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…..