Politics Urban Archipelago… How Quaint.
posted by October 25 at 9:15 AMon
I’m in Montana, working on a story for next week’s Stranger. It’s a story about the upcoming Congressional elections and it’s taken me east, into those bad, bad rural lands that the editors of this paper lashed out against after John Kerry’s defeat in 2004.
I’ve passed through places like Moses Lake, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and Butte. You know, places where people like guns and fiscal conservatism and… Democrats?
Here in red Montana, as even the conservative Weekly Standard has noticed, a new generation of rural Democrats seems ascendant. (In fact, in this state the close race between Democratic farmer Jon Tester and Republican Senator Conrad Burns could well determine whether Democrats control the Senate after November 7th.)
It’s a phenomenon not limited to Montana. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, rural Democratic Congressional candidates are gaining against Republicans in eastern Washington and Idaho — Idaho! — in a development that is freaking out Republican leaders.
All of which makes The Stranger’s extremely popular Urban Archipelago manifesto from 2004 seem… well… I know others have had harsher words for it, but since I work with a lot of the people who wrote it I’ll stick with quaint.
More on this topic in next week’s issue, but for now, a few selections from “The Urban Archipelago” that you certainly won’t hear seconded on the campaign trail by Tester — a pro-gun-rights organic farmer from Big Sandy (pop. 710) who doesn’t like the way the war in Iraq is going, doesn’t want the government interfering in a woman’s choices about her health, does’t bash stem cell research, and currently leads his Republican opponent (just barely) in the polls.
For Democrats, it’s the cities, stupid—not the rural areas, not the prickly, hateful “heartland,” but the sane, sensible cities—including the cities trapped in the heartland. Pandering to rural voters is a waste of time.
To red-state voters, to the rural voters, residents of small, dying towns, and soulless sprawling exburbs, we say this: Fuck off. Your issues are no longer our issues.
Wal-Mart is not an urban issue. Neither is gun control. Our new position: We’ll fight to keep guns off the streets of our cities, but the more guns lying around out there in the heartland, the better… If a kid in a red state finds his daddy’s handgun and blows his head off, we’ll feel terrible (we’re like that), but we’ll try to look on the bright side: At least he won’t grow up to vote like his dad…
We officially no longer give a shit when family farms fail. Fewer family farms equal fewer rural voters. We will, however, continue to support small faggy organic farms, as we are willing to pay more for free-range chicken and beef from non-cannibal cows.
We won’t concern ourselves if red states restrict choice. We’ll just make sure that abortion remains safe and legal in the cities where we live, and the states we control, and when your daughter or sister or mother dies in a botched abortion, we’ll try not to feel too awful about it.
In short, we’re through with you people.