yes! Rural is not the same as "dumb" or "bigoted" (11+ / 0-)

    or "ignorant" or "reactionary".
    My mom's mom family was very rural, southwestern Washington. They were not "educated", most of the older ones didn't go to highschool. My grandmother herself left school after the third grade because of family need.

    When my kids were young, I was lucky enough to live near enough to them to manage to visit every couple of years and I stretched the budget as much as I could to get my kids there as often as I could, because I knew from my own childhood how valuable it was to spend time with them. The dinner time conversation was a model of polite, thoughtful, wide-ranging (and pretty shrewdly informed) give and take. They were some of the most careful talkers I ever had the pleasure to hang around with.

    Some of them were some version of Holy Rollers and had very strong not to mention rigid opinions on things like Thou shalt not lie EVER, and Thou shalt honor thy debts, etc but even with that in the mix, still, my same sex partner and I were warmly welcomed, and put as a matter of course into a double bed bedroom with no comment.

    I don't know exactly what their religion was because they never brought it up to me. They judged people by how they acted in the community. If my children had seemed whiny or lazy or disrespectful, I think that would have made us less welcome. But for the other things, they clearly believed that people's private lives were private.

    I don't know how they would have reacted to our current politics. I'm a grandmother myself now and they have been gone for many years. They certainly believed in hard work and taking responsibility for yourself but there was plenty of evidence that for them that didn't conflict with the idea that if someone was in trouble, you helped them.
    I'm guessing that they probably voted Republican since that was the norm in my whole family and probably my parents would have mentioned it, if that branch were different. There was a lot of political talk, but none of it mentioned party politics. They were vehemently anti-nuclear power plant, which was a big issue in that area in the 80s. They believed in the importance of taking good care of the land. They loved, and photographed extensively, the wild life including the peskier bits like the racoons. They had fences around some of the gardens, but they never grudged the wild animals a share.
    As speculation, I think it's likely they were too shrewd to fall for a Romney-type. They admired people who worked hard and they wouldn't have considered him a real worker, plus they abhorred liars.

    I know that many people have different experiences with their rural relations. I'm not arguing that all or even most rural people are always as terrific as the ones I had the privilege to be related to.
    I just want to agree wholeheartedly with your thesis that it's not ruralness that makes some people into bigots. My relatives lived scattered through the Winlock/ Kelso/ Longview area most of their long lives and they were well embedded in their communities and had a large friendship network, so I don't think they could have been real outliers in their thoughtfulness and civility. I think lots of the people around them were like them.

    Oh, and when I said that we were warmly welcomed, what I meant was that if I came in the right season my aunts would go blackberrying and make wild blackberry cobbler to greet me with because they knew I loved it, the little intensely flavored berries that take hours to get enough of. That's a WARM welcome.

    Thank you for this diary. Writing about them here makes me feel strongly how much I miss them. It is such a pleasure to have them in my memory.

    •  oh, blackberry cobbler! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Wood Dragon


      not to mention, strawberry brandy!

      but, that's another story

      and thank you very much for telling yours...

      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 08:52:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for this (12+ / 0-)

    Being raised on a farm in Iowa, I suppose I'm a bit sensitive to the "rural" stereotype. I've lived in Iowa's bigger towns, Des Moines, Waterloo, and Iowa City, but I won't claim to know what it's like to live in an actual city. Therefore, I'v no right generalizing on the people who do live in cities. Seems like that doesn't always work the other way around, and it's good to see this kind of article pushing back a bit.

    Let me tell you, it was often hard being a member of this community during the republican primary when the circus was here in my state. I felt lumped in with GOP caucus goers with disappointing regularity because I make my home in flyover country. Here's a great video someone made around that time that helped me through the worst of it :D

    "There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." -Henry Ford

    by sixeight120bpm on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:19:03 PM PST

  •  Thanks, you said it for me. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, snowwoman, Wood Dragon

    I'm sure I'm not the only Kossack with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins who live in rural America. And even if they have been Fox-news-ified, I don't care. The love I have for them is more important to me than scoring political points. Fox news loves to make us hate each other. I will continue to hate Fox news for that, not my family. How many more Thanksgiving dinners have to be ruined?

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:26:49 PM PST

    •  my family ends up laughing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snowwoman, Reepicheep, Wood Dragon

      and shaking our heads over whatever stark political gaps we seem to have developed over the years - guess we're lucky we're still all talking!

      it's the kind of perspective that ol' Thanksgiving is supposed to serve up - hope everyone here got some glow like that in this year's edition, and through to 2013.

