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Small-town America's never-ending struggle to maintain its values hasn't always been good for U.S. democracy

26 Comments
By Joseph Patrick Kelly

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I'm more concerned about the christian fundamentalism of the small town. There are fairly robust civil rights protections, even today.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Aldean’s song paints a picture of a renewed culture war between urban and rural versions of America.

Contrast this simpleton's lyrics and the other country music MAGA mascots to the greats like Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Woodie Guthrie who speak to the injustice faced by the working man and woman and resonate still today.

The mega-church evangelicals, Fox News propaganda and corporate propaganda have poisoned and ossified small town America.

And neo-liberal corporatocracy for decades gave it that opening.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

dagon is once again right. Come on, smile, indeed. This article talks about the 20s and 30s when racism was one injustice among many in the land of the free. The repression of workers was legendary. In 1919 and 1920, when anti-communist hysteria swept the country, the government took repressive measures against labour movements. Around 10,000 people were imprisoned without charge or access to lawyers for their political beliefs or for belonging to labour or political organisations. Laws were passed making the Socialist Party illegal. Other laws passed by state and federal governments institutionalised the repression of radicalism and dissent. All this was widely supported by the media and business. Unions were pretty much emasculated and freedom of the press and political thought were reined in.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

To this day, the US has ratified only 14 out of 190 International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions – only ten are in force – and only two out of ten fundamental conventions. It continues to be antipathetic towards workers but well-disposed towards the capitalist class, which distracts the masses through its bought-and-paid-for media with "social justice wars" which, unsurprisingly, do not include the war it wages on the workers.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

MoonrakerToday 08:59 am JST

To this day, the US has ratified only 14 out of 190 International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions – only ten are in force – and only two out of ten fundamental conventions. It continues to be antipathetic towards workers but well-disposed towards the capitalist class, which distracts the masses through its bought-and-paid-for media with "social justice wars" which, unsurprisingly, do not include the war it wages on the workers.

Could be worse. Could be a country where unions never strike and low pay and unpaid overtime is legendary...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Kind of interesting that the author speaks of "white Southern lawmakers" without calling out the Democratic Party, which was the majority at that time, including Arkansas Gov Charles H Brough.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Well now, isn't this is a well written article.

Aldean denied using coded racist language in his song or blowing any racial dog whistles … But in my view as a scholar who has studied the struggles to define American identity, the controversy over hidden agendas has diverted attention from Aldean’s overt message: *that cities are turning the nation into a “s***t show,” as Aldean sees it, and the remedy is a revival of small-town America.

OK Kelly, so the article is going to explain the pros and cons of small-town living verses big-city living and the impact of each on American society. Got it.

Master-race democracy

Armed resistance and racist attacks

Ah, so the small-town/big-city angle was actually just a way to bring in the racism angle. Got it.

Q: What was your reaction when you saw people saying that this had racist undertones and, you know, it was like a call to Arms, you know, it was like a call to Arms in small towns. It was a threatening kind of video for black people, I mean, people were putting this on like...

Aldean: There was there was people of all color doing stuff in the video. That’s what I don’t understand. I don’t know. I feel like the narrative really got switched over and became, you know, more of a racial type thing and it’s like if that’s what you got out of the song and the video, I mean, I almost kind of feel like that’s on you because that wasn’t our intention.

https://youtu.be/hCCCzIjbtx4

But Aldean, I am sorry that I must enact the labor of explaining it to you, but if a listener watches your video in which “people of all color” are doing criminal activities and your lyrics speak out against such criminal activities, then it is obviously you who is in the wrong for speaking out, not the listener who makes the racist assumption that you are obviously speaking about black people.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

A bit too clear-sky thinking for some but maybe he could have chosen to shoot the accompanying video in one of the hundreds of small towns without a recognised history of lynching and white supremacist violence ?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Paustovsky Today 11:06 am JST

maybe he could have chosen to shoot the accompanying video in one of the hundreds of small towns without a recognised history of lynching and white supremacist violence

Aldean actually discusses this point in the video I cited:

Aldean: For anybody that thinks that we picked that building, specifically, for that reason, because, you know, there was a lynching there, whatever.

