This is yet another post in my “Then N’ Now” series. It is about how I saw the world in the 1940s to the 1960s and how I see it now.Read more
Besides soybeans and corn, there is very little growth in rural areas these days. They just don’t get their share of prosperity as the metro areas do. I think that is one of the many factors causing distress in America today. Many of the people in rural areas feel like they are paying their taxes but being ignored.
I know I have complained frequently here on my corner about slow Internet speeds in our rural area. My Internet connection hovers between 1 and 2 Mbps while the city 50 miles north has typical speeds of 50 Mbp or more, and with 5G it will soon go to 1,000 Mpbs! It is absolutely possible for AT&T to give us folks in rural areas the speed of our city neighbors but they choose not to do that. There is more profit in the lower hanging fruit in the cities. This is much like the rural electrification of about a hundred years ago, so it is nothing new. As a matter of fact, we still get our electricity for our REMC and it looks like they are the ones who will eventually give us less than pitiful Internet connections. We rural folks’ needs are being ignored!
You have to look at demographics to see this problem you find that the 53 largest metro areas in the country account for 72% of the employment growth. Jobs are simply not going to rural area nor will they likely ever again. When 63% of the population lives in just 3.5% of the area geographical disparity is bound to happen. How do we solve this anguish in rural America? A solution to This problem will go a long way to bridging the red/blue gap.
Small towns continue to erode and most will not likely exist in another twenty years. If they are not within a commutable distance to a metro area where the jobs are they very likely won’t survive much longer. That is just a hardened fact. One of my lifelong hobbies has been traveling in search of America’s roots. During these trips, I have always tried to primarily use State and local highways. That means going through many small towns. I have been through hundreds if not thousands of them and that very fact is causing me to re-think my route options. It is depressing to see a once prosperous small town now nothing more than an empty shell of abandoned buildings and a couple of occupied homes. In the last few trips I have taken, I went interstate highways for a good part of the trip. I think that may be the norm for this year’s trips.
A hundred years ago about 40% of the population worked on farms, now it is less than 2%. That is rightly called progress but it does have its consequences…
I want to let you in on a couple of secrets I have. Since they closed down all but one of the polling stations in my town I will be voting early now. The last time I voted on election day I had to stand in line with a hundred or so avid Trump voters. That was agonizing! When I voted yesterday at the courthouse there was just one other person in front of me. So, one of my secrets is that as long as I am here in Trump country Indiana I will continue to vote early.
The other secret is that in the primaries I usually declare myself a Republican! Now hear me out before your blood pressure explodes. 🙂 No, I haven’t gone to the dark side. I do that so I have two chances to vote out the radical rights that inevitably run for offices now. We presently have a county commissioner up for re-election who thinks he is Donald Trump’s brother, or at least he acts like it. I did some research and voted for his primary opponent. If that doesn’t work out I will vote against him again in the November elections (early of course). This strategy probably won’t do any good but at least it will make me feel better.
I kinda feel like I am lost behind enemy lines where I live. Republicans dominate everything here from local offices through the national ones. My voice seems more a shout in the wilderness than anything else. But, I will keep shouting…
I have several interesting posts to do on my just completed micro-RV trip into southern Illinois. As usual I managed to avoid interstate highways for all but four miles of the 700+ adventure. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Illinois know that the vast majority of the state’s population resides in the extreme northeast around Chicago. I can hereby attest that there are almost no people in the southern half of the state! OK, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit but only a little.
I must have gone through 100 small towns during my two day visit. Almost none of them had over two or three hundred people. There was most often only one business left open in each town and that was a post office. It was most often surrounded by abandoned buildings! I can just imagine in my mind’s eye the post master in that building with cobwebs around him while sleeping on the job. Which brings me to the main topic of this particular post.
The post office is having a terrible time trying to exist given the rules and regulations legislated at the national level. This fact is one of the glaring examples of how federal intrusion can skew normal business practices. Why in the world does a post office need to remain open in a town where there isn’t even a grocery store? If the residents can’t, or maybe won’t support a place to buy groceries why does there have to be a local post office?
If it is necessary to go to another town to buy a can of beans why not postage stamps too? We should make some kind of rule to that effect even if it is only “when the last store closes in the town the post office also closes. Now I’m not talking about ceasing mail delivery, that can be done from another location. Closing seldom used post offices would probably save billions of bucks for USPS. If they were allowed to use normal business practices such as UPS uses I’m sure they would not be in the trouble they are. To carry this one more logical step make it a rule that the nearest local post office is in the county seat. That’s where most of the businesses and I’m sure WalMarts are now.
I think the real reason for all these unnecessary buildings and employees to occupy them is mostly political. Your local congressman is just too afraid that some might vote him out of office if he dared to eliminate their post office. It’s mostly political….
Give them a break!! They have a hard enough time justifying themselves here in the 21st century as it is. About 95% of what I now get in my mailbox is junk mail. Everything else come to me over the Internet. Let’s shut down post offices in low density areas and use the money to improve Internet services in those same areas. Lord knows that most of us in rural areas could use some decent Internet speeds. Everyone would be better off with that approach…
This is a needed “lighten up” day so I thought I would give you some more facade pics of my recent uRV trip to New Harmony Indiana. When so many small towns are piling on the dust bins of history it is nice to see that some are almost flourishing.
(as usual click on any image below to see a larger slideshow version)
You don’t know America if you have never eaten at a small town cafe. This one in Ennis Montana like so many others is proud of its heritage. We had breakfast there, a big place of sausage gravy and biscuits so didn’t have a change to try their strawberry pie… The biscuits were kind of hard but the gravy was very good.
Small towns like Orleans in Orange County Indiana were once thriving towns. I can imagine that the domed top of this building was the major attraction in the area. Like most building of this era some of the windows have been bricked over and are no longer occupied.