      Remember, if it weren't for Squanto, all those silly Pilgrims would've starved...

      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 08:58:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen. (16+ / 0-)

    I grew up in a rural place. As a queer-as-a-three-dollar-bill-gender-variant-weirdo, I have to say, it was not the easiest thing.

    You know what? My friends from then... they are gold.

    And I miss it like hell.

    There are running themes in the city vs. the country. Urban areas involve having to sort of tolerate whatever. That's both good and bad -- it means tolerance for diversity etc. very often, and it also means shrugging at people in need, because frankly, there are just too many of them.

    Rural areas have their own lines there. I've dealt with many a crazed conservative. The personal really counts when you're in a small town, and most people I have known, even those who started out repeating every anti-gay talking point they've ever heard, they know me well and they've grown the hell up. Because in the end, I'm a person, and so are they.

    We fail, as a party, in addressing real rural issues very well, at least often. I think a lot of people from SF would have their jaws drop if they saw the rural poverty -- real poverty, painful -- that is just a couple of hours from their city. When we cede that ground, what we leave is nothing but culture war for people to focus on in their frustration; they watch their lives crumble economically, and they have nowhere to vent it but at culture that isn't the point; to rail at it on the basis it comes from would be the loneliest fight in the world. So it aims at "change." And it aims at "cities," and what they represent, by which I mean diversity, often.

     And unfortunately, the cities give that hostility and caricatured treatment right back, in the condescending ways most likely to actually harden the polarity.

    I consciously worked, when I was younger, to rid myself of my rural drawl. Because it took no time for me to be treated like I was stupid, no matter my educational attainment or my real-world knowledge, as soon as the folks in the so-called liberal enclaves heard me speak. I regret it now, to be honest, because now that I'm older, I find it really pretty funny to throw Foucault at people with my y'all-ing.

    But I wasn't wrong.

    •  Me too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, ornerydad, kyril

      I erased my Maine accent when I went off to boarding school and then college.  I'm ashamed of that, really, but not enough to reclaim it. And I totally get your Foucault line.  Been there.

      •  Mine comes back in a flash (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ornerydad, peachcreek, kyril

        if I'm around my partner's Appalachian relatives for long. I never realized how much some parts of the CA central valley drawl are exactly Appalachia until I heard them speak, and it took 5 minutes for my speech to revert. The only major difference I can find is that I don't say, like, "I'll see y'all on Toosdy."

        I like my drawl when it pops up now, but certainly didn't when I was still under the impression that it would be better to have the faux-respect that came with getting rid of it.

        Or maybe I'm just aware now that I don't have anything to lose, that's actually more likely, as I have yet to write the great American novel or whatever. :P

    •  amazing odyssey (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spit, kyril



      you're right, of course: this false class division crap is like fomenting war between baseball fans and football fans or some crazy shyte.

      keep us from building to our mutual benefit

      thanks for telling your tale!

      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 09:23:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We were driving back to Chicagoland from (14+ / 0-)

    Mason City Iowa a couple of months ago, riding along I-380 and drinking coffee ... drinking lots of coffee.   We planned to stop in Cedar Rapids for a quick meet-up with an old friends, so I didn't want to make any additional stops until we got there.

    Unfortunately, it became a rather urgent matter to make a pit stop before Cedar Rapids, but we were in the middle of farm country with no place take care of matters.  And the middle of a cornfield had no appeal.  Just as I thought I was going to wet myself, I saw an exit sign for Brandon, Iowa, Population 380.

    I could only hope they had a gas station in town.

    Actually, I hoped they had ANY pubic building in town.

    Hell, I hoped they had an actual town.

    They didn't have a gas station, but they did have a cafe, housed in a small building that dated back to 1910.

    As I sprinted across the street for the cafe (and hopefully an empty ladies room), I noticed a rusty old pickup truck parked on the street that must have been 40 years old, with an old farmer behind the wheel who looked to have been born around the time they built the cafe.  And on this decrepit old pickup truck there was a bumper sticker that I'll never forget.  It said

    I ♥ Obamacare

    Once the emergency was over and was leaving the cafe, I yelled over to the old farmer, "I like your bumper sticker!" and gave him the thumbs-up.  He just nodded.  Heh. What a cool old dude.

    Yeah, "Rural" is alright with me.

