By Elliot Snow--
Elliott is the tour's superstar intern, along for the ride from coast to coast and back again, dealing with logistics, navigating our RV, and much more. In his regular life, he's a student at Boston University.
I have spent my entire life in cities, literally. I was born in the heart of Manhattan and grew up in a small house just outside of downtown Los Angeles. When it came time for me to pick a college, I chose a school whose campus was defined by the city. Beyond a passing conversation about depletion of wealth or wondering how politics have become so divided based on population density, rural communities did not often cross my mind.
There has been a lot of talk on this tour about the isolation rural communities experience, but in many ways it’s a two-way street. I have known very little about the lives of people in rural communities – to me the concept of a small government was inconceivable. Yet being in Hatteras, North Carolina, and hearing people cite legislation and environmental policy by the bill number, I now understand that policies that are simply theory to city folk are often reality to people in rural communities. On the flip side, there are people in cities who could not live without government aid, but I think that concept is inconceivable to people from communities like Hatteras who “take care of each other” when one member of the community falls into hard times.
One thing is clear, the only people who win from the disconnect between rural and city people is the people on top. There has been talk in the Democratic party about abandoning the rural. Yet if the country hopes to see progress, isn’t it time we create a movement focused around individuals? Abandon corporate interest and focus in on building a system that lifts up the people? Every stop on this tour has made it apparent that we win the numbers game -- it’s just a matter of organizing and rising up.