When you're in a remote rural bubble of misinformation, disinformation, and misdirection, you, too, might be "completely susceptible" to propaganda--the only source of information in your environment. (If you're interested: https://dr-cbg.medium.com/authoritarianism-in-rural-american-cultures-1bcbb0906b1)

This is our problem, Eric: media, progressive politicians, and academics don't have many clues (except trash like Hillbilly Elegy and one helpful study, Tightrope) about how Rural American Cultures (RAC) are undermining democratic norms in the U.S. Yes, the senate is vitally important, and Georgia is key in blocking another entry point for authoritarians to access our democratic processes and systems. Where Black voters, once again, have to save us from our own white asses.

AT THE SAME TIME, we need a national effort to UNDERSTAND why "a heck of a lot of [white] people are completely susceptible," not just assert their stupidity and inability to understand reason. To understand Rural American Cultures and their effects on democratic norms we need to be on the ground in rural America. And no one is doing that work. As a result, media — across the spectrum — present narratives about Rural American Cultures that erase the relevance and diversity of 60 million people in RAC

This mess (https://dr-cbg.medium.com/american-authoritarianism-dc6a2c5fae85) is not going to get cleaned up until urban elites (of which I am one) turn toward the 60 million people on 97% of the land mass in the U.S. and understand them as more than voters or farmers. Or as stupid. We need to understand how humans in RAC are grown and why they seem to be fundamentally different than the rest of us. I know that's not going to happen any time soon. Y'all just can't feel to see, but I won't stop trying, not after what I found in RAC the last 4 years.

Let me at least suggest your attention also turn toward Tom Vilsack. His nomination over Marcia Fudge for Ag Sec is another nail in the coffin of U.S. democracy because his practices embody the disconnect that underlies everything: the authoritarian rural — democratic urban divide (https://peoplesaction.org/2020/12/peoples-action-democrats-will-continue-to-lose-rural-voters-with-vilsack-appointment/).

There are millions of people in the middle in Rural American Cultures, women and children and those on the margins who cannot speak up to dissent for fear of punishment. That is a whole hell of a lot of potential, sitting and suffering, waiting for a progressive hand to reach out and support them. Not just on the phone to get votes, but on the ground, to understand. These people in the middle, however, are not the humans media folx highlight in their stories. These rural Americans are invisible, to urban elites and to the rural authoritarians who shame and hide them.

All while they drown in propaganda to which they seem completely susceptible.

Written by

SF Bay Area critical researcher, creative, & cultural worker. Content developer for The Relational Democracy Project relationaldemocracy@gmail.com IG @dr.cbg

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