    •  I got to drive (9+ / 0-)

      my folks' car across the country when they gave it to me back in like 2006, maybe, and my mother, in her wonderful way, had covered the back with liberal anti-Bush bumperstickers. I got a lot of unexpected thumbs-up all the way across on I-80 and even in the more podunk stops to camp or find motels, and some extra nice treatment from some semis.

      People are not always what we assume. Yes, different places may have different tendencies. But a good rule of thumb: everywhere you go, people of every stripe are just as complicated as you are.

    •  you never know with old farmers, ey (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, edwardssl

      now, how could you have left out of Mason City - without a Mason jar?

      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 09:23:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ministry more=Faux kills brains, which it does. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, MinistryOfTruth

    I don't think he was really knocking 'rural'.  Yes, that word does appear, but it was in relation to 'a portion' of voters, particularly rural whites.  I took that as meaning 'portion' was to modify that clause too, as well as implying the 'portion' was bigger among white rural Americans.  And according to survey data, that is true.  We are supposed to be the reality based community here.

    Yes, there are lots of good folks, even liberals, among white rural Americans.  But it is a fact that there are a lot more Faux-brain dead as a percentage of voters than in urban areas.  And right wing Thugs.

    How we brake the Faux-sanity among rural, suburban and urban pops all is actually easy: re-instant the Equal Time rule.  The Founders were right: the cure is more speech, in this case the speech Faux and Thugs and their corporate masters do not want them to hear.

    'Course, the chances of that seem to bring to mind the proverbial snowball...

    •  Yes to more free speech! (0+ / 0-)

      Hey, maybe you're right about the parsing of the terms, I don't know - and too groggy to check now - but I do feel in my bones we need to UNITE the countryside and the city blocks. We need that ol' Farm-Labor coalition. We need street smarts and rural wisdom.

      And if all that still ain't enough to counteract the Faux-Rovian crapgrinder machinery, then we'll just have to SING 'em into submission. Remember, "the Marseillaise" came to Paris from the pastoral parts of France!

      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 09:17:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice try, Mr. Hightower; I'm outin' you! (8+ / 0-)


    OK, fine, you're not him, but seriously: fun-to-read writing that is simultaneously making a serious point is a rare pleasure & you've done it.

    I totally agree, too: Howard Dean didn't cede Rurality & neither should we.  It may be true that low population density can allow ignorance & intolerance to persist, but it is not itself a generator of either.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:48:18 PM PST

  •  I grew up in a rural area (7+ / 0-)

    the precinct where the farm is Obama only got 34% of the vote in.  I still came out alright.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:51:31 PM PST

  •  I'm a small town boy (9+ / 0-)

    how has lived in five states, two medium sized cities, one large city, and a world class city. Our values are all over the map.

    Great diary.

  •  Yeah, this is pretty dumb. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, peachcreek

    Good work.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:06:43 PM PST

  •  the dominant political component is RW radio (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, lotlizard

    and the dominance it has in every part of the country except in big cities on the coasts. where there is no free alternative for politics while driving or working.

    that is the dumb part of the country and most of it is rural. and may occur immediately next door to the wise or well informed or common sensical who may or may not give a crap about politics. but they are not low information voters as some have labeled them, they are purposefully and very well disinformed. and they can be dumb a a sack of hammers while smart enough to run a successful business.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:19:53 PM PST

    •  well the ignorance has infiltrated (4+ / 0-)

      many an urban zone, as far as I can see.

      I recall so many airports - big airports - where Fox blared from the pub TVs at every angle. All those people were going somewhere, and not all to haystacks or from woodlots.

      TV, radio, print, whatever the apps - I hope you agree we have no right to give up on vast swaths of America. As one commenter noted above, Howard Dean had a pretty smart strategy in his 50-State program. I'm pretty sure the Obama team has been applying it to the best of their ability.

      thx for your input - and for the Flush Rush action.

      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 09:36:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  definitely not, and IMO all we have to do is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        fix the radio and fox and most of that dumbness will fade back to an original and always present but much smaller minority.

        I hope you agree we have no right to give up on vast swaths of America.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:53:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "the dumb part of the country" (0+ / 0-)

      Purposely disinformed?  You don't know what you are talking about.  If you called all the poor urban people in the country dumb as a sack of hammers there would be an outcry on DK.  This is such crap and really offensive.

