An article in the New York Times pointed out recently that
Democrats have packed themselves into cities, effectively diluting their voting power, while Republicans are more evenly distributed across most states, the brief said.
This has effectively cut cities off from the land and those who live on it. This prevents urbanites from experiencing the richness and the life that comes from the land, and prevents farmers from getting the support they need to do their difficult, dangerous, and very necessary work. At the same time, rural folks do not benefit from greater exposure to the broad diversity of art and culture found in cities. Most jobs and services are in cities, so life today is more focused there, and this is unlikely to change any time soon. However, it is fortunate that today there is greater ease of communication and more sharing of ideas and various forms of expression. This should be encouraged, so that no one is left behind in learning or cultural enrichment, simply because they are in a remote or impoverished area. It might be helpful to counteract this cultural divide by having exchange programs for city youth to live in the country and rural youth to live in the city to learn what riches the other environment has for them. If we come to know and value what each other has to offer, working together would be easier and more likely.
City folks tend to forget that all our food comes from farms and is grown by farmers. We depend on them for our lives. It would be wise to honor and remember this, and work to include them in the larger society. If liberals could reclaim their heritage of supporting working people in all settings, urban and rural, there would be much greater popular support for the social programs they promote. If those liberals in government would return to the older policy of supporting farmers, the farmers would in turn support them, as they would see their economic interests and welfare being promoted.
A major obstacle to this is business, which has far too much control over economic issues, and very little interest in rural affairs. The unfair influence of business over government is something that must be replaced by the influence of working people in policy making. This, however, is much easier said than done, because so much money is in the hands of business.
A related effort that must be made is bringing awareness of the sacredness of the land and of the food we eat to people everywhere, especially in cities. This is something we as Pagans can do. Although Paganism may not reach the mainstream of society for quite a while, we can influence things more indirectly, through our voting, the causes we work for, and the way we live our lives. We can include our nonPagan neighbors in some of our celebrations, and promote food justice and other values in our conversations with them.
Changing people’s minds is important because that is how real social change is achieved. By our example we can also bring the sacredness and joy of nature back to people, even when they live in the city. If we all can come to share more values in common, and appreciate each other’s contributions, perhaps our society can move ahead more smoothly. Changing people’s minds takes a long time, but it is the surest way to change society.
Copyright © 2017 Teresa Chupp. All rights reserved.