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What Failures and Achievements Will Define America's Future?

What Failures and Achievements Will Define America's Future?


By Saturday, 04 July 2020 03:09 PM Current | Bio | Archive

A demographic business and residential shift away from many large metropolitan centers caused by a coronavirus-accelerated telework trend and growing crime and social disorder concerns is certain to reshape America's political landscape.

As discussed in my 2018 pre-COVID-19 book "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity," this escalating economic and cultural population exodus to surrounding or distant suburban and rural areas will inevitably extend and deepen preexisting regional ideological divides.

A 2017 Washington Post Family Foundation opinion poll revealed substantial lifestyle priority and political differences between Americans living in rural settings versus metropolitan centers. A key finding was that this conservative versus liberal divide is more cultural than economic in nature.

These convictions were held most strongly in rural communities.

The survey of nearly 1,700 Americans — including more than 1,000 adults living in rural areas and small town — found a stark sense of estrangement from people who live in urban areas. Nearly 7 in 10 said their values were "very different."

Rural Americans were also broadly skeptical about benefits and influences of big government in their communities and lives. More than 60% said that federal efforts to improve living standards either make things worse — or have little impact.

The survey responses, along with follow-up interviews and focus groups the pollsters conducted in rural Ohio, brought into view a portrait of a split that is tied more to social identity than to economic experience.

A vast majority of rural Americans judged their communities favorably as places where people look out for each other, which was cited as a point of pride and distinction they say they can't find in city centers.

At the risk of overly-broad generalization, it's popularly accepted that cities, suburbs and rural communities all offer different living experiences which various people prefer.

Large metropolitan center dwellers typically prioritize ready access to diverse business, entertainment and museum/theater culture higher than those who opt for rural living.

Whereas many young and older people everywhere will be content with life in small studio apartments with a roommate or as single-person lifestyles, families more typically prefer a home with a reasonable amount of outdoor space for kids and pets.

Smaller cities and suburban locales typically offer much cheaper rental prices, property costs and real estate taxes. Both are regarded as good and safe places to raise children surrounded by other families with shared community priorities.

Prized attractions include close access to neighborhood businesses, convenience shopping and community services, and high-standard schools.

Rural lifestyles are in many ways opposite of urban.

There's still a lot to do, but at a slower, more relaxed pace with a less distracted and simpler lifestyle. As with suburban living, a less transient "small town" environment promotes closer long-term ties to friends and neighbors, active interest and engagement in community affairs, and activities structured and centered upon children and extended families.

Rural living also expands yard space, affords more privacy, and extends more immediate access to the natural landscape, family and individual outdoor recreational activities.

Assuming that these broad generalizations are more true than flawed, including those with distinctly competing cultural and political roots and overtones, the larger and far more important characteristics that define our national character are embodied in the fundamentals that unite us.

As Americans we share a common history, common cultural and family values, common economic needs and self-fulfillment aspirations, and a common future. We celebrate our independence to speak and live freely, and we revere the enrichment and empowerment afforded by non-prejudicial diversity expressed and exercised through lifestyle preferences.

Our great nation is presently experiencing a disturbingly dangerous period of economic and social upheaval threatening to shroud and discredit our awareness of lessons-learned from that shared history, and to replace our cherished inherited constitutional independent freedoms with government-conscripted conformity.

John Steinbeck painted a grim picture of accelerating outcomes of this disruptive and destructive trend in his 1960 book "Travels with Charley: In Search of America."

Steinbeck wrote, "When a city begins to grow and spread outward from its edges, the center which was once its glory ... goes into a period of desolation inhabited at night by the vague ruins of men. The lotus eaters who struggle daily toward unconsciousness by the way of raw alcohol. Nearly every city I know has such a dying mother of violence and despair where at night the brightness of the street lamps is sucked away and policemen walk in pairs."

More optimistically, he adds, "And then one day perhaps the city returns and rips out the sore and builds a monument to its past."

The challenge at hand is for human society to now determine what cultural and economic monuments to achievements and failures will ultimately represent America's future.

Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. Larry has written more than 600 articles for Newsmax and Forbes and is the author of several books. Included are: "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructure and Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.

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The challenge at hand is for human society to now determine what cultural and economic monuments to achievements and failures will ultimately represent America’s future.
town, transient, suburban, urban
Saturday, 04 July 2020 03:09 PM
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