I ran across one of the best pieces I’ve read to date regarding the phenomenon of the 2016 U.S. presidential race. Like the author, I too have grown up in the “sea of red” so I know the faces of many people who say that they support the Republican nominee for President of the United States. I KNOW that most of these people are good people and I hope that they realize that I am not their enemy simply because I am an educated, African American female who believes that the government has a role and responsibility in facilitating the public good.
What concerns me is that every message that comes out of that camp is articulated in a way that literally causes me to fear for my personal safety and that of my loved ones. All of us who live in rural America face the same economic challenges. We don’t need anyone putting us on opposite sides of a battlefield blaming each other for our collective economic challenges.
What we DO need is to work together to identify ways of increasing sustainable employment opportunities for those who do not work and live in cities. We need to concern ourselves with successful strategies for addressing our local infrastructures and strengthen our negotiation stances with the cities that we supply with goods. We NEED to address the completely out of control mental health crisis that we are all living with that is steeling away our youths and destroying our homes. These are not separate, unrelated issues.
That doesn’t necessarily mean looking back to a romantic remembrance of days past and turning back the clock. This is not as simple as saying everyone needs to go to church more and all our problems will go away. This is bigger than praying that a large manufacturing plant will move into our towns and bring back good paying jobs. That is not a sustainable solution. In fact, that strategy dances on the edge of a different definition for insanity. We have all changed, the times have changed. We need to figure out how to move forward together.
If you would like to read the original article that inspired this response you can find it here.
~Marta C. Youngblood