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The urban and rural divide continues to grow wider. Now is the time to advocate, educate and make connections with our consumers to protect our future and our nation’s food security.
November 29, 2017
It’s been just over a year since President Donald Trump was voted into office, and since then, the divisiveness over polarizing issues continues to escalate. There are certainly three sides to every coin, and for most topics, I can empathize with opposing sides to my personal viewpoints, even if I have no intention of changing my stance.
Like most things in life, political issues are mostly shades of gray; however, today’s society seems to see things in two colors — black and white. You’re either right or you’re wrong. You’re either left or you’re right. You’re either blue or you’re red. This mentality leaves little room for public discussion, compromise, working together and doing things for the greater good of the nation.
As this relates to U.S. farmers and ranchers living in quiet communities across the United States, it is becoming painfully obvious that rural Americans are considered public enemy number one. That’s according to some very public figures who recently tweeted about us hicks in the sticks.
For example, MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin tweeted over the weekend, “By 2040, about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states. They will have only 30 senators representing them, while the remaining 30% of Americans will have 70 senators representing them.”
It appears Griffin could use a lesson in our nation’s government. Perhaps, he should be taught the difference between a Democracy and a Republic? I’ll echo what one commenter posted following this tweet: “A Democracy is like having two lions and one lamb decide what’s for dinner.” There’s a reason our founding fathers created the Electoral College, but since the presidential election, it’s becoming an increasingly popular opinion to ditch it altogether.
I realize I’m getting a bit political in this post, and I promise this blog has a point that should be of concern to any of us living in rural America. What is most alarming to me isn’t the ignorance of our nation’s very core values and the principles of the Constitution that make this nation so great (although that is quite troubling). What alarms me most is the growing disconnect between urban America and its rural counterparts.
Following Griffin’s tweet, MSNBC reporter Joy Reid retweeted with the comment, “This is the core threat to our democracy. The rural minority — the people @JYSexton just wrote a long thread about — have and will continue to have disproportionate power over the urban majority.”
Reid is referring to author JY Sexton who accused Midwestern rural Americans of being racist with a skewed world view that is a “major, major existential problem.” He wrote that this demographic only believes in the Constitution when it’s “advantageous.”
In response to these tweets, Resurgent editor, radio host and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson wrote, “To have a national ‘news’ host call rural America a ‘core threat’ to our democracy is both striking arrogance and striking ignorance.”
I agree. I wonder if Reid, Griffin or Sexton ever stop to think about where their food, energy and clothes come from. When they’re in a plane going from New York City to Los Angeles, do they ever think about the flyover states and the hard-working people who provide for their daily needs, so they have free time to do things like tweet and drink lattes instead of hunting for food, chopping fire wood, sewing their own clothes and building shelters for their survival?
It’s really a matter of biting the hand that feeds them, and perhaps it’s our fault that nobody thinks of us, and if they do think of us, they only see us as a threat instead of another important fiber in the fabric of our nation’s society.
Advocacy, now more than ever, is incredibly important for rural America’s survival. If we are considered a threat, not an asset, to our nation’s security, what does that mean for our futures in agriculture when the general voting public goes to the polls? What kind of regulations will be shoved down our throats because consumers think they know better than the farmers, ranchers, loggers, electricians, miners, construction crews and other skilled laborers in blue-collared society?
We must continue to tell our story. The gap between big cities and the quiet country may be huge, but if we don’t continue to try to educate, connect and find the gray areas so we can compromise and work together, our future is indeed uncertain. Living in a world where we only see black and white is scary, and we must be part of the solution, for the sake of our nation, our food security and our childrens’ and grandchildrens’ futures.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.
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