Readers write: Rural America

Letters to the editor for the March 30, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss solutions for the challenges faced by rural America.

Staff

Rural America

The story of a rural Oregon family – told in the Feb. 10 Monitor Weekly’s book review “Working-class Americans on a tightrope” – isn’t typical, but it is symptomatic. A century of industrialization has left cities and the countryside in shambles, both socially and environmentally. 

How about a century of revitalization to undo the destruction? The goal: a permanent city-country partnership in taking care of home. The program would emphasize local knowledge, design, and management, as well as local work. Urban and rural places would contribute all the money and work they can, with state and federal funds to give the program strength. An early focus would be helping rural people to truly understand the countryside they live in. 

And not only have rural youth gone to the cities, city minds now run country places. A century of revitalization would offer meaning as well as money. Folks would feel that their home landscapes are worth caring for and belonging in.

Bob Weeden
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Audio edition

Thank you for the recording of Monitor Editor Mark Sappenfield’s insightful interview with Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn – the authors of “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope” – which appeared in the Feb. 3 Monitor Daily.

I particularly appreciated that Mr. Sappenfield noted the progress these dedicated authors share in the book while also pointing out a gross injustice in how we have dealt with victims of drug use in this country. The Monitor is so good at seeking a positive angle, even in serious challenges.

We all need to know there is a glimmer of hope to hang on to – something that will help us continue to expect a better outcome when things look bleak. 

Susan Atkinson
Durango, Colorado

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.