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Tuesday, May 30. 2017
RURAL AMERICA IS THE NEW ‘INNER CITY’. It's difficult to maintain the vision of pastoral innocent wholesomeness. Non-tourist rural areas are rapidly becoming creepy. There is no fix for this evolution.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 19:19 | Comments (19) | Trackbacks (0)
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I can't read the article because I don't subscribe, but have seen something over the years in a rural area where my parents had a small farm. One day a very plain white trailer/mobile home was deposited on a small plot of land in the diminishing town that only had a grocery store and a two pump gas station and repair shop. When the owners of the small business died they were left vacant. The local farm people tried hard to find out who the trailer belonged to and it took a good number of years to find out it was put there by HUD. More poverty to the country. Missouri has allowed the government to put a number of trailers into rural areas usually housing single women with a number of children and males moving in and out. There are no jobs in small towns and small businesses have been lost to large everything stores like Walmart. Sad really.
I travel all around the middle third of the USA - think of a box cornered by WY, AZ, LA, and WI - frequently. I loop through, and stop and stay in, lots of small-town places - places where cowboy boots are still work apparel, places where everyone knows everyone, places where door locks haven't worked in years.
I don't know if your two-sentence blurb was driven by the WSJ article, or what you've observed in your east coast environs, but it fails to match anything I've seen throughout the rest of the country.
There are always poor people everywhere (except, I suspect, where you live), and, yeah, they live lives that tend to be a bit more ragged around the edges than polite cultured types would like, but what you try to portray as some new norm for rural America is a false narrative.
But, holy cow, trailers with (gasp!) single moms?! Just like neanderthals! Time to move into the city for safety!
I used to think that you were just quaint and growing a bit out of touch in your golden years, but with this post you've really become loathsome.
It's almost as if five decades of federal policies targeted directly at destroying the livelihood and culture of rural areas has had a negative impact on people. Color me shocked.
Thank you to both bobby b and JC--both of you observations and experiences coincide with my own. However, I think what is missing in this conversation is a timeline. One describes for each part of the "vast middle" or "fly over country" or a "rust belt" exactly how long it has taken to come to where that region is at today. If you close down a mine ala "Butte MT in 1982" it doesn't take but a minute. If you slowly, ever so slowly take away from the foundation of the local culture it takes a lot longer to get to where so many rural areas are today. We need to come to a much MUCH better understanding of the last 40 years--who did what where when. Then we can better understand.
I cancelled my subscription awhile back:
WSJ is just one step away from the
"Fake News" level of CNN and others.
Take their slant with a grain of salt.
I know it's some sort of virtue signaling for the posters here to constantly link to WSJ articles but surely you know that most of us don't have subscriptions so can't read the articles. Not that we would anyway.
you at least getting paid for all these WSJ links that can't be seen unless one has a subscription?
I live in a rural area of Appalachia and the WSJ description is nothing like the reality. We leave our doors unlocked, leave our cars running outside the convenience stores in winter, and wave to each other when passing on the roads. Road contractors leave their equipment and materials alongside the roads at night and nobody steals or vandalizes them. We may be poor, but people here are honest. Eat your heart out, WSJ.
Here's a link to the article (no paywall):http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/05/26/rural-america-is-new-inner-city-2.html
WRT to Kenton, I'm not familiar with that town itself, but there are many fine small towns in that area with functional, attractive downtowns. That part of OH has excellent agricultural productivity, and many farmers and farming communities are quite prosperous. Like others stated, all areas have poor people who make poor choices, but give me rural central ohio over most US cities for quality of life any day.
You didn't seem to get my point. The government is bringing in poor people from outside the area and putting them up in something like FEMA trailers with welfare to live on. Many times their lives and values don't match with the local rural people. Even if they wanted to find a job they would have difficulty getting to a place of employment living out in a isolated rural area.
I'm from Lima, OH, very close to Kenton. I've been to Kenton, and many of the other towns and villages in the area.
There are problems in the region, but it's not exclusively like the articles present.
And there certainly is a solution; it involves a lot of prayer.
NOTHING says 'Inner City' Like New York City. I've been reading about NYC crime for more than 50 years. I suppose focusing on rural crime is your way of diverting attention away from the worst city in America
Thank you to the commenters here who have confirmed my own experience living in several wonderful rural towns, where neighbors look after neighbors, and the good and bad, rich and poor, people of all kinds live along the same streets with no zoning to create exclusive (non-creepy) areas.
I know the gentlemen who pick up our garbage. They are not creepy, but kind. I know the plumber who came to fix a hole in our pipes. He's not creepy, but kind. I know the neighbor who asked me if I needed him to come cut and remove a big limb that broke in a storm. I know the neighbor that shares her apricots with me every year. I know the boys who came and helped me move a cord of wood last week, and their veteran mother who is finishing her doctorate. None of them are creepy. I knew my neighbor, a CPA, who died young of cancer this year, and I knew my neighbor, a long time city councilman, who died old after a long time of many health problems. Both of them were cared for by family and local people, and mourned and missed now that they are gone. That wasn't creepy. I know my neighbors who raise dogs or goats or tomatoes or grandchildren or keep horses or work in the only local store or at the school. They're not creepy, but are kind. I worked at our local post office for a while, and got to know a lot of people and didn't find any creepy ones.