      •  dumb part of the country is the talk radio base (0+ / 0-)

        that is what i'm talking about.

        i'm agreeing with ornerydad but am trying to point out that IMO what MOT and he are leaving out is that part of the POPULATION/country that use talk radio as a main source of information. they are purposefully disinformed,  dumb as a sack of hammers, and often vote republican.

        and urbanites are not dominated by RW radio like ruralites are- as a result of that monopoly and the nature of talk radio coverage.

        i often don't express myself as well as i could.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:58:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Say, "Y'all," Live on a Hobby Farm, Have (5+ / 0-)

    a comfortably high IQ, know wealthy right-wing wheat ranchers in Montana, and unschooled liberal pickers in Florida.  So, the only thing I can say about rural folks is that the wealthier ones tend to be conservative and the hard scrabble ones, liberal.

    "Rural" isn't a single demographic or ideology any more than "suburban" and "urban" are.  However, on a statistical basis, I imagine some generalities can be drawn, not all of them flattering from a progressive's pov.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:44:47 PM PST

    •  plenty generalities to be drawn (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, lotlizard, snowwoman

      strolling along city streets, too, pardner!

      not to mention, the surburban sprawl, as our commenter Glinda points out above - I still shudder.

      and likewise, many can be downright disconcerting to the average well-meaning progressive - which somewhere led me to search Shaw's "Major Barbara" for a quote, recalling how skillfully he flipped common notions of rich, poor, good, bad, virtue, and vice in that work.

      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 09:53:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sweet diary, good writing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Thousandwatts, kyril, ornerydad, snowwoman

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism.

    by democracy is coming on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:31:28 PM PST

  •  guess i'm one for the darndest places category.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    i was born an raised in a suburb of Chicago - lived my first 55 years there

    now i've just moved to one of the poorest reddest southern states this past june, and i'm still not ''unpacked ''

    but i am totally qualified to give an opinion on the rural part of your post

    living in bum fuck egypt can be a real eye opener, somedays i really don't even know how to cope

    but just last week i decided that i should assume stupid as a starting point with anyone i come in contact with

    and you know it's working out for me, i am now quite happy and pleasant standing in the grocery store line for hours,talking amongst people i've never know, and getting such detailled personal information with just a nod and an occassional uh huh

    my big suggestion is before you engage in a dumb and rural do  yourself a favor -  get to the bathroom before you say your first hi yall....

  •  I read- thought I did- the Walking Dumb post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, snowwoman

    I missed the insult to rural folks, before I  saw the labels of "moron" and "zombies", but I initially thought it was like a lone cowboy type taking on the zombies and that was funny.
    Then realized someone thought the person on horseback represented rural people and was labeled a "moron".

    How insulting, ignorant and misguided.
    Said something unfortunate about the author's preconceptions..

    Without the label I thought it was the lone cowboy and funny.
    With the labels it became, not so funny.

    Anyway, rural woulda had a pick-up truck and everyone knows "moran" was mispelled.

    Go figure.

    Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21<> Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

    by Thousandwatts on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:30:47 PM PST

  •  Thank you. A much needed response diary. (8+ / 0-)

    I thought condescending, sweeping generalizations were the specialty of the other side. You know: The one that ended up with the ironic 47% smackdown loss in last month's election.

    Sadly, some here who prefer ranting to researching have long practiced those bad habits. Thanks for your well argued response, ornerydad. You--and GBShaw--speak for me.

    Here is some of what I just posted in the other diary, testifying to my experience here in Vermont.

    Vermont...used to be one of the nation's most solidly Republican states. Yes, I said Republican. It is still one of the country's most rural. It has the nation's smallest state capital (Montpelier, pop. ca. 8000) and smallest main city (Burlington, 40,000). In fact, every part of the state qualifies for rural designation under Federal rules.

    In '08 & '12, all 14 of VT's 14 counties voted for Barack Obama, including our smallest, most remote, most conservative & whitest counties. [Oh, did I forget to mention that VT competes w/Maine every year for whitest state in the nation?] In fact, as I searched through the results for all 200+ towns on election night, I could only find ONE TOWN in which Romney garnered more votes than Obama. And IIRC, the tally was R-18, O-17.

    Does Vermont have racism? Hell yes--far more than I can take as a native of Hawaii. Ignorance? Ignorance is everywhere in America. But pragmatism & tolerance & regard for your neighbor generally trump all in this small rural state. Look who we send to Washington to represent us, year after year. Pat Leahy. Bernie Sanders. They represent the people here. They embody the values. Are Pat & Bernie models for your Walking Dumb?

