A Time to Choose

Americans sit paralyzed, watching the fabric of a representative republic unravel before their eyes, ignoring this chain reaction while happily checking the bank account to see the latest stimulus check's arrival is but one example of national paralysis. Numerous examples have been written about or cried over since the last election. It didn’t start there, though.

In the spring of 2020, fivethirtyeight.com published an article about the urban-rural divide and the impact it might have on last November’s election. They posited that hypothetically deciding the election based on the urbanization index would garner 323 electoral votes for Biden and 215 for Trump. Bear in mind that Nathanial Rakich wrote this hypothetical projection almost seven months before the national election. While questionable outcomes from that debacle are still under investigation, the official electoral results were 306 for Biden and 232 for Trump.

Other organizations and media outlets have investigated the urban-rural divide in recent years. The D.C.-based think tank, Niskanen Center published an article in 2019 lamenting “the density divide” based on a study by the same name conducted by researcher-writer Will Wilkinson. For the record, Wilkinson was fired from the Niskanen Center in January of this year for incendiary tweets about Vice President Mike Pence.

Wilkinson’s findings in The Density Divide present numerous expected tropes as supported conclusions. The executive summary of his report suggests “urbanization sorts population on attributes -- ethnicity, personality, and education;” and “the filtering/sorting dynamic of urbanization has produced a lower-density, mainly white population that is increasingly uniform in socially conservative personality.” These read as talking points that euphemistically cover for the inflammatory screed that conservatives vote along racial lines. It’s easily debunked by looking at exit polling from the November election, where Trump won the highest percentage of nonwhite voters of any Republican since 1960.

The urban-rural divide in the United States has long been a topic of academic study. It should be self-evident that people from Pocatello, Idaho have differing interests and needs from Newark, New Jersey. The break is not uniform. The divide is not along racial, ethnic, or religious lines. The seams, ripped along dormant perforations, lie along an urban-rural split. Moreover, magnifying the divide into megalopolises and everyone else offers sobering conclusions.

America has nine megalopolis metro areas with a population exceeding six million. The New York-Newark metro has an estimated nineteen million residents. The Los Angeles-Long Beach metro has thirteen million. These two mega-cities have more combined residents than all but one state, California. Understanding the upheaval’s magnitude is critical to repairing the damage done to America's crumbling foundation as the shining city on the hill.

Setting aside these renowned megalopolises, nine more American metro areas have at least three million residents. That number represents a critical threshold in understanding American politics. There are seventeen states with a smaller population than each of the nine second-tier mega-cities. The resultant cultural chasm of just such a split is not one of red states versus blue states; it is one of traditional values pitted against progressive values. Even the very word ‘progressive’ carries connotations that reek of a pejorative counter-definition. It subtly implies anything not progressive is somehow regressive. Traditional values are left to fight an uphill battle in the face of progress.

Examining the idea of traditional American values shows that they are under attack. These values are besieged by a hostile legacy media that mocks them. They are undermined by legislative agendas that seek to outlaw their practice. They are belittled by popular shows in a popular culture looking to boost ratings from quick jabs at the leaders elected by traditional-minded Americans. Just last week, a New York judge removed a child from her mother’s custody because the mother -- a physician – was not masked while dropping her child off at school. The most American of traditional values -- rugged individualism -- wobbles on the ropes from the pummeling onslaught it receives under a carefully coordinated attack by progressives -- who, of course, know best how others should behave in all circumstances.

The attack on a ‘live and let live’ worldview is so pervasive that people prefer to riot against a state’s questionable treatment of detained criminal suspects rather than the state’s removal of a child from their parent’s custody. Please do not misinterpret this to mean that states, their law enforcement agents, or any other officials have any right to deny the protection of freedom enshrined from state overreach. States -- via the Fourteenth Amendment -- and the federal government are explicitly bound to honor, protect, and uplift all persons' rights in this country. It is their sworn duty. At the same time, there haven’t been massive riots -- or any riots, for that matter -- over a state deciding that a licensed physician is now unfit to raise her own child due to actions that did not, in fact, violate state policy. Is this remotely in keeping with traditional American values?

The time to choose has arrived. Americans can decide they don’t want to act. They can sit at home, receiving small doles of their own future money, loaned out by a government whose credit rating was downgraded last summer. The stimulus checks may buffer the effects of social control exacted by power-drunk statists who cover up nursing home deaths in the name of emergency powers. The relaxing of mask mandates may afford some return to normalcy for Americans locked inside for the last twelve months. However, any such relaxation of those mandates is bound to produce a short-lived euphoria that will wear off, leaving citizens to wonder what happened to their rights while they were sheltered in place.

Americans can also decide that enough is enough. Traditional values are under such a barrage that they will either be forever cast out of progressive society -- relegated to ostracized groups -- or codified into law as illegal acts against the State. Choosing to act in this regard does not imply violence. Traditionally minded Americans can protest their local, state, and national officials in the same way that progressives have united in decrying those traditional values. Sure, the progressives have the numbers in the big cities. Traditionalists have the numbers in small towns and medium-sized cities. Parades, protests, and rallies can celebrate American values, galvanizing more citizens to wake from their big-government-induced slumber.

It doesn’t have to lead to two Americas fighting over the future of this country. The ideals of freedom suggest that all views are welcome and celebrated. It does mean that Americans who practice and preach traditional values need to understand the time to choose has arrived.

Image: Piqsels