Sunday, February 26, 2017

Some Major Differences in Environment Probably Account for Different Political Outlooks

This was a very interesting and eye-opening article!

Here, the author, Loey Nunning, explains some of the things that are often overlooked, but might account for the generally differing political viewpoints of people who live in rural communities, versus those who live in urban communities.

The experiences of people living in city or urban dwellings, as opposed to people who live and work in the countryside, are entirely different. As the author points out, going out for a drive in the countryside is a pleasant activity, while doing that in an urban area can often mean a significant hassle. Trust me, I know this particular point very well. The last three years, my son and I have taken vacations that required some considerable driving. Driving in these mostly rural areas, and listening to music that we both love, essentially helped to make these trips great! That was particularly true when the drives were long and when we were on mostly empty roads, doing the speed that we wanted, and usually without anyone around to bother us.

However, living in suburban northern New Jersey, the driving experience is considerably different here. There is always the chance that you might get stuck in some serious traffic. I have been stuck in traffic in this state literally at all hours, from the predictable normal rush hour with heavy commute, to the daytime hours in between. But also, I have gotten stuck in heavy traffic jams later in the evening and during the wee hours of the night/early morning.

And yes, this detracts significantly from the pleasure of driving, trust me. I live near a major artery that almost always seems to have heavy traffic, and a simple trip to the local market, which is maybe a couple of miles away as the bird flies, will wind up taking the better part of half an hour, taking traffic and traffic lights and all into consideration. Speaking of traffic lights, I would be surprised, even very surprised, if New Jersey was not the worst state for traffic lights. Trust me, I know some stupid traffic lights, and that is especially true in Rahway, the town that I work in. Never seen as many ridiculous traffic lights as I have since starting to work in this town beginning in January of 2011.

So, my perception of driving varies wildly, depending on the situation and especially where I am. When driving in Arizona the last couple of years, it was a real pleasure! We were listening to good music, enjoying the exquisite Arizona scenery, and all of it (or almost all of it) while dealing with minimal stress from traffic conditions. The same could be said for the time spent driving through other states, including California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

The exceptions? When we were near cities, in heavily populated urban areas. We hit traffic jams in San Francisco, Phoenix, Tuscon, and Las Vegas. At those points, the driving suddenly was not much fun anymore.

So it is with a lot of differences between rural areas and urban areas. The cost of everything is significantly more expensive in urban areas. Parking for less than four hours in San Francisco cost $40, and everything there cost an arm and a leg. Being from the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, I am quite familiar with these kinds of outrageous prices. Nothing new to me. That is one of the major stresses of living in an urban area, is how expensive everything is. Before you know it, you get the impression that everyone is out to take your money, whether it is through nickel and diming you with fees and/or services provided, or perhaps just some gigantic scam. The more people you meet (and you meet a lot of people in urban areas), the better the chances that you meet some shady people who are clearly trying to scam you out of some money.

In short, living in an urbanized area is stressful and annoying on many levels. Yes, there are advantages to it, as well. Proximity to everything, including highways, businesses, schools, events, and so on. There are any number of things that you can do within a fairly short drive, and that is indeed quite convenient. But most likely, it will cost money, and you always could run into traffic, to boot.

Yes, many of the things that we have here are advantageous, and as the author rightly points out, that includes government services, of which there are many. Most everyone that I know has been to college, at least to some extent, even if they did not wind up graduating. Out of those people, a good percentage, probably a decent majority, needed some form of loans and government assistance to pay for it. There are plenty of people around here who have government jobs, and there are plenty of signs of government being a part of your life here, from government officials (including schools), to postal services to street cleaners and snowplows during the winter months.

Plus, we see things here in urban areas, such as homelessness, and such as immigrants - both legal and illegal. In cities, you see slums, and you see violence. Indeed, here in more urbanized areas, many, if not most people, are suspicious of guns, because that usually means something really bad is about to happen.

By way of comparison, the experience of rural folk would understandably be quite a bit different than all of that, and one can understand how they might view the city as untrustworthy, as suspicious.

Indeed, this describes the experiences and/or needs of people who live in both quite accurately.

This is the kind of journalism that we need, the kind that bridges gaps between us and allows us to peak on the other side to see what they see, and understand how they feel the way that they do, as opposed to simply demonizing the other side.

Here is the link to the article, which I highly recommend:

6 Big Differences That Turn City Dwellers Into Liberals By  Loey Nunning Loey Nunning · February 18, 2017

No comments:

Post a Comment