The Need for Rural Revolutionaries

“”We raise our most capable rural children from the beginning to expect that as soon as possible they will leave and that if they are successful they will never return. We impose upon them, an affect, a kind of homelessness.””


If they were good they wouldn’t be in the country, they’d be somewhere else. They would want learned professions.
They wouldn’t want to tackle illiteracy, religious fundamentalism, poverty, joblessness, racism, rural homophobia.
People speak of having “escaped.”
“I would die if I had to go back there,” I’ve heard said.
“I couldn’t wait to leave.”
“Nothing’s there.”
Once uprooted, folks tend to continue peregrinating, moving about for careers, for education, for marriage, for lifestyle.
Four-fifths of people in the United States live in urban areas. Across the country you see evidence of of this “hollowing out” of rural America – abandoned small farms, ghost towns, country stores with dark windows – and it’s attendant suffering.
Rural places have hemorrhaged their best and brightest children, their intellectuals, their thinkers, organizers, leaders, and artists – those who would create change and parent who would parent another generation of thinkers.
All gone.
Our seeds are disappearing.”
We can’t tackle Illiteracy, religious fundamentalism, poverty, joblessness, racism, rural homophobia in small-town America with more small-minded thinking.
Rather than instilling disdain for our small towns, we need to insist on progress.
If we want progress in rural America, we need progressive people in rural America.
Our small towns need people who will rise up, not run away.
We need rural revolutionaries.

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