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20 November 2016 @ 07:08 am
“That’s your education talking.”  
On Rural America: Understanding Isn’t The Problem

Thanx to andrewducker
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Elenbarathi: Abandon hopeelenbarathi on November 21st, 2016 08:42 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, extremely well-said. Thanks!

Am I 'coastal elite'? My parents both grew up in a small Nebraska town. I grew up in suburbia on both coasts; went to school in Pennsylvania, lived ten years in Ohio - now live in Washington, in the only red county West of the Cascades. Clallam County is 'coastal' all right, but it's also very rural, and strongly pro-Trump.

I understand my neighbors all too well. They are really nice, kind, concerned people, as long as you fit the parameters for "Us", but it's all too easy to cross the line to "Them", and then they don't want to deal with you. It's awkward, because while casual friendship can work just fine, getting to know each other better may end the friendship entirely.

They're not illiterate, but they don't read either broadly or in depth. They're not stupid, but they have few critical thinking skills, so they believe all kinds of bullshit. They're not necessarily untraveled, but they've never lived outside of their social class. They don't hate the natural world - most would say they love it - but they tend to see it mostly in terms of 'resources for human use', and don't value it for its own sake. And they're not necessarily religious, but their world-view is shaped by authoritarian religion: "Do As You're Told shall be the Whole of the Law."

Logic does not sway them, and they don't really care about anyone outside their "Us", so appeals to sympathy for "Them" fall on deaf ears. They are peasants, hoi polloi; despite their cell phones and computers they're still the same fickle, volatile, ignorant masses that Pericles and Julius Caesar had to cope with.