I absolutely love everything that you've been posting, and bridging the urban-rural divide to help change the ideologies of rural culture is literally what I'm planning my career around trying to do. My focus is very America-centric, but if you're interested, I can definitely recommend some reading material for you! xx
It’s something I have been thinking about for a long time, in explicit terms since our election in July where my home state elected a stain on Australian politics that just won’t quit: first elected in the mid-90s, then it was racist commentary on Indigenous and Asian Australians, then we exiled her from politics but she’s made a comeback, now it’s Islamophobia. But it’s always been something in the back of my mind, the insular nature of the liberal elite.
I’m from a small regional city, I know “those people.” They’re my extended family and people I grew up with. They make lots of spelling mistakes and questionable comments about minorities on my Facebook feed. But the thing is, they’re not write offs or somehow fundamentally different from “us”. They’re actually regular people like you, like me, who happen to live somewhere else and have a different exposure to political issues. Their local economies work differently and the things that concern them are less relevant to people who live in cities. For years they’ve been listening to the only people bothering to speak to them: the right wing media. And so their culture and their world view is different. It’s easier to recognise someone else’s bubble and liberals are so god damn smug about it, but we live in one too.
Gleefully actually, until we lose an election and then we all come out crowing about racism and sexism and bigotry.
All this is to say: that sounds super interesting and yes, do share! I think it’s interesting to compare these things between countries, to see what we can learn from each other. (Again, it’s easier to observe than to exist within the system.) Because it seems to be happening all over the world, but the peculiarities of each country or culture emphasise different aspects of the issue.
If you focus on the racism and ignore the economic anxiety, you’re intentionally blinding yourself to much of the problem. It doesn’t matter how much you hate them; their concerns must be heard and addressed or else this will happen again. Or, as someone on Twitter put it, “I’m begging liberal Democrats to discover a tactic other than wealthy celebrities mugging in a camera about how dumb the GOP is.”
The follow up to the quoted tweet:
I don’t know if it’s just that people from cities don’t know what it’s like to drive through those depressed near-ghost towns? But there are lots and lots of parts of this country (and I’m guessing America too) that are a post office and a pub. One street and one dwindling industry, with double figure youth unemployment and nothing that looks like change coming anytime soon. Of course racism and bigotry and “the good old days” rhetoric takes hold in these areas. It’s hard for urbanites to see because it’s so obvious that so many things are better now. But for certain groups in certain areas, they were good old days. You can’t talk about progress without acknowledging that or it doesn’t mean anything to a great big chunk of the voting population. You’re just not speaking their language.
And yet the liberal response to this is “you just can’t talk to some people” and like, yeah!!! You nailed it buddy. We are not talking to “some people”, “those people”, and they’re not effing voting with us. How thoroughly unsurprising.
(I hope you don’t mind that I published this! I thought other people could jump in if they are also interested.)