“People up there in Washington, doesn’t matter what party it is, those people don’t know a thing about what’s going on down here in Gulfdale. They don’t want to listen to us. They don’t care!” (p. 97)
“Those people up there in Washington, they think they know more than we do. They treat us like second-class citizens, like we’re dumb hicks, like we don’t know what’s going on.” (pp. 97-98)
“They’re just not listening to us out here.” (pp. 98-99)
“Don't forget us... Maybe our population isn’t as big as cities, but we represent something cities never will.” (p. 99)
“Don’t assume I’m stupid and don’t know anything just because I’m a farmer!” (p. 103)
“[Washington's] a money-hungry, dog-eat-dog place. Lobbyists are ruining it and it’s just gone to pot. We just need somebody with a little gumption. Somebody to go up there and do what a common man knows to do. That’s all we need!” (p. 107)
Returning to the topic at hand, although most evangelicals do not live in rural America, a higher percentage of rural Americans identify as evangelical. As the graph below indicates, evangelicals constitute 44.1% of rural Americans. Thus, the sense that small town values are disappearing and under attack will probably have greater impact on evangelicals than on individuals from other faith traditions (or no faith tradition -- it is interesting that the next largest group of rural Americans is the unaffiliated).
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J.D. Vance's memoir of growing up in Appalachia, captures the despair felt by many in rural America, although one shouldn't generalize from his experiences to all of rural America or even Appalachia (see e.g., "Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy"). Netflix just released a movie (directed by Ron Howard, starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams) based on Vance's book.
- Arlie Hochschild's, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, explores what she calls the "deep story" of the Louisiana Tea Party supporters she got to know after spending five years (2011-2016) interviewing and living among them. I wrote a brief post about the book a couple of years ago ("Strangers in Their Own Land").
- Robert Wuthnow's, The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America, is an excellent analysis of factors underlying the divide. While Vance's book focuses on Appalachia and Hochschild's on Louisiana, Wuthnow's fieldwork (with help from his students) took him all over the United States and as such is probably more representative of rural Americans as a whole.