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:53:13 AM PST

    •  I do understand the point MOT was making (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ornerydad, mashed potatoes

      when you think about the borderer mentality white male hic that listens to Fox Nooz and Rush. However, consider the fact that you will not win any major elections without rural votes.

      The mention of certain liberal leaning states, such as Vt, outlines the case that you can't just write off rural folks as totally ignorant. I love VT!

      Things are more the way they are today than they ever were before. -Jimmy Flynn

      by onionjim on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 02:22:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The things I've seen with your eyes, Sebastian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, snowwoman

    I have met with more overt (emphasis on overt) racism in the Bronx than in rural South Carolina, Louisiana, or Georgia. I have also met with outright xenophobia in Manhattan working classes, where each African vendor suspected the Bangladeshi across the way, than . . . ok, not more -- more real and aware -- than in the blank, bland mutterings of the Foxed.

    I have also seen, truly, fundamentalist home schooled kids embrace handicapped, immigrant, and all others without hesitation (really without) and be genuinely accepting rather than patronizing.

    Then again, I have seen, over and over again, the bourgeois attitude of self-righteousness and the hostile pride in each place, each class. All that changes is the social pressure for or against it.

    Time is not a fiction; it is a narrative.

    by The Geogre on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 03:41:14 AM PST

  •  "Dumb" as a pejorative is, I suspect, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    largely related to our assumtion that people who speak a lot and with great facility are smart and those who don't aren't. Some of us put more importance on what we see (people directed by superficial optics) and others rely mainly on what they hear, perhaps because their eyesight isn't too good or because they can't "read" images or abstract symbols. 30% of adult Americans are considered by people who have done studiesm to be functionally illiterate. Presumably, if those people are not also hearing impaired--i.e. "deaf and blind"-- they pretty much have to rely on what they hear, what people tell them, and their opportunities to identify and refute lies are likely few. Add to that that the ability to express oneself in writing involves yet another sense, the sense of touch, and the dismissive reference to people as dumb simply reveals a lack of close attention.
    However, when people who exert much time and energy putting themselves forward as experts and impress their audience with their linguistic skills, their obvious expertise might be an illusion, which our lack of close attention makes possible. Attention must be paid.

    Are people, all of whose senses are working well, more or less attentive?
    MOT is multi-talented. Does that make him more or less attuned to other people's deficits?
    He's a grand stander. We appreciate that because he promulgates our side. Does that make him always right? Is anyone always right? Are we all prone to segmentation?
    Dividing our environment into parts is a matter of convenience. The categories serve our needs. Perhaps what we have to remember is that the categories are not necessarily relevant, and may even be annoying, to the categorized.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 04:19:05 AM PST

  •  Well I have a dream... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, Catte Nappe, Wood Dragon

    As a former urban dweller now located in a very rural midwest community, with four years of OFA community organizing under my belt, I want to make rural organizing THE thing.  Its the new frontier to my mind.

    During the last election our county was given goals.  They were doable even with a skeleton crew which is what we had even after lots of networking.  I learned something.  I didn't have to stress about quantity as much as continuity in developing activism.  I could accept where people were in finding their voice and getting together with other voters for change and still contribute to the larger picture.

    I also did some math.  If our 60 rural counties produced the same amount of calls, etc. that we were asked to do and it was added together, the total would have surpassed the work of the urban pockets that we have come to rely on.

    I want to come right into what the GOP considers its stalwart base, and working through people who live there and are not going anywhere after the election is done, continue building trusted ways of getting information out, learning how to frame messages and doing both direct and indirect marketing of those messages.

    During the Ohio GOTV I met a woman from Tennessee who said they had 50 rural OFA teams up and running and they were working to build on that.  That was INSPIRING.

  •  "What we've got here is failure to communicate" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, snowwoman

           Cool Hand Luke (1967)

  •  Agreed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ornerydad, snowwoman, surfbird007

    Some of the strongest Democratic counties in Texas are rural counties in south Texas.

    The same is true in New Mexico, Arizona, South Dakota, even in parts of Idaho.

    One does have to not that lots of Latinos and/or First Americans live in many of these counties, though.

    As for Vermont - it's the coolest mostly rural state in the nation, imo.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:54:35 AM PST

  •  rural and DK don't mix, I read it all the time (4+ / 0-)

    I also read about rural issues elsewhere from good writers that have left. Name one rural front pager. Not someone with a house in the country but someone who comes from there and lives there. Nada. Zero.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:08:13 AM PST

  •  Thanks for writing this. (5+ / 0-)

    I was pretty pissed off about MoT's diary. Like you, I found the first ten lines great. But then it devolved into a bigoted screed. Saying all white rural Americans are dumb is like saying all black people are on welfare or all muslims are terrorists.

