On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Americans exercised their right to vote without fear of persecution for their choice. This freedom is one I don’t take lightly, as our veterans have sacrificed so much to protect this privilege and have fought bravely to ensure our nation’s tradition of a free democracy carries on.
With Donald J. Trump at the helm, half of Americans are excited and optimistic about the future, while the other half are heartbroken. The nail-biting finish to the bitter end kept so many of us up until the wee hours of the night, and it’s quite apparent the spirit of democracy is alive and well in the United States of America.
Whether you are pleased with the election results or not, it was interesting to see the electoral votes get counted. What really stood out to me was the stark contrast between rural and urban voters. The sea of red over the “flyover states” was prominent while the major cities leaned blue. The divide so closely mirrors the disconnect we face in finding common ground between urban consumers and rural food producers.
What frustrated me the most as the election results were reported was the mainstream media’s shock and utter surprise about the forgotten demographic of blue collar, rural voters living in the heart of this country. Hard-working middle class Americans showed up at the polls in droves to cast their votes, and the way we were portrayed by the liberal mainstream media was absolutely disgusting.
We were called uneducated, unplugged and uninformed on what it takes to be a part of a global economy. We were mocked, swept under the rug and considered an unimportant demographic in this historical election process.
Call Trump a racist, misogynist, egomaniac, bigot or whatever else you like, but if you look past his brash comments, his less-than-polished political speeches and debates, and his rough-around-the-edges approach to winning the White House, the guy won despite the mainstream media’s best efforts to beat him down, despite opposition from both Democrats and Republicans, and despite the fact that he has never held a political office.
So how did he do it? Some want to cop out that Americans are sexist and racist and that’s why Hillary Clinton couldn’t capture the White House; however, I think his win largely had to do with economics and national security.
In my humble opinion, I think he spoke to the little guy in rural America — the guy who year-after-year plants his crops, feeds his cattle, pays his taxes and dutifully goes about his business of raising food for the world while providing for his family. This guy has been beaten down by hurtful taxes on small businesses, overreaching, burdensome regulations and health care that costs as much as a second mortgage.
He’s fed up, underpaid, overworked and wants a fair shake at finding success. He believes in capitalism, in working hard for your dollar, and he wants to raise his family in a land where he can feel safe from terror. Trump promised to change the status quo and “make America great again,” and that’s why rural America enthusiastically showed up to vote on Election Day.
Yet, it seems that every pollster, every media outlet and every political analyst simply looked over this demographic. They never considered Trump’s ability to win because they never spent a minute thinking about the blue collar worker. Biases aside, their naive comments about the uneducated, uninformed blue collar rural rednecks were completely insulting, totally shocking and utterly absurd.
Who do the talking heads at NBC and ABC think raises the fiber for the designer clothes they are wearing? Where does the food come from that they enjoy backstage during commercial breaks? How do they power their lights and cameras to air their broadcasts? Who drills for the oil and gas that helps heat their homes and keep their planes and cars moving?
Oh yeah, it’s those “uneducated” rural Americans.
These broadcasters completely bit the hand that feeds them. Perhaps they shouldn’t just fly over these rural states as they travel from coast to coast. They’re always invited to stop in and visit, and maybe, just maybe, they could learn a thing or two from us dumb, rural hicks in the sticks.
Chances are, if they took the time to talk to a rancher in Texas, a cattle feeder in Colorado, a factory worker in Michigan or an oil field worker in North Dakota, they would see that we’re hard-working, well-read, fiscally responsible, passionate, honest people who genuinely love America and firmly believe in the American dream — that if you work hard enough (and the government stays out of our way), anything is possible. Maybe they should consider that for their next news broadcast.
I know I sound angry, and frankly, I am. I’m angry that rural Americans can so easily be cast aside like they don’t matter — that we’re slow, simple, disconnected and closed minded, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. But at the end of the day, we have to remember that there is much uncertainty with a Trump presidency, and many Americans are fearful and worried about what is to come.
No matter which side of the aisle you favor, let’s remember to be kind, approach conversations with empathy and understanding, and remember that no matter our skin color, race, religion, career path, or city or country we live in, we are all Americans, and united we stand and divided we fall. We are Americans first and foremost, and we should never forget that.
We must all continue to remain engaged in the process of democracy, to do our part to drive this nation forward in a positive way, and to be good neighbors to the great people we share this country with. God bless America!