Putting off a necessary reckoning

Dear President Trump,

It’s only been three days since the election, but you’ve busted out of the gates in true Trump-style. You’ve sacked Sessions, illegally installed a right-wingnut ass-licker in his place, pulled Acosta’s hard press pass and threatened to pull more, attempted to meddle in Florida’s elections, and acted like a total bratty bully. There’s not been one tiny shred of anything remotely resembling an attempt to pull the country together. Not one.

Along these lines, I’ve been thinking about how the US population is distributed across rural and urban areas, how it is that you’ve been able to convince enough people who live in rural areas to vote Republican and keep the GOP boat afloat. My take on this is completely as an armchair observer – I’ve never lived in a rural small town and I only know a handful of people who’ve moved from rural to urban areas. Nonetheless, I’m going to hazard a theory.

Here goes. It’s apparent that fewer and fewer people are sticking it out in rural areas. Most young people who leave rural communities to go to college don’t return and loads of other people leave to find better jobs or to live more openly and not have oppressive religious doctrines shoved down their throats. Small towns that haven’t figured out an angle (arts, tech, tourist destination) are drying up and dying out. As this process unfolds, the people left behind become more homogenous and scared about what will become of them and their way of life, related fears that are ripe for exploitation. This is where you come in.

You’ve convinced them that they are the special ones who are carrying the torch of tradition and righteousness. You’ve made false promises about rejuvenating the industries that used to support these communities. These folks were bereft and you blew smoke up their asses. Plus, in response to their worries about the looming demise of their communities, you gave them completely ludicrous bogeymen to freak out over. In providing false hope and stoking fake fears you’ve put off a necessary reckoning. The people left in small towns and hamlets do not seem to be dealing with why their children are leaving and instead are lapping up the hate-filled messages you are tricking and distracting them with.

May we be safe from manipulative, desperate demagogues.
May we be willing to face what needs to be faced, learn what needs to be learned.
May we be healthy and strong enough to set aside false hope and fake fears.
May we make peace with change.

Tracy Simpson

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