Edwards and Friends

I had hoped to have an opportunity to listen to what John Edwards had to say about rural America. I have lived in rural areas for the past 15 years, and what I see troubles me. The County I live in now used to derive a good portion of it’s revenue from distilling whiskey. I believe that is why the railroad comes through. After that, tobacco was the number one cash crop. Small farms are disappearing rapidly. In the closest nearby town, there are a handful of manufacturing plants, those that have not moved their operation overseas or closed altogether. Starting wages in those plants is around $8.50 an hour. Yet, everywhere I look I see kids. Our schools are bursting at the seams. Developers are so entrenched in local politics, they have consistently been allowed to build with no regard to whether or not our infrastructure can handle the increased population. In just three years, I have witnessed a huge increase on our roads, many of them designed to accommodate horses and tractors, not 18 wheel trucks. Most of the people moving in commute somewhere else to work.

So, I wonder whats in store for all these children. If they want to remain in the area, and raise their families here, they will most likely be forced to commute into the Nashville area.  Long commutes make for long days, and then there are children to devote time and attention to, and for many, elderly parents to check on regularly.

So, yes, I was hoping to hear something about rural America yesterday, though I completely understand why John Edwards couldn’t make a stump speech on a day of national tragedy.  I enjoyed the music, and while I don’t pray publicly, I think many in attendance were grateful for the opportunity to do so and the buzz in the room was as positive as it could have been under the circumstances.

I am hopeful that our upcoming election process filters out the inevitable distractions, and we get to hear ideas and plans from each of the candidates.  I’m really not interested in how they wear their hair, or even how much they spend to get it coiffed.   I do not intend to participate in any discussion that I feel is subversive to that process.  I hope my friends remind me if I go astray…..

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

10 responses to “Edwards and Friends

  1. Developers are so entrenched in local politics, they have consistently been allowed to build with no regard to whether or not our infrastructure can handle the increased population.

    This is a bad problem in La Vergne, too. It’s amazing what they will allow developers to get away with.

  2. Mack;
    As a Jefferson Countian, property-rights advocate, and strong believer in agriculture and the family farm, you and I find something on which we agree wholeheartedly: Mistrust of developers.

    The developers are ruining our agricultural economy, inflating the price of land (they say it is increasing the value…a good few crops increases land value as much as developers can), and making it very difficult for rural counties like mine to handle the resulting financial strain of wealthier “outsiders” coming in here and expecting things to be as they were when they lived in an urban area or suburbia.

    I am not against positive development that can bring jobs and help the existing rural infrastructure. I am against “development” that destroys rural infrastructure as well as rural life.

    It is one of my many problems with the Governor’s tobacco policy, but that is another comment for another time.

  3. Yep, David, this is common ground. I’m not sure what good policy is for areas like my county. I worry about median home prices that will be beyond the reach of young working families. That means generations grow further apart geographically, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, that should be a choice. It’s this kind of shared perspective that could be a starting point for real policy discussion, instead of the constant sniping at each other (our teams, not us) from across the internet. I appreciate you stopping by to offer your thoughts.

  4. nm

    Where I used to live (Hoboken and NYC), the developers controlled close to everything. One way we fought back was with municipal legislation that required them to set aside space within the new construction for parking (a huge consideration with overdevelopment of urban areas) and that restricted the cities’ ability to give incentive breaks on the portion of the property taxes going to fund schools. You’ve got to start to fight back somewhere, and that’s generally a good place. (Or, if necessary, requiring developers to back and/or purchase bonds issued for building new schools.)

  5. Ivy, I agree…La Vergne has had a major population growth in the past 5 years, but they still have the mentality of when there were only 10,000 residents. There is still the “good ‘ol boy” system working there.

  6. I’ve never lived in rural communities that weren’t already mostly dead, so I wondered about his definition of rural. Rural in the South is a lot more densely populated than rural in the Midwest or West. It seems like all three would have vastly different needs.

  7. “After that, tobacco was the number one cash crop. Small farms are disappearing rapidly.”

    Once again, Mary Jane saves the day! From what I hear, the use of tobaccie is on the decline, so replace ‘baccie with somethin’ else–like pot!

  8. From your, er, mouth, to God’s ears.

  9. Pingback: Nashville is Talking » Hoping It Was Ruraler

  10. Once again, Mary Jane saves the day! From what I hear, the use of tobaccie is on the decline, so replace ‘baccie with somethin’ else–like pot!

    Man, that stuff is very bad for your…ah, shit. I forgot. Anyway. Gotta protect us from ourselves, yanno.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s