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Nov 28 2016, 11:52 PM
Regarding the City vs. Small-town thing I watched election night as the cities went blue and all the rural areas and distance suburbs went red and voted for Trump. That is enough to tell me I don't want to live in any of them because certainly the racist and homophobic index is far higher than it is in cities. Although I know that college cities tend to be much more liberal for instance Austin is the only city in Texas that actually votes blue
Due to the influence of the college there.
That's exactly what drove my point, but not in the way you think.

My own personal take is that the single biggest mistake that Hillary made was the deplorables remark. That stung terribly. These are really genuinely decent, hardworking people who have to struggle with finding enough work to keep the farm afloat-yep: a full time job on top of their more than full time job, all of it hard work with a great deal of economic risk plus physical risk. Farming remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the US. I will never, ever forget that shortly after we moved to MN, there was a huge story on the news about a young man, maybe 16 years old, who got his arms--both of them--caught in some farm machinery--and had both his arms severed. He was alone, managed to make it to the house and then climbed into the bathtub so he wouldn't ruin his mother's floors. This takes so much more than courage. He had surgery to re-attach arms, I believe and last I heard (and it's been many years) he was doing ok.

Oh, there was probably no insurance or if there was, it was a very high deductible individual family policy.

This is the sort of person who lives in rural America. This is not someone who is a deplorable, no matter how he votes.

In rural America, people see their kids leave not just the area, but the entire lifestyle. Often not for lots of money but to scrape by in a larger city. Manufacturing jobs (also very dangerous) are not plentiful and they no longer pay very well. If families are fortunate, one of the kids tries to keep the farm going and to hold out against huge agribusiness concerns, GMOs and the fancy attorneys which will take the family farm if some of the pollen from their GMOs blows over int the neighbors fields. Especially if the neighbor objects.

And then there are the kids who get sucked into drugs. Lots of them, just like in the big cities, only without the big bucks to get kids into treatment, if you can find a treatment program. You think mental health services are poor in urban areas? Try rural/small town America. I know more than one kid who treated his own mental illness with bath salts and other sh*t like that, having little access and no choice within that access to actual treatment. Partially because I live in a college town and partially because I live in MN, but it's actually fairly LGBTQ friendly. The racism against the Hmong has died down over the 28 years I've lived here. It's still rough to be a black American in MN. People tend to expend all their efforts at not being racist on Somali immigrants and Muslim immigrants--and keep plenty of hate for Native Americans and Black Americans. But that's not at all different than in the cities.

Alcohol is a huge problem. Again, less access to treatment for any kind of addiction, mental health issue, etc. Oh, yes, I live in the same area as Mayo clinic--work there so I have access, but honestly, most people don't have access unless they have something pretty wrong with them, and I don't mean addiction. Also, judging by one of my co-workers who has serious mental illness and is grossly (every sense of the word) addicted to nicotine, caffeine and if what I hear is true, also alcohol but has made zero progress in any of these, despite long term treatment and including hospitalization, well, it's not good.

Read any small town newspaper police report (and they all have police reports) and it is a very rare incident that makes it to the papers that does not involve alcohol and/or drugs. And in my local paper, they report calls from the fire department because of a smoke detector going off. My very best friend in the entire world is married to a small town attorney in Indiana. They have exactly the same types of crimes. I don't believe it's different anywhere in the country.

I spent a year working in the Head Start program in my town, which was filled with children whose parents were recent immigrants--generally very good parents with little money--and children of parents with addiction problems, mental health issues and a couple whose mothers, at least (who knew where the dad was?) had developmental delays, and some from families who had lived in poverty for generations. Which of those were good parents and which were not was less obvious than you might think. Honestly, there were no problems present in this small city (population 25K) that are not mirrored in large cities.

Local schools struggle financially to meet the extra needs of children living in poverty but whose parents are too proud to sign up for food stamps. Or too accustomed to living on the fringes to realize they qualify. There is special federal aide that comes to schools serving children in poverty and the way that is measured is through enrollment in food stamps.

Those rich factory owners ALL work hard AGAINST public education and tremendously support private (Catholic) schools, which literally tell kids with learning disabilities to stay home on the days that benchmark tests are given, skewing the schools performance in a way that is not open to public schools. How do I know this? My kids have friends who attended the Catholic school system, and at least one had significant learning disabilities (ignored by his Catholic schools) despite being extremely bright and who is now quite successful in his chosen career path (computers). This helps foster the next generation of workers who will accept very poor wages and terrible treatment because they have little other choice. My kids have all worked at some of these places--and it was a huge wake up call. A nickle and hour raise is common. I'm not kidding. Poor benefits, including and especially expensive health insurance with high deductibles and many restrictions to access. LOTS of people work multiple--2, 3, even 4 part time jobs because employers avoid paying full time workers to avoid benefits. Of course, there's a tremendous amount of stress that comes with being poor, especially if you have kids. And people deal with the stress the way rich people do: by drinking. A lot. And sometimes cheating. Divorcing--which is never cheap. Some drugs. And employers get to complain about how unreliable their workforce is. Unfortunately, I am not kidding. There is a reason I drive >100 miles a day for my job and it isn't the scenery.

Access to health care of any kind is limited and expensive. Food shelves? Sure, but people I knew who used them were deeply--DEEPLY--ashamed of needing that free turkey at Thanksgiving (a common 'bonus' given to workers by those generous employers). Assistance with heating? Yep. If you qualify and live in town. Doesn't apply to rural people who use propane.

Finally, FINALLY, maybe the Democrats are getting it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/vilsacks-tough-message-for-fellow-democrats-stop-writing-off-rural-america/2016/11/27/6751f8b8-b31d-11e6-be1c-8cec35b1ad25_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_vilsackdems-0825pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Frankly, rural poverty is as significant as is urban poverty. It's just easier to ignore. It's always fun to make fun of country bumpkins and hicks instead of recognizing them as hardworking, decent people who need infrastructure and support and most of all RESPECT.

And don't forget: it's easier to think of poverty as being a problem of BLACK URBANITES. Thinking of poverty affecting people who look a lot like you, who maybe are your family members (but not that close: your daddy got off the farm and never looked back for a reason) is much less comfortable.
Edited by tgir, Nov 29 2016, 10:58 AM.
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