Tuesday, October 13, 2015

You Can Always tell a City Kid,

The conservation movement has been so successful that city kids are no starting to experience problems that rural problems are starting to creep into the city.

In September, two dogs were killed by coyotes in western Wauwatosa. The first dog was killed by a coyote during the early morning hours while the dog and its owner were jogging. The dog had just been taken off its leash, according to police. The second attack also occurred in the morning, after a woman let her dog out of the house. There have been other suspected attacks.

Old Story, Still Relevant
Rest assured, there is going to be a meeting.  I suspect joggers will be told that not to let their dogs off lead in the woods and everyone will be told that coyotes eat dogs.  Welcome to earth: third rock from the sun.

As a rural kid whose lived with city kids much of his life, the rural/urban divide has been a chronic cultural hassle.

Homo Sapiens are great at discounting what we do not understand.  Rural kids can not escape some knowledge of the culture of the city.  City kids write our television programming, our movies, and most of our teachers and other leaders spent at least four years in a city.  Even when it is misunderstood, misapplied, and misconstrued, we have some knowledge of the urban experience.  We can't escape it.

The city kids understanding of the rural kid culture comes from shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and  our political concerns are usually understood through the lens of Daily Show Snark.  While the rural kid has some basis to understand the city kid point of view, even when we don't agree with it, the city kid lacks the resources to think rural kid concerns as anything short of irrational.

You can always tell a city kid, but you can't tell him much.

We're treated as foreigners and subjects to be approached with xenophobia rather than as fellow citizens in a heterogeneous culture.  Our President will say we're nothing but Bible and gun clingers.  We're objects of ridicule and if you live or work in the city you quickly learn to conform, shut up, or at the very least pick your battles.

As the story above suggests, however, rural kids have an important voice that should be heard.  We've been dealing with coyotes killing our dogs since the beginning.  We understand why Africans need to be given a reason to preserve the lion population.  In the Anthropocene hunting is an important part of conservation.

If we are to find a way forward together, if we are to overcome political deadlock, if we are to find effective solutions to real problems that account for regional differences in subjective culture as well as objective circumstances, then the abuse of the rural voice must stop.  City kids need to put at least as much effort in understanding and accommodating the country kid as they do the Islamic kid, the Latina kid, the homosexual kid.

That means you don't get everything you want.  Welcome to life in a republic.  Welcome to life in a diverse nation.  Homo Sapiens are by nature tribal.  I refuse to pretend any different.  The Anthropocene began, however, when tribes bound themselves together into nations.  A nation, however, we make account for a diversity of tribes to receive just treatment either by forcing subjugation to the most powerful of the tribes or inclusion.

The answer to "convert or die" is come sit among us as equals.  Right now the city kid's position is closer to "convert or die."  Welcome to the Anthropocene.

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