When doing research for this fascinating topic I found so little in the way in empirical research. The question I asked over and over again is: How could such a vast swath of America be ignored for so long? Yet no one asked these questions. Using very current 2020 United States census data you will see that 52% of America lives in unincorporated communities. Then coupled with the fact that 8.4% of America lives in small-town USA, that is cities and towns under 10,000 people. So a qualified majority lives their lives in relative political obscurity. I hope with some of my reasoning that this issue may change.
Presidential Election 2020
On November 3rd, 2020 America brought to light an interesting situation never before seen in American history. As far as counties go President Biden won the fewest counties in current American history. Biden won 477 of the 3,006 counties, with Trump winning the rest. Only Barrack Obama at 873 counties in 2008 came in at a distant second. When drilling further into the data you see Biden won only 171 counties at a rate of 60% or more. Nearly all of these counties are very populated Urban centers. So how does one govern with such a narrow knife-edge of a political base of support?
So at the equity table are rural residents being treated fairly? Most Urban residents would entirely agree. Steeped in a generation of The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres and one too many episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard the Urban resident would feel superior, in every way.
The most recent example is that of our 13 soldiers that died on 26 August 2021 during the fall of Kabul. You see one item stand out over and over again. It’s small-town America doing all the fighting and dying for America. Of the 13 wonderful soldiers that passed only one came from one of top 100 most populous cities in America. The other 12 came from places like Berlin Heights Ohio (pop. 714). Or Rio Bravo Texas ( pop. 4,794). Or Bondurant Wyoming (pop. 59). The top 100 cities have 60 million people or 20% of the nation’s population yet contribute so little to our armed forces.
Using the Pentagon’s own data, 44% of all service members came from deeply rural America which only has 16% of the population. Yet the top Urban areas have 40% of the population yet only contributed 14% of the armed forces. Most young recruits are seeking access to higher education which of course are all located in cities–and most of those are in major cities. It was mainly the rural poor in the south and the west contributed 64% to the armed forces — far outpacing their urban counterparts. Does it benefit the urban core to keep the status quo? Absolutely. Now you have a better understanding of why President Biden was glancing at his wristwatch as the caskets passed by: They are not from his base of support.
Dying To Live Rural
The dearth of pediatricians in rural areas has cost rural children to lose their lives to simple maladies that could have saved them had they lived in the urban core. Most of these pediatricians received most of their training at taxpayer’s expense. Yet at the completion of training they serve the Urban core almost exclusively. Of all the 180 hospitals that have closed since 2005 virtually all of them served rural residents, as patients. The lack of medical parity is most easily seen as the location of lifesaving MRI machines. Most if not all MRI machines are located a short bus ride for urban patients, but could be hundreds of miles away for rural patients.
The state of Massachusetts has too many doctors at one doctor per every 225 people while the state of Wyoming has too few at one doctor per every 502 people. Since all taxpayers pay the bill why does the urban core receive beyond a fair share of the benefits? Clearly, a state or national free Life Flight helicopter needs to be given to rural residents so one group of people cannot hoard the valuable medical facilities and open them up to everyone.
Life-saving medicines have all been given to urban residents first. No finer example was my state during the Covid Pandemic. It was the single Urban core that was flooded with the vaccine long before the rural residents had access to it. One couple drove 300 miles to receive the vaccine when told by his local mom and pop pharmacy that it would be months before the rural pharmacy would receive it. Rural residents have far fewer infection Covid rates but higher death rates due to lack of medical services and vaccines. During Covid, proximity to a county with an intensive care hospital was 11.3% of rural patients. Compared to their urban counterparts at .03% of patients.
Powering Up The Cities
Consider the electrification of America. When the electron was harnessed in the early 1900s it was the cities that received the benefits first. Even though nearly all electricity in America is produced in the rural areas. Whether it is via the falling water through hydroelectric dams or burning of coal-fired plants it was all rural enterprises that made this happen. Bringing lights to our cities pushed back the dark and made the cities bloom with prosperity. These were boom times for the cities from 1910 to 1920s. Most rural areas had to wait another 25 years to receive the same benefits. Frustratingly, their land had been crisscrossed with high voltage electrical lines and the landowners have yet to receive any financial benefits for providing these easements. The real cost was the health of their rural children. None of these early coal-fired power plants that gave the warm glow to the cities had any pollution controls and it showed in the children. While urban Flappers danced the Charleston or the Fox Trot, rural children got Black Lung. When the Roaring Twenties roared for some, the rural residents paid with a far lower quality of life and the lives of their children.
Waste Disposal, Thy Name is Rural
Return to sender. We must put an end to urban residents outsourcing their environmental problems to rural residents. We need to end the practice of depositing sewage, prisons, and garbage in rural areas. These practices have gone on for 150 years and they need to come to an end. When using the term sewage the colloquial nicety is “Bio Solids”, so as not to offend anyone. New York City produces over 500,000 tons of Bio Solids a years and exports this product to any rural state that will take it. Most of this travels by rail car on their malodorous path to some unsuspecting community. Most of these transporters are for-profit companies and offer little in the way of public input or disclosure.
