In a recent commentary about the rural/urban divide, community columnist Heather Johnson declared that she didn’t want to demonize city dwellers — after doing just that.
Implying that cities are hotbeds of crime, alcohol abuse and godless whatever, she simply circulated stereotypes about urban life. (As for pregnancy centers outnumbering abortion clinics in rural communities, Kentucky has only one abortion provider).
As a longtime resident of the Sodom and Gomorrah known as Lexington, I can attest that we have a number of bars (many of them quite nice) but also plenty of churches, plus synagogues, mosques and other places of worship. We also have restaurants, farmers markets, hair and nail salons, an annual all-volunteer re-enactment of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, art galleries, a rental store at whose warehouse the vice president delivered a speech, a children’s theater, the occasional tractor pull, yard sales and friendly, helpful neighbors.
I could counter Johnson’s dystopian image with equally negative cliches about rural life, but that won’t bridge the gap between rural and urban voters any more than her essay will. Let urban and rural voters alike educate ourselves about important issues such as health care, the economy, the environment, immigration and education rather than reverting to stereotypes that make strangers of our fellow citizens.