Q: Did you know that?

Aldean: No, but I also don't go back a hundred years and check on the history of a place before we go shoot it either. It's also the, it's also the place that I go get my car tags every year. It's my county that I live in.

Q: Would you do it in that courthouse again knowing what you know now? Knowing what I know now, probably not. But it's also, you know, I don't think, again, I'm not going to go back a hundred years and check on the history of this building, I mean, because, honestly, if you're in the South, you could probably go to any small-town courthouse, you're going to be hard-pressed to find one that hasn't had some sort of, you know, racial issue over the years at some point. I mean that's just a fact.

https://youtu.be/hCCCzIjbtx4

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Edit:

Q: Would you do it in that courthouse again knowing what you know now?

Aldean: Knowing what I know now, probably not. But it's also, you know, I don't think, again, I'm not going to go back a hundred years and check on the history of this building, I mean, because, honestly, if you're in the South, you could probably go to any small-town courthouse, you're going to be hard-pressed to find one that hasn't had some sort of, you know, racial issue over the years at some point. I mean that's just a fact.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Could be worse.

Yeah, it could be North Korea too but, as you know, that's the intellectual poverty of comparing to existing situations, instead of some ideal: you can always find something worse to justify your favoured situation, which leads to a race to the bottom.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

YeahRightToday 10:32 am JST

Kind of interesting that the author speaks of "white Southern lawmakers" without calling out the Democratic Party, which was the majority at that time, including Arkansas Gov Charles H Brough.

The 1960s called and they want their talking point back. Those areas are Republican now and they continue the Jim Crow legacy.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

TaiwanIsNotChina Today 11:44 am JST

Those areas are Republican now and they continue the Jim Crow legacy.

Although you may a priori disagree with the group that produced it, I wonder how you would respond to the case laid out in following video:

Why Did the Democratic South Become Republican?

https://youtu.be/8vGbdM-gFvo

From conclusion of the video:

In short, history has moved on. Like other regions of the country, the South votes values, not skin color.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

jeffyToday 01:16 pm JST

In short, history has moved on. Like other regions of the country, the South votes values, not skin color.

Christian nationalist values are atrocious. Don't know how many Southerners can break from that.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Those areas are Republican now and they continue the Jim Crow legacy" is a silly statement. It was democrats like Al "No Negroes" Gore Sr. that kept the south from advancing for so many years. YeahRight was correct.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

dagonToday  07:54 am JST

Aldean’s song paints a picture of a renewed culture war between urban and rural versions of America.

Contrast this simpleton's lyrics and the other country music MAGA mascots to the greats like Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Woodie Guthrie who speak to the injustice faced by the working man and woman and resonate still today.

And John Mellencamp has written plenty about these things too. Aldean is a BS-stirrer living in a fantasy land.

The mega-church evangelicals, Fox News propaganda and corporate propaganda have poisoned and ossified small town America.

Ability to buy assault weapons without checking, hate groups and militia crud, incestuous chastity balls in fundamental churches, father-daughter dances in elementary school gyms, 'take mommy to the prommy', exploitative Jon Bon Ramseyish local 'beauty pageants' featuring girls not old enough to know why they're on display wearing cheapo party supplies from the local Marx store (a brand name).

And hatred and violence against 'strangers' and 'Communists' such as Jews, Muslims, 'pinkos', gays, 'liberals', people other races and colors, and other 'undesirables'. Yeah yeah yeah, good ol' fashioned small town American values, uh-huh.

Out in the sticks there are so many ugly things and going-ons that nobody sees. Nobody can hear you scream. There's an ugly epithet for such places (and their attitudes) that I won't write here, it would be a degrading insult to Egyptians.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

V CampbellToday 02:23 pm JST

"Those areas are Republican now and they continue the Jim Crow legacy" is a silly statement. It was democrats like Al "No Negroes" Gore Sr. that kept the south from advancing for so many years. YeahRight was correct.

