A tale of two rural Americas

March 31, 2019

Tim Marema wrote an article in the March 25, 2019 Daily Yonder as a response to two articles published in the New York Times the previous week. In the Times article, Paul Krugman, an economist, wrote about a rural America in economic decline. He describes it as “economic ruin” and “dysfunctional, with intolerant people.” Conversely, David Brooks, whom Marema described as a Moralist, writes about a part of the country with charming small towns, pastoral settings, and neighborly people. Krugman sees no chance of economic recovery, while Brooks sees more moral coherence and social commitment than in urban areas.

bird's eye view photography of white and brown house surrounded by green grass field

Photo by John Reed on Unsplash

Marema asks, “Is it all or nothing?” He claims one or the other misses a more important point. Rural America and urban America depend on each other. Marema suggests both urban and rural areas must succeed together or they will fail together. Rural areas need the urban areas for healthcare, education, and markets for their output. But urban America gets much of its food, fiber, and energy from rural areas. He goes on to say that our political class unfortunately has opened a political division separating urban and rural people, that the urban rural dichotomy is false, and that we must elect leaders to create a new path forward — together.

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