In a New York Times opinion piece today (also published via MSN), Iowa radio station news director Robert Leonard talks about the stark differences in culture and world view between rural red Americans and urban blue Americans. His article is well worth reading.
A major premise of ABetterAmerica.org is that we want to do what’s best for all Americans. Black, white, red, blue, it doesn’t matter.
Leonard’s article highlights, among other things, that sometimes what is good for one group of Americans is bad for another group of Americans — or, at least, different groups are in a form of competition for our resources. Large amounts of money flow into our cities, while our small town and rural areas are largely neglected by comparison.
I grew up in a town of 7,000 people, and for most of those growing up years, I either lived in an even smaller town of about 300, or several miles outside of town in a neighborhood that had only a few dozen houses. I’ve also lived in a town of around 30,000. So I’m not a total stranger to rural and smaller-town dynamics, or those of more average-sized cities.
On the other hand, I’ve also lived in the middle of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and on the outskirts of Washington, DC. At present, I live in Springfield, Missouri, which I would describe as a modest-sized American city. We are located right in the middle of America.
Leonard concludes his article with these words: “Reconciliation seems a long way off.”
The divide between rural red America and urban blue America is one of the fundamental divisions in our country. Like Robert Leonard, I don’t have any easy answers. And that’s because some problems aren’t easy problems.
When we’re faced with a difficult problem, we have a choice. We can either throw up our hands and say, “Well, that’s just the way it is,” or we can do our best to do what we can.
When it comes to matters of division, one of the ways we can start is by trying to understand each other. And whichever side of the divide you find yourself on, reading articles such as Robert Leonard’s may be a good beginning.
Here’s a link to Mr. Leonard’s article: Why Rural America Voted for Trump