“Rural identity has come to be largely defined as an us vs. them mentality, with the them being people who live in cities.”


As a side note, this is the 1,250th post of the year at NAC. This is a new world record, at least for this blog. Can someone out there suggest how I might earn a few farthings for all this pro bono work? Now to the point …

So it goes: Fire and brimstone evangelicals vote for a crass libertine, the poor for a paragon of wealth, and resentful anti-urban rural cadres for the ultimate city dweller.

Is there racism, xenophobia and homophobia in these expressions? Of course, but to focus on these to the exclusion of other economic and class factors steadily building up steam since America first met Archie Bunker in 1971 is to avert one’s eye from the ball that matters, if not one more so than the other, then equally.

Call me a Marxist if you wish. I remain convinced that economic considerations play a huge part in these instances, and understanding what just happens is crucial. I’m not there yet. It has taken us time to arrive at this juncture.

Listen up, folks: As for this rural resentment described below, whence I came. I may not have physically moved very far away from my roots, but psychologically, I’ve spent the past 35 years stuffing these developmental markers into a trunk and throwing it into a mine shaft, from where it has now emerged, gloriously intact, ascendant.

We may be past the point where thinking and facts even matter, and probably my insistence that we all go find a mirror for necessary introspection is the stuff of childlike escapist fantasy – and lest we forget, to echo my pal Ignatius, veneration of Walt Disney is one of the roots of our current intellectual stalemate.

It’s simple. Leaving aside the inadequacies of the Democratic “opposition,” it should be obvious that I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump in a million years, and probably a clear majority of my high school classmates just did. Understanding why they did might help me understand why I didn’t. It won’t change the world to learn the answer, though it might change me.

The Reality of Rural Resentment, by Sommer Mathis (City Lab)

One of the biggest themes to emerge so far from the 2016 U.S. presidential election is a widening rural vs. urban divide.

… (Professor Kathy) Cramer’s new book, The Politics of Resentment, traces the rise of conservative Governor Scott Walker and the political evolution of Wisconsin. What Cramer says she found is that a strong sense of rural identity in the communities she visited has become a key driver of political motivation in Wisconsin. And over time, that sense of rural identity has come to be largely defined as an us vs. them mentality, with the them being people who live in cities …