Big City vs. Small City

It’s hard to believe that July is almost over. This year is going by so fast. That’s why I made the effort to get up yesterday morning and finally make a trip downtown to the farmer’s market. I’d been planning to do so for quite a while, but I’m not up and out of the house too early on Saturdays, usually.

It was about a 10-mile roundtrip from my house by bike, but very enjoyable, except for the part when I came across “inner city people” on the sidewalk. I have to admit that I wanted to turn around and go back, but persisted on, though I was willing to mow them down with my electric bike, if I had to.

It was a good, healthy workout and I appreciate that the city does have a bike path leading to downtown along West Main. I’ll be visiting a lot more trails in the sate this fall. Bike tourism is a real thing. But, from August to about the middle of September, I begin looking and feeling like my flower beds. Tired. Wilted. Bug eaten. Almost ready to give up the ghost. I perk back up in the fall.

Next time I go to the farmer’s market, I’m going to buy more produce. My big haul was two cucumbers and a single green pepper! The lady looked at me like I was strange when she put them in my bag. But, then, everyone looks it me like that, so… Anyway, I enjoyed my cucumbers and lonely green pepper.

I also felt so cosmopolitan on my bike with my vegetables. I’m ready for the big city now!

Big City Vs. Small City

Speaking of big and small cities, unless you have been on a social media vacation, I’m sure you’ve been reading people’s thoughts on the controversial Jason Aldean song, “Try That In A Small Town”. Everybody has their own opinion of it, but for me, it reinforces a theme that I’ve been picking up on from the far right, for quite some time.

It’s really not a new sentiment. Listen to “Okie from Muskogee” from 1969. It was in response to Vietnam War protesters and the hippies of the era burning their draft cards. It was a song celebrating traditional values of the silent majority. My parents loved the song, even though they were vehemently against the Vietnam War, but were traditional in many other ways. It was okay to be a bit more multidimensional then, I guess.

“Try That In A Small Town” is much more militant, and it’s obvious that “small town” doesn’t really mean “small town”. It’s really a code word for something else.

It’s easy to predict political affiliation when looking at an election map. The more populated areas are almost always blue, and rural areas red. We can’t ignore the racial makeup of those populations, either. Rural areas typically aren’t diverse. It’s pretty much white people, living in traditional families. There’s a lot of hyper-patriotism, blurring the line between faith and government. As others have stated, it’s basically Jesus wrapped in an American flag, wielding an AK-47.

“Small town” doesn’t mean big porches, lemonade, hound dogs, and tractors.

I still remember the shops in Branson, Missouri and their marketing to conservative Americans, when I visited there a few years ago. I saw several tin decorative signs for sale with the words, “God, Guns and Country”. These are the words that evangelical Americans live by. And that’s really what is meant by, “small town”.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the country and believe that some of the best people you’ll ever find are there, but I can say that about people in the city, too. There are people living in the roughest neighborhoods, who are talented, fascinating and steadfast in their faith.

I get it. A lot of the thoughts about “city people” are based on fear. I sure didn’t feel that secure riding through those few sketchy blocks along West Main. In my defence, there is a lot more crime there than in my neck of the woods. It’s natural to feel aprehensive and probably smart, but you can take it too far.

You can’t look at a map and point and say, “That’s where the smart people live, or that’s where the good people live.” Unfortunately, too many people are doing just that.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. Now, I’m going to go ride my bike, after I finish my last cucumber.

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