    I am white, I am educated and have been a Democrat my entire life. I have lived in rural America for thirteen years.

  •  Well, here's a site I visit fairly regularly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that definitely adds to my longing for a rural place. I just hope the art is as rich as shown here.

    "Until death it is all life." Don Quixote

    by cv lurking gf on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:25:16 AM PST

  •  I live rural (8+ / 0-)

    At one time most of the rural people voted democrat because they were either blue collar union people or they were older and they or their parents remembered the depression and FDR.

    In fact in WV Kennedy and FDR used to be sort of demigods.

    When the democratic party began to turn from it's populist roots and embraced stuff like NAFTA, and the Gun Control stuff of the 90's a lot of rural people here figured if the gov't wasn't going to help them or save their jobs from outsourcing then they were at least going to have them leave them totally alone.

    I think with the politics that Obama has been pushing now, the more populist he has a chance of getting these people back.

    High Speed Internet would be huge here.  It would be like the rural electification project.  That's a place where gov't could really do something for people. But a HUGE amount of rural people don't have access here. I have terrible slow dialup. In fact at home I can't even view DailyKos.

  •  rural county (7+ / 0-)

    I've spent most of my 67 years living in a very rural county in Minnesota, a county with a total population of 21,000. The largest town is about 3,000 and the county seat is under 2,000. There is one stop light in the county and no Walmart.  
    There's rural and there's rural.  To me rural living means not living in a town of any size. I worked many years in a town of 850, a town Travel & Leisure called one of "America's Prettiest Winter Towns," but I lived 15 miles out on my own little patch of woods.  The population is almost completely white and trends older than average.  Obama carried the county twice.  We are not all dumb.

  •  One of the smartest people I ever met had (5+ / 0-)

    the deepest, slowest, southern twang I have ever heard.  

     This guy was literally a rocket scientist and I heard him give a talk at a conference and later spoke with him at length.  I have to admit,  hearing him with that almost cartoonish accent speaking of topics so over my head and beyond my non-scientist education was...a strange experience.

    Any time our prejudices are challenged, we can either ignore it, or use the experience to learn and grow into better people.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:51:13 AM PST

  •  I've lived in cities and suburbs. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snowwoman, djMikulec, mashed potatoes

    Nowadays I live on a small farm in a very rural, very red part of a very blue state.  I prefer rural.  And I agree that it has nothing to do with dumb.

  •  Hello from rural Kentucky... (0+ / 0-)

    transplanted here from Cleveland, Ohio so many decades ago.

    Glad to see this diary, MOT was really off the mark.

  •  I was raised in a town (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mashed potatoes

    called Bagdad, KY (pop. TINY) and it made me more capable of seeing the democratic point of view, not less.

  •  Lot's of solidly progressive rural communities (2+ / 0-)

    in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Iowa, and hell, even here in North Carolina. All over the place.

    Living in a vibrant rural community is great. Living in a regressive backwater is not. And the only thing the two have in common, in my experience, is that they aren't heavily populated.

    Great diary.

    "Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel." -Sepp Herberger

    by surfbird007 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:42:34 AM PST

  •  First off, thank you ornerydad (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manyamile, bsmechanic, Lonely Texan, melo

    Thank you for a very thoughtful post. I apologize for the lack of consideration in my previous post, suffice it to say I needed to vent a little bit and am guilty of painting with a broad brush.

    In my defense I would like to note that I grew up in rural upstate NY where I have seen good-hearted, hard working folks struggle to survive and then turn around and vote for Republicans who promise nothing more than that their struggling shall be greater so the burden the super-rich carry can be lighter than ever.

    But when I am angry and on the war path I can admittedly lack the tact required, and if I offend, I am glad to admit fault and consider the error of my ways.

    I see millions of hard working people getting screwed, and many of them are voting for the people who are promising to screw them harder. How many people on Medicare voted for the Republicans who have only promised to make Medicare more expensive? How many people who depend on Social Security voted for the party that wants to privatize it? How many people don't know that tax revenue is at an all time low but insist that Obama raised taxes. That's what I'm talking about right there.

    But I guess I could have found a better way of saying it.

