Much was made of small towns at the Republican National Convention, so I’d like to offer you my thoughts as someone with expertise in both rural and urban areas of life. These are of course broad generalizations; your mileage may vary.
Small town folk are friendlier and more laid back. The almighty dollar is seldom the bottom line in small towns. People wave to strangers. Doors are left unlocked and keys are left in cars. Small town folk are generally just simpler people. That strength is also their weakness, and so they are easily misled. They vote for the person who most resembles them, and not who is smarter or more qualified. They tend to be suspicious of anyone more educated than they are. They don’t take the time to learn more about the world because their environment does not require it.
Big city folk often don’t know their own neighbors. They seldom make eye contact. They are more private, but they are often more intelligent and observant. Without much complaint they tolerate entire ethnic neighborhoods of different cultures because they understand what it means to get along; peace requires quiet sacrifice. City folk endure a psychological battleground of high-stress jobs, gridlock traffic and public transit. They enjoy a wider understanding of history, socio-economics and politics because their environment presents it to them every day. The luxury of safe homogeneity is something they traded in for the excitement of living on the frontier of modernity.
I know New Yorkers and Bostonians who have moved to Arkansas for its slower pace and friendlier society. And I know Arkansans who have moved to New York for its faster pace and competitive job market. I often wonder if everyone in this country would be better served by moving out of their preferred environment for some length of time in order to better understand both sides. Maybe that’s what I’m doing here.
P.S. As a side note to all of America: voting for the candidate to whom you can most easily relate is what got us where we are these last 8 years.
1.) I say this because while Wal-Mart’s bottom line is saving you money, Hudson’s Supermarket’s bottom line is making you happy. You don’t find sackers who carry groceries to your car in cities anymore and this is a societal tragedy.