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.


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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