2019 and the Status Quo

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Essays from West of 98

Today, I’m thinking about 2019. I know it’s still several days away and we’ve all got lots of things to do between now and then (boy do I ever). But as 2018 draws to a close, I think it’s important to reflect on the year that has passed and the year to come.

In 2016, much was made of the importance of rural America and the rural vote in the outcome of the presidential election. For months afterwards, politicians, pundits, and prognosticators from all political stripes waxed philosophical about the importance of rural America. They opined that rural America had been “forgotten” and that we need to repair the frayed relationships between the distinctly rural, suburban, and urban segments of the country. For the most part, America’s talking class just talked. They used “rural America” to justify their pre-established opinions and determined that their pre-determined policy ideas were the perfect solution for whatever ills were troubling the rural folk.

I’ve also seen some pushback. Those with little appreciation for America’s formative history didn’t see the point of helping rural America. A recent column in the New York Times espoused the view that it might be too difficult, if not outright impossible, to “save” rural America.

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