Good Reads: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America

How are we supposed to “understand” the anger of rural America when they don’t understand what the hell happened to them?  They’re angry, generally at the wrong people, and willing to follow the people that screwed them.  An insider’s view of the white, Christian rural people that have a disproportionate voice in this country.

All my life I’ve been told that I have to understand the white, Christian, NRA member from Montana who is proudly ignorant and disdainful of urban life, militantly anti-gun control and concurrently asserts both superiority over me and claims victimhood from me because I’m from New York and educated.  Urban dwellers have to understand Mr. Rural Gun Owner and his love of his guns – while we’re ducking bullets and dying!

How come he doesn’t have to understand me and the issues we have to deal with in urban areas that, for example, make a lack of effective gun control a deadly serious issue?  I have to understand him.  Let me assert that I have never given a damn about his hunting guns, he can have them, have as many as he wants, shoot whatever his state says is legal to shoot and do whatever he wants with those guns in the privacy of his bedroom.  I just ask that he give me the same right to regulate non-hunting guns in my urban area to save lives.

Mr. Rural Christian Gun Owner and I have very little in common. I do not believe we have more that unites us than divides us, that’s one of those platitudes that needs to go away (although we might agree that beef is delicious and elites have mislead us on globalism and finance, I suspect we’d conflict on defining who those elites are and what to do now, and maybe on buffalo meat).  But contrary to what he may believe, I do not look down on him because he’s in fly-over country – that term is not a pejorative to me – it’s just the reality that I don’t go where he lives because I’m uninterested in those areas.  As rural people themselves have noted, it’s hard to keep people on the farm when they’ve seen Paree.  May I say your insecurity on this matter is unattractive.

But I do wish Mr. Rural Christian Gun Owner well.  I wish him health and love and happiness.  (And thanks again for all the beef.  All good!!)  Nothing I do or advocate would hurt him or his state.  I don’t want to make any decisions for him except maybe for the fact that I don’t think anybody needs to own a semi-automatic weapon designed for war. You know what, I’ll even compromise and let him have an AK or an AR-15, so long as it’s kept locked in an armory or licensed shooting range facility.  See?  I’ll bend for you.  Even though that’s not a legitimate hunting weapon.  How about some bending for my people?

I really just do not care one way or the other about him or what he does, so long as it does not effect me or my people.  However, people like this with their misinformation and carefully nurtured victimhood, and the system that gives them disproportionate representation in the Electoral College and the Senate (if California was allotted EVs at the same rate as Wyoming it would have 159 EVs) have given us the most unqualified and reprehensible POTUS in our history, and has continually thwarted national policies that would benefit the most Americans.  Them too, by the way, but apparently I can never convince them of that, simply because of who I am and where I live!

Anyway, it’s a good read by someone from this world.


I grew up in rural, Christian, white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area in the country that has a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on, on their rural farms. I dated their calico skirted daughters. I camped, hunted, and fished with their sons. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. I have also watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure turn into a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes, and a broken down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves, the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why…

… The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted.

Buddy, you can keep your damn country music (and that is not easy for me to write) and keep your hunting rifles, use them in good health!  All I ask is maybe you give a thought to the 85% of Americans that live in urban areas.  You know, the fly-to places.

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