Some of their stories might sound that way to people who judge them by some arbitrary check-box description, but in reality nearly all are genuinely admirable people. They quietly mow for disabled neighbors, and show up to build ramps, and look after sick neighbors who don't have anyone to care for them, and raise their own or other people's children, and pray at church on Sundays, and go to work, and live their lives.
We have our few that get into trouble sometimes, but they are known and everyone hopes that "this time" they'll get straightened out, and feels for their family.
We have no homeless people. When someone faces that prospect, a local person will usually find a trailer to give them and set it up so they can live. Our town is so poor that all the school kids get free lunch - but if they didn't, our town would make sure they still had good meals.
I do remember a friend who brought his city-born fiance to visit his parents some years ago, and that she confided how terrified she was in that tiny town, after all she had "read" in trendy magazines or seen in hollywood movies. Bless her heart, I felt for her, and I hope she got over that irrational fear.
That was a long time ago, and I guess the stereotypes just keep hanging on.
But that is ok. Life is lived, no matter what the papers say. Folks who write for the WSJ (which I can't read behind the firewall) can keep their false illusions, and those of us out here in "creepy" rural non-touristy flyover country will, with God's help, continue what we started and elect more people like President Trump who respect folks of all kinds.
I grew up in an area that was once (and still is, kind've) rural. It's certainly not urban, but by now the development leaves it closer to suburban - even though the nearest urban areas are a good hour or more away.
However, while I grew up, we saw the devastation of the inner cities that were wrought due to housing policy and a welfare state. One parent families, teen heads of households, drug abuse, crime. We knew visiting the cities (in the 1970's) was a bad idea. I visited NYC and Philly several times, and was disgusted and scared. By 1985, when I moved to NYC, things had barely changed.
What WAS changing, though, was my old hometown. As former inner city denizens moved to the 'cheaper, more affordable' areas they could presumably commute to urban areas from (HA!). The culture came with them, as did the government services.
While I was growing up, my rural area had poor people. Lots of them (we were borderline - working poor might be a good way to describe my family, certainly lower middle class). But we found ways to get what we needed. Government, as an entity, was not there in any overwhelming fashion. Visit today and see the change. It is everywhere. Services are available and offered in many small towns, simply because....well, because they can.
When did the shift happen? When the inner city moved to the country, and this move happened because it had to. The belief was it was cheaper, safer, and better. It was. But people carry culture with them, and the people I grew up with used to be very wary of city values. Until the city people showed up, and slowly 'the city' had all the things you wanted - so these lower level denizens of the inner city came to represent something they really didn't represent at all. As a result, their attitudes and behaviors were adopted and copied.
Gangs multiplied, police forces expanded, drug use exploded.
Are rural areas the new inner cities? Yes. But only because they had good teachers from the inner city itself.
Many people in my family are in social work/teaching and live in areas that are like this, hoping to 'make a difference'. Every life they save is making a difference, but they lament the fact they barely make a difference.
The reality is they may make a difference here and there, but they don't in a really meaningful way. It's going to take a cultural shift, and that's something which doesn't happen easily.
That fella in the pic with all the tatoos....how much did they cost? He should have spent that money on some dentures for his momma standing next to him!!
This problem is 100% the fault of the various welfare programs. Before welfare everyone at age 18 was faced with "sink or swim" life decisions and were forced to work 40 hours or more a week just to get by. Women choose to marry and stay married to have children and raise them. Today most of the incentives around welfare are exactly the opposite. If you are getting welfare the best way to lose it it to get a job or get married. But if you are getting welfare and all your needs are met for free what do you do with your free time??? Well drugs sex and alcohol of course.
If tomorrow all federal and state welfare ended 90% of the drug pushers would go out of business. About half of the people who get food stamps sell a portion of them at $.50 on the dollar so that they can buy drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. They do this every month not just once in awhile. The worst possible time to buy a used car is in late January or early February because that's when millions of people including millions of illegal aliens, get their EITC and they go buy a car. No liability insurance of course just the car. They usually lose it by mid Summer because of lack of payments but next year they buy another one with your tax dollars.
Our failing cities and our failing millennials is a self imposed problem. We are literally paying them to fail and penalizing them if they choose to not fail.
Good to know such places still exist. Where I live has gone to hell in the last 8 years. Homeless, druggies and crazy people everywhere. Not safe to walk in many places, although there are still small enclaves where it is safe.
My neighbor killed his mother for $20.
Drugs are bad.