    So kudos to you, dear ornerydad. Thanks for the perspective

    Regulate banks, not vaginas

    by MinistryOfTruth on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:02:05 AM PST

    •  Hell, I'm fond of the ol' invective myself (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      like to vent, rant, and rage on a regular basis - good for the blood pressure...

      Strategically, there is just no way we Democrats and relateds can build and sustain success - locally or nationally - without a huge helpin' o' country love.

      I share all the pointed frustrations you cite. I'm glad we are in the struggle together!

      And: the best thing, the most enjoyable thing, I've received thru this diary is the amazing comments and stories from all our boondocks-dwelling Kossacks! Who knew? I just posted the thing "for the hell of it."

      You just keep on raging, Jesse. That's (one of the things) what you're good at.

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

      by ornerydad on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:04:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i am rural too (3+ / 0-)

    i understand what the other diary was doing as far as calling out media dependence...i commented that i thought the real scourge of rural (but also suburban and urban) media is AM talk is the one thing you can pick up in your pickup no matter how far out in the boonies you are..except for some terrain, of course.
    But i was also  put off by the way rural becomes a scapegoat.
    here's the deal, there are lots of bright blue dots even in a red looking county and state. here in this very conservative corner of a conservative ,(though changing I hope) state, one out of 3  voters voted for the Democrat.

    Rural Democrats, progressives  and liberals , whether they identify as indys or Dems, are strong, tough, smart  and persistent in a way you might not understand unless you lived in the places where they live.

    if you are the only kid in your class who is scrapping for Obama, or a teacher who tries t bring some of the outside world into a classroom, a rancher who tries to use sound practices to bring back the water table and stop the erosion, or an old lady who hauls herself down a dirt road to cast a vote, you deserve the respect of your urban peers

    A lot of rural areas are a combination of people who have been here a few generations and others who are outcasts, retirees or refugees from other places. There's a lot of poverty in rural areas, unless you are in one of the rural designated as so desirable it has been gentrified. There are not many options in rural areas. the centers of life in many rural areas are the churches. They are all Christian and most of the congregations lean conservative.If you are a 'none' or an 'other' you have to figure something out for yourself, or find a few like minded  folks to gather together. There's addiction, crime and close mindedness . there's patriotism, real and misguided. there's  kindness, neighborliness, an attitude of live and let live as long as it is on your own property because we all know it isn't easy out here. you are far from the doctor, the dentist, the movie theater and a coffeehouse. You have to find a way to at least acknowledge you and your neighbor might be hauling each other to the doc some night. there are nasty feuds that go back years, but there are also real gems of people.
    In my community the real feud is between the Mormons and the Tea Party fundies. poke around the scrub long enough and you'll find both gun totin' and peace loving libertarians, buddhists, wiccans, more people of color than you realized, long time ranchers with masters degrees or no degrees, hippies, monks, and truly grand old broads .
    we read, we surf the internets. kids are born  here. some of them never leave the cloister of their fundamentalist home schools, others have broken homes, but kids are kids and with every new kid there's a chance to reach them with wonder and an education.
    You also find too many weatherbeaten,poor, sick,  tired folks of all persuasions, with not enough young folks moving in to take their place.
    but don't you be painting us with the same brush or writing us off.  a little love goes a long way.

    •  Hey! here's to all the "truly grand old broads!" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      and everyone else you so skillfully limn - - thanks for giving us the view from the weatherbeaten open spaces!

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

      by ornerydad on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:07:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I grew up rural. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stoneboat, Wood Dragon

    My ancestors were German immigrants.  They homesteaded the Nebraska prairie.  They rode out the dirty thirties.  I grew up in Willa Cather country.  Some of my family is still there.

    Stupid people? - not in any way.  

    Isolated....well....I was when I lived there.  My parents were born, were married, lived and died in the same sparsely populated Nebraska county.   My dad didn't graduate from high school.  My family can trace its religious roots on one side of the family (through baptismal records in an old church in Germany) to the reformation.

    My parents believed firmly that being gay was a new thing.  There used to not be any gay people....

    There were no "whites only" signs because there were whites only.  

    Things changed there.  Walmart moved in and main street businesses went away.  Corporate slaughter houses moved in and brought cheap hispanic labor.  The farm economy crashed in the 80's and the days of the little farmer vanished.  Big machinery and big corporate farmers became the norm.  Populations diminished.  

    So, now when I drive through that country I see a lot of dried up little towns, a lot of poverty and a few big houses.  There is a meth epidemic in rural America.  There is a hunger for going back to how they imagine things were in the 1950's and 1960's.

