There was a time when the rural aspect of society in our nation was cherished.
From the times of Currier and Ives illustrations up to the elements of many “Twilight Zone” episodes, we saw a repeated theme that valued the clarity and simplicity of small-town life.
That was then.
This is now.
And our culture, a much darker place than even Rod Serling could have imagined in his lifetime, has stopped romanticizing rural existence.
If you aren’t part of the megalopolis that is 21st Century America, you are nothing.
It sure does to the part, the HUGE part, of our culture that is calling the shots.
Once in a while, the reality plays out, though, as happened recently in Fort Kent, Maine, when that rural community was spurned in the effort to participate in a federal program, as the Associate Press reported recently.
“A federal contractor wrote that Fort Kent’s location — ‘WAAAAAAYY off the beaten path’ — created difficult logistics and grounds for rejecting a $125,000 grant aimed at preventing underage drinking. Fort Kent was one of four finalists for the grants, which went to Mason City, Iowa, and Louisville, Ky.
“Angry over the snub, Sen. Olympia Snowe declared that tiny Fort Kent at the northernmost tip of Maine is the victim of ‘rural discrimination.’
“‘This community group met all the stated requirements for this competitive grant, but the application was denied because a government contractor stated the town is too far ‘off the beaten path’ to and would be ‘inconvenient’ for contractors to visit,’ she said.”
There are many Americans who have chosen to live WAAAAAAYY off the beaten path, and who, remarkably, have enjoyed the experience, despite the set-backs they have been forced to endure.
It is obvious that we don’t have the votes that the big cities generate, that is true.
And we certainly don’t have the wealth to buy attention that the mega-communities generate.
So it is probably evident why politicians — and especially hired regulators — wound consider us to be second class citizens.
But that doesn’t make them right.
There is little chance that we are going to see a marked change in the attitudes of our national officials any time soon, not in our favor, at least.
However, what should be obvious to us all is that we need to be more concerned than ever before in the choices that we make regarding the choice of our local and state officials.
Perhaps as never before, we need the very best of us to be leading our rural areas if they are to survive.
— Chuck Smith