Conflict and Crisis in Rural America

Conflict and Crisis in Rural America

Conflict and Crisis in Rural America

Conflict and Crisis in Rural America

Excerpt

There is a major country that cannot be found in any atlas. This country covers 3.5 million square miles. Its population exceeds 60 million people. It produces more food than any country in the world. It is rich in timber, minerals, gas, oil, water power. Its Gross National Product exceeds 500 billion dollars a year. Its mountains, deserts, and beaches provide recreation for millions. Students come from around the world to study this country's farming and technology.

Yet in many ways this country is underdeveloped. It contains not a single city or metropolitan area. It boasts no major mewspapers or television centers, no mass transit, and very little in the way of air service or passenger trains. It is deficient in higher education, health care, and other services. It lacks enough doctors or trained social workers. Outsiders control much of its wealth, industry, and resources. Millions of its citizens migrate to find a better life.

The people of this country are many and varied: isolated mountaineers, people of the interior plains, Native Americans, immigrants from Europe and Latin America, small farmers, great landowners, fishermen, blacks, and other minorities. Most own their own land. They are, for the most part, thrifty and hard-working. They are basically honest. It is a country of simple religious faith and open trust. Doors are often left unlocked. Outsiders are usually treated with courtesy and kindness. Even those people who would not care to live there frequently go back for the quiet ways, the good food, the clean and friendly atmosphere.

Still, not all visitors are as enthusiastic. Some who go complain of the life there: the lack of excitement, the insular people, their narrow outlook. The cultural life is minimal -- no great symphony orchestras, no operas or ballets, few museums or theaters.

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