So a senator who was defeated by a Republican in 1970 and has been held by a Republican for the last 20 years. Thanks for proving my point.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

TaiwanIsNotChina, I’m not sure if you actually watched the video. You originally stated,

TaiwanIsNotChina Today 11:44 am JST

Those areas are Republican now and they continue the Jim Crow legacy.

This assumes that the South’s change from Democrat to Republication was out of a desire to continue racism, something which you appear to maintain is alive and well. However, the video in question, and the citation given in particular, maintains that the change in the South from Democrat to Republican has to due with “values,” not race. You apparently concede this point since you do not address it in your response, but instead move on to assail the values mentioned in the citation:

TaiwanIsNotChina Today 02:02 pm JST

Christian nationalist values are atrocious. Don't know how many Southerners can break from that.

However, had you watched the video, you would have heard this statement from Carol Swain, an African-American conservative:

Why does the South overwhelmingly vote Republication? Because the South itself has changed. Its values have changed. The racism that once defined it doesn’t anymore. Its values today are Conservative ones: pro-life, pro-gun and pro-small government.

This statement reinforces the point that the popularity of the Republication party in the South is not due to race. Your description of Southern values as “atrocious” presumably extends to these three values. You are of course entitled to your opinion, but many in the South will continue to value the lives of unborn children, value the right to own a firearm and value greater freedom from government interference. I know I personally wouldn’t go so far as to call these views “atrocious.”

As for the label “Christian nationalist,” I personally find it to be an oxymoron given Jesus’ statement in the New Testament in John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world.” But I’ll leave the debates about the meaning of this to Christians. I for one do not think one needs to be a Christian to value life, safety, or freedom. There are conservatives of many ethnic backgrounds and many religious traditions who value these things.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Contrast this simpleton's lyrics and the other country music MAGA mascots to the greats like Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Woodie Guthrie who speak to the injustice faced by the working man and woman and resonate still today. 

True.

The mega-church evangelicals, Fox News propaganda and corporate propaganda have poisoned and ossified small town America. 

No, they did not, in fact, thanks to them they have opened our eyes we would not know how bad the MSM has been and what a danger they pose to free speech and the first amendment.

And neo-liberal corporatocracy for decades gave it that opening.

Not quite.

And hatred and violence against 'strangers' and 'Communists' such as Jews, Muslims, 'pinkos', gays, 'liberals', people other races and colors, and other 'undesirables'. Yeah yeah yeah, good ol' fashioned small town American values, uh-huh.

Sorry, I am from a small town and we had nothing like that, no one that I knew was even close to being like that and the town that I have my home in is also in a small town, no one is anything you rambled on about, but people are extremely pro-American all the way, conservatives are not a monolithic group just like not all liberals are racists, anti-white, atheists, hippies, radicals, globalists, climate obsessed, vegan lovers, there are quite a few decent liberals out there.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I lived in the south for half of my military enlistment. I saw things down there that scared me. I'm a little wary of people who say they vote values and not race. Part of their values, not everyone mind you, is based on race. It has been since the first slave set foot on US soil.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

bass4funkDec. 1 09:02 pm JST

not all liberals are racists, anti-white, atheists, hippies, radicals, globalists, climate obsessed, vegan lovers, there are quite a few decent liberals out there.

Notice how none of the things you call liberals are bad things, except maybe anti-white racists, which doesn't really exist.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Notice how none of the things you call liberals are bad things,

If there were nothing to fear, people wouldn't be running as fast as they can from California and NYC

except maybe anti-white racists, which doesn't really exist.

Yes, they do, as if minorities can't be racist. Lol

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A nice one-sided opinion piece about the Democrats long term support of racism in the US.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Small-town USA is a figment of someone’s imagination.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most of the people leaving California and New York are republican voters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Most of the people leaving California and New York are republican voters.

It’s a little of everything, but the middle class make up the largest groups to leave those states

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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