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View Diary: A scary but enlighting map that gives me hope on second thoughts (130 comments)

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  •  And there are university towns in those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill

    rural areas that have plenty of foreign students.  Want an example?  Ohio University in Athens, OH.

    •  And how does that area vote? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cynndara, RosyFinch

      Probably more progressively. Those areas are outliers in the rural vote.

      We've lived in rural America - military bases are often in those locations. They are more conservative for many reasons, not just because they are older and whiter populations. I think the biggest differences we have found is that folks living in rural areas are much less likely to travel, much less likely to know people that come from backgrounds different than their own, and much more likely to believe in American Exceptionalism. If a University happens to be located nearby, those experiences change mainly because folks meet people from different backgrounds. It helps open minds.

      I wish we had a program to help more high school kids travel and see different part of the United States. I think it could make a huge difference to rural communities as well as urban ones.

      •  Inbreeding (8+ / 0-)

        as we joke in Virginia.  But not genetic.  Cultural.  When I talk to people near my mountain home in SW, they have seldom if ever met somebody who doesn't live within the near hundred miles.  They all socialize with the same people, go to the same school, shop at the same four stores which are the only ones they can get to without driving for two hours or more.  They reinforce each others' beliefs and attitudes and never hear new ideas.  My very existence is a shock to them . . . nice grey-haired LITTLE old lady explaining that she has no idea how to peel potatoes because her family never ate them.  Or pointing out how their minister's interpretation of Scripture relies on mistranslations that have been corrected by later scholarship.  They almost never get new information.  Naturally, the old information has been "confirmed" by so many repetitions that they are wary of anything that contradicts it.

        But they can be worked with.  They're not stupid, just stuck in an information vacuum that militates against change.  Remember that farming is about the riskiest long-term occupation on earth.  Farmers are dependent on Weather, and Weather is chaotic.  So they don't like to take chances.  And any change is a risk.  So combine an information vacuum with the extensive risk posed by any change to proven adaptations, and they're going to be very, very cautious about new ideas.  It makes complete sense given their situations.

        City-dwellers often need to get off their high horses and realize that human attitudes are adaptations to environment.  The environment for a self-employed farmer several hundred miles away from urban population, transport, communications, and job centers is quite different from that of the 24/7 "connected" young urbanite.  Cultural inbreeding can be relieved, but some of the fundamentals are not going to change without massive social upheavals.

        •  Given that the weather is likely to be (0+ / 0-)

          even more chaotic than it used to be ... maybe farmers will be more amenable to information about global warming than they have been. Or will they just be too scared and helpless in the face of a force like 'weather' to be willing to accept the science?

          Can it be presented in a way that gives these folks a sense of agency? In the face of drought and the Dust Bowl, FDR's administration came up with things that could be done (planting trees as wind breaks, replanting grasses, etc.) that helped alleviate the loss of top soil. If we could come up with something they could do to help the situation (or have we?) maybe farmers (and other rural people) would be less in denial about GW.

          And that could create an opening for other science and factual information to pierce the Fox/Limbaugh fog.

          Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

          by ohiolibrarian on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:43:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe we should have more exchange (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NotGeorgeWill, marina

        students -- but within the US.  Spend a year of high school living in a different part of the country.  Help young people get to know people from a different background.  It could help.

        So could broadband.

        So could breaking the right wing monopoly on talk radio.

        --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

        by Fiona West on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:31:40 PM PST

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