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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Abandoned To Their Conservative Principles, Are Rural Areas In a Downward Spiral?


Wisconsin republicans think so.

According to this story, Wisconsin republicans claim people in rural parts of the state are desperate and can't wait any longer for government to provide better health care, broadband, education and jobs.

Star Tribune Excerpt:
"It's high time that our rural areas and our small towns had our attention," said freshman Rep. Ron Tusler, of Harrison. Residents of these areas "are waiting without rioting, without yelling in somebody's ear. They're waiting patiently for us to focus on the issues that they have."

What a mouthful of resentment and demagoguery if you know what I mean. Rurals don't "riot" or yell like those people from non-rural areas?

I have to ask: What happened to the proudly independent small-government pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps off-the-grid rural conservatives?

It's true that rurals don't complain much publicly. Also, I have not seen one major request, petition, referendum or protest coming from rural residents, whether asking the state for broadband or anything. Maybe it's because they're not asking for what politicians are claiming. But it's certainly worth asking rural residents and their communities what they want from government. They need to be precise.

My other point is, "conservative" rurals cannot complain or ask for government assistance without looking like hypocrites. Their self-inflicted small government austerity-driven ideology prevents that. Plus, today's "reformed" Wisconsin should be their utopia.

No doubt, Democrats have slowly but steadfastly evolved away from conservatism over the past 60 years and in doing so, through natural attrition, also abandoned rural areas. At some point over the last 20 years, residents in those areas began to feel the abandonment. Recent history tells us they responded in a big way at the ballot box.

So, red county rurals are credited with turning Wisconsin into a single-party ruled central state government and spent the last ten years demagoguing those who do complain or ask for assistance - like precious Ron Tusler just did.

The problem is rurals had no one to turn to but "conservative" republicans. Politicians unfortunately, who were and still are in the process of defunding and dismantling our contemporary American way of life. That contemporary American way was built on the steady progressivism of a government regulated economy that subsidized local business environments, whether through infrastructure, education or other benefits, into supporting good paying blue collar jobs for rural residents.

Ironically, Wisconsin republicans have now formed an "initiative" they claim will bring back government provided essentials to rurals (education, health care and jobs), cornerstones of liberalism they worked so hard to take away from them over the past six years.

Star Tribune Excerpt:
The Rural Wisconsin Initiative is a year old and has 26 Assembly Republicans as members. It was created to address the "downward spiral" in rural areas when young people move away, causing the populations to drop, businesses to fail and job opportunities to decrease.

It's not often republicans will admit that their reforms, geared to resurrect conservatism, have failed their most ardent believers. But there it is.

I think the most liberal "urbanized" assembly Democrats from Wisconsin's two biggest cities, Madison and Milwaukee, should join the Rural Wisconsin Initiative. Now is as good a time as ever for Democrats to reach out to those who feel they have been betrayed, disrespected and shortchanged. Even if not through Rural Wisconsin Initiative, Democrats at some point soon should make serious attempts to reconnect with their former support base.

At the least, Wisconsin Democrats would be wise to keep tabs on the amount of state and federal assistance rurals are apparently NOT rioting asking for, but will be receiving through RWI. Just to remind them that government assistance from collectivism is not a "giving money to people who did not earn it" meme to demagogue perceived opponents with, but that we are all in this together.

Liberals should then tell rurals, "Welcome back to the club."

Related reading:

Urban Milwaukee - Milwaukee Subsidizes The State

WaPo - How rural resentment helps explain the surprising victory of Donald Trump

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