Friday, October 10, 2008

My town's smaller than yours is.

As someone who grew up in an even smaller town America than Sarah Palin did, in a town that had an even smaller Main Street (2 stoplights), with a population less than 1/7 the size of doggone-it-you-betcha-ain't-we-cutesy-and-wink-folksy-by-God-wink Wasilla, Alaska, I was glad to read this article about how overrun Washington has been with 'heartlanders' for the last twenty years. There are so many virtues of a small town, as John Mellancamp wasn't the first to say, and I loved growing up there for so many reasons. But as charming as the mentality is, it has consistently proved itself to be severely limited and circular, pre-occupied with the smallest of concerns, narrowly focused on only what has a direct effect on its own citizens. But even that is too broad. The politicians in most small towns even parse up their tiny populations, making government serve their family and friends, disenfranchising those who are new to the area or whose families aren't from the 'right' side of the tracks. I would trust my life to many of the people I grew up with, but not for a second would I presume they would make the right decision for anyone but themselves. Small town politicians are the kings of earmarking and bigotry and xenophobia - truly dedicated to those they know and love and deeply viscous towards those they don't. Enough of Main Street in Washington. Let's get someone with a broader sense of perspective, who doesn't put country first (which really just means city last), but seeks to do what is right by the greatest number of citizens, both here and in the rest of the world. It is this universal thinking that Jesus taught us, and is the ultimate small town value, even though it is rarely practiced there.

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