Friday, December 4, 2009

Score One Great Plains!

Check out this incredibly interesting map and ponder why is America's midsection bleeding red?

The simple answer would be because it's so darn prosperous and beautifully contrary to popular belief about much of the Great Plains. According to a new STUDY released Andrew Isserman, an economist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, America's rural midsection is doing astoundingly well . Obviously, there are some glaring low points to be addressed around the nation. However, as a person with particular interest in the Great Plains and after reading much about the demise of the area and hearing word of these sentiments in books such as "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "Hollowing Out The Middle", it is refreshing to see some uplifting and positive data about my beloved great lawn of the nation.

The article points out that the statistical data were analyzed using somewhat different dimensions and ideas to define prosperity.  With close ties to the Great Plains, I can see how this would be beneficial.  Rural folks out on the plains still consider themselves to be America's Heartland and take a great deal of pride in knowing exactly what that means.  In particular, many of these people disdain measuring success purely by monetary gain and reject much of the popular sentiment being conveyed from the urban bookmarks of our nation.  Yep, out there, they still have some some strong core values, family ties and an unmatched work ethic.

Working to redefine success in one's own mind is a monumental task, especially while residing within the urban ethos. I am proud to see some researchers that realize the monumental differences between the urban rural ethic that so divides both populations socio-economically as well morally.  The intrinsic value of rural lifestyle cannot be measured, but is at least noted on a minimal basis with this survey.  According to this subset, the Great Plains in the above diagram easily depict their namesake as the blood red heart of our nation.

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