Mandeville, LA – “But who am I to look out the window at others, when the story is my own as well? All my siblings went belly up in small farming. I held on to the old homestead and a remnant 40 acres only by renting out to a superb farming corporation while earning my living from the coast. Such a strange Faustian bargain globalization proved to be: unlimited affluence for some without shared prosperity, instant electronic social media and communications without much to communicate, and hip culture without much cultural transcendence. I could assure Bill Kristol that my siblings who could not make a living when peaches went from $9 a lug to $4 and raisins crashed from $1,400 a ton to $450 were not lazy. And I would say to David Brooks that their genetic material did not preclude rational judgment.
America’s rural class was gobbled up in a variety of ways. The consolidation of agriculture, the outsourcing and automation of manufacturing, and franchising of retailing created an underclass dependent on social services and low wages. A smaller and mostly younger group got with the plan, left rural America, fled to the coasts or regional big cities, obtained the proper credentials and became successful. Some in between stayed on and went about their old ways, often confused that the familiar but often empty landscapes and infrastructure might still mean that business could go on as usual.
But the rural shakedown did not mean that our red-state interior tuned out from politics, big business, universities, government, popular culture and mass entertainment. Far from it; cable TV, the Internet, and smart phones plugged rural America into coastal culture as never before. And what fly over country saw and heard each day, it often did not like.” – Victor Davis Hanson, The Deplorables Shout Back