    There is a lot of magical thinking and the likes of Fallwell, Dobson, Limbaugh and Fox News found low hanging fruit.  Just try driving through Nebraska, listening to local radio stations and not be filled with conservative propaganda.

    Maybe it is time for a new awakening though.  The disparity between the haves and the have nots is growing in rural America just like everywhere else in the U.S.  

    Why shouldn't liberal thought be just as hopeful there, as in other parts of the country?

    We need big ideas for diversified, pro-labor, economic growth.  Show these people that and we'd turn them around, just like the white, male population of Ohio.

    •  WOW. Just sweeping. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      Ms. Loschen, you are talking about a prairie fire. Those Great Plains are where the Progressive Movement really took hold in the 1910s, 20s & 30s. Linked and joined with the Labor Movement in the mill towns and cities.

      thanks for your wonderful, rhythmic description... lots and lots of very smart people in dKos-land; many have gaps in their historical knowledge base (me included).

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

      by ornerydad on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:11:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I live in an actual rural portion of NJ. The old (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    guard, the older farming families are solidly Republican and most of them are of the "I can do with my land what I want to do with my land" type mindset, and wish there was no state department of environmental protection to enforce all those pesky land use restrictions and regulations that limit what you can do with your land.  Others of the Old Guard have small plots of land that they look upon as their old age ATM that they can develop and convert into cash (although that is looking less likely as the real estate market is much less lively).

    The other group in town are the newer arrivals that tend to be highly educated professionals who are interested in land and historical preservation, vote Democratic, but are outnumbered by the Old Guard and the natural Republican monied class by a two to one ratio.  

    There seems to be something about owning land that makes people crazy concerning their ability to control what happens with that land.  The Old Guard landowners seem to be rabidly anti- sensible zoning restrictions (primarily intended to keep development from fouling their neighbor's drinking water) and anything that limits people from doing really destructive things with their land.  

    There is a profound difference concerning the way that people consider issues even within rural areas.

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:21:06 AM PST

    •  seems like different interpretations (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      of stewardship of the land



      these are life concerns that civilizations and cultures seem to have clashed over for millennia.

      we could do worse than keep the common approach of First Nations peoples, that when engaged in decision-making on land and water issues, we always consider 7 generations ahead...

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

      by ornerydad on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:18:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Almost all of Oregon is rural (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mashed potatoes, ornerydad

    or at least small-town America. I work with all sorts of absolutely brilliant engineers, chemists, IT professionals, and the like and most of them commute in from their rural homes. Many of the older workers retire to coach soccer, operate a winery, or other small-town pursuits

    Nothing is impossible...the word itself says, "I'm Possible" ~ Audrey Hepburn

    by SisTwo on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:58:49 AM PST

  •  Rural Iowa (4+ / 0-)

    I grew up in a large suburb (100,000) contiguous with a medium sized Midwesten City ( 5 million). My husband has similar stats, different state. We chose to live and practice medicine in a rural county (town 7,000; county 13,000). We dislike the current Democratic Party because it is WAY too conservative. You may not know this, but Ag Sec Tom Vilsack hailed from a county of the same size, winning 8 yrs of governorship of Iowa after starting his campaign with almost no name-recognition and running against favored son 'It's My Turn To Be Governor' US Rep Lightfoot. While our county unfortunately went Red, the local schools all went blue in their mock elections. Don't write off those of us who chose to live with the Red folk. It requires patience, so be patient.

    •  like that long view! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      also your take on the stale centrism of our party figureheads.

      got to recall MLK's "Arc of History" - - guess there is a time for abiding, and an art to agitating-while-abiding.

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

      by ornerydad on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:22:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This Georgian thanks you. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

    by sboucher on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 04:16:05 PM PST

    •  You got it ALL in JawJa!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sboucher, ER Doc


      nuff said.

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

      by ornerydad on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:30:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Akshully... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        Peaches aren't grown here any more (though there are 71 streets in Atlanta with a variant of "Peachtree" in their name) -- Vidalia onions are grown in, well, Vidalia,
        -- Jimmy Carter is from Plains (though I live 1/2-mile away from the Carter Center) -- need I go on?

        We do have The Temple from "Driving Miss Daisy," the Museum of Puppetry Arts, and the Cyclorama, and Gladys Knight. There is a lot of cool stuff here, which is why this yankee has lived here for 20 years.

        It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

        by sboucher on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:14:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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