United We Stand. Divided we fall. This famous line can be attributed to both John Dickenson and Patrick Henry from the late 1700's during the formation of our country, according to Wikipedia. All Americans of our modern age should be able to remember this phrase's prevalence directly following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Obviously, the phrases wisdom is important for everyone to think about.
Apply this motto to the Urban / Rural divide and this week's look at the major differences in life urban and life rural. I'll cut right to the chase since it's Friday. The main difference here is source versus resource. A large portion of items and work performed in rural communities creates the source product upon which our entire economy is built. When I hear statements such as "Why does America need agriculture, we can just import everything" from a politically involved Washington DC friend of mine, I get very worried. Just think about agriculture as a whole. Mining, forestry and energy extraction all take place in mostly rural areas by rural citizens. Our American economy ceases without a source such as these. We simply cannot live an urban life without these rural exports. This is where the divide begins.
I don't believe that most intelligent people have forgotten how simple everyday products are made, but they have lost touch with where they come from. Possibly its difficult to connect the difference because the great majority of urban careers merely refine resources for further use. Rural source products help provide the base resource for just about anything that takes place in an urban setting. Most likely, the main difference between the two sets of population lies in the fact that most people live out their city life and completely forget about natural resources as the basis for just about everything. Agricultural food production is obviously the easiest connection for metropolitan citizens to make. Consumers eat, farmers farm. But, what about mining, forestry and energy extraction. Does it cross anybody's mind that their shower is heated by natural gas drilling done in a rural setting or that their toothpaste is made from unwanted animal by-products?
I raise these questions for one reason: rural and agricultural advocacy. If you're an urban dweller I appreciate that, so am I (for the time being). Therefore, please remember that somewhere rural folks are enabling you to live your life in comfort and they deserve to be fairly compensated for their efforts. The reason you may not realize this is simply a lack of a unified voice. Farmers, ranchers, energy extractors, miners and foresters all have individual interests they use to provide a voice for rural America. However, if they all ceased to produce and enable the urban life, would you stand or fall?