When seeking the data on what states are receiving the bulk of the Bio Solids two states come up over and over again, that is North and South Dakota. No two states have more tonnage per capita than these two. Are the people in the Dakotas aware that they are the SaniCan for the Eastern seaboard? Are they being properly compensated? Should there be a halt to all further shipments until they are compensated? When reading the glowing reports from the EPA about the great value of Bio Solids you will notice they are written far upwind in tree-lined boroughs of Washington DC. None of the DC children are subject to Bio Solids but yet the Dakotas’ children are. Could it be that pipelines of oil are bad for the environment but trainloads of raw sewage from Liberal cities are not? The one has stopped, and so should the other.
It should be noted that of the top 30 most dangerous prisons in the United States 27 are located in very rural communities. Such as Pecos, Texas (pop 8,700) received a for-profit prison built in 1986. In Ely, Nevada (pop. 4,255), their prison was built in 1989. And of course the well-known prison in Attica, New York (pop. 7,100). If a city has room for sports stadiums then it has room for high-rise prisons. It is both wrong for the prisoners to be kept so distant from their families and wrong for predacious for-profit publicly traded companies to target rural communities.
Boston Massachusetts purports to be on the cutting edge of environmentalism yet only recycles a dismal 25% of their garbage waste. That is an incredibly low number. On their website they tell you how to recycle in 11 different languages yet they simply don’t take recycling seriously. Most west coast cities are pushing for 70% or more and San Francisco comes close to 80%. So where does a wealthy city like Boston take their garbage? In the past, they built an island in Boston Harbor on Spectacle Island out of trash. Eventually, it would be 114 acres nearly 200 feet in height. This once pristine island was once home to both birds and marine mammals. An environmental disaster just four miles offshore.
New York City has a recycle rate of just 17%. Most of the residents’ carefully-sorted “recycles” get diverted to traditional landfills. This is the home of the New Green Deal co-author Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (“AOC”). Instead, New York City contracts out to ship their garbage by rail to Midwest states like Ohio. These rural communities need to say no to all new garbage shipments till the recycle rates reach 80% or more and the local residents are properly compensated.
Muted No More
Unincorporated means Unrepresented. The term Unincorporated means you live outside of and municipality such as a city or town. Over 52% of Americans live is such communities. Adding to that 8.4% of Americans live in small towns or cities of 10,000 persons or less. So 6 in 10 Americans are mostly all denied State and Federal grants because of where they live. Out of the 8 top cities and 8 top counties all the money went to deep blue urban centers. In the classic book “When Money Dies” the author Neil Fergusson writes about in Weimar Germany 1922 “Great piles of money were placed in the cities first”. This is what is going on the cities will get the money from the Federal Treasury first and through the ravages of inflation and time the rural residents will be handed a worthless currency.
Support your local sheriff. The highest elected office and usually the biggest vote-getter is your local sheriff. The term sheriff comes from old England. Sher = Shire or County and Riff = Reeve or local administrator. Of the nearly 3,000 sheriffs in the United States most are elected. There is a move afoot to make this a politically appointed position like they are doing in Seattle’s King County, Washington. When groups speak of abolishing the police what they are really saying is abolish local police in favor of a national police force run by Washington, DC.
Local sheriffs see this and have made their voices known. Currently, over 62% of mostly rural counties are in open rebellion against Washington, DC over 2nd Amendment issues. This was led in large part by our great local sheriffs. HomeLand Security now calls the lawless thugs of AntiFa “Violent AntiFa Anarchist Inspired Individuals” or VAAII for short. Don’t expect AntiFa to be reined in anytime soon.
Time For the Rural to Roar
In the Washington Irving classic, Rip Van Winkle wakes from a 20-year slumber sporting a foot-long beard and all hung over from drinking some bad liquor. He finds much to his delight that his long nagging wife has passed and the country has deeply changed. Before his slumber he was a Loyalist to King George only to find most of his friends died in support of a fellow named George Washington. The perpetually lazy Rip is taken in by his now adult daughter to live out his days in bliss.
Our country has changed and no greater change is that people are self-segregating to different pockets of belief. The Melting Pot has ceased to exist and a new form of tribalism is taking shape. The Urban and Rural Divide has turned into an unbridgeable chasm. The Urban voice is echoed and amplified in all modern media and the rural voice is being derided, mocked, and ridiculed. Why would the 171 counties that entirely depend on the 2,825 counties for life-giving food, water, power, and fuel do this? These 171 counties need the goodwill of the surrounding counties to send out garbage, sewer and to hold their prisoners.
My purpose in writing was to motivate the rural base to understand that whether its water rights or landfill agreements all contracts expire and need to be renegotiated — especially those written in unconscionable terms of generations past. We were a united country then we are not united now and the rural population needs their voice heard.