Can we bridge rural urban divide in US?
A politician friend long ago opined that the split in this country was not necessarily between Democrats and Republicans but rather between urban and rural Americans.
A quick glance at the presidential election map from November clearly illustrates that those living in cities have a far different view of this nation than those who live outside of the urban centers.
In just about every metric from crime to government dependency, urban centers are often in stark contrast with their rural neighbors.
From the growing debate over sanctuary cities to soaring crime rates, large cities have more than their share of problems these days.
And nothing and nowhere defines that divide more than Chicago.
The explosion of violent crime in Chicago has been a focus for well over a year. This past year, Chicago was the poster child of murder and violence and sadly, 2017 has continued and even expanded that dismal trend.
In the Windy City during the first three weeks of this new year, at least 228 people have been shot and 42 murdered. Both of those dismal statistics are higher than the record-setting pace of last year.
This past week, a memorial was held in the name of gun violence victims. And during that somber ceremony, some idiot pulled a gun, shooting six and putting two in critical condition.
By any measure, gun violence is clearly out of control in Chicago yet politicians there continued to ignore the issue.
The Trump administration has even threatened to send federal troops into Chicago to curtail the shooting but, as would be expected, Chicago politicians are up in arms over the possibility.
And yes, Chicago remains a proud sanctuary city.
On the West Coast this week, I found an interesting survey that helps to illustrate this urban/rural divide.
Californians were asked if they favored sanctuary cities and amazingly, 74 percent of those West Coast residents said they were against the policy.
But digging deeper into the survey, rural residents of California overwhelmingly opposed the sanctuary city policy while urban residents were equally overwhelmingly in favor.
The polarization in this nation often falls along a variety of issues: racial, religious and political. But all of these differences pale in comparison to the massive divide between the urban centers and those outside of that city bubble.
It's easy for those of us who do not dwell in the urban areas to mostly ignore their problems because they don't occur in our own backyard.
But if this growing trend continues, rural folk will shun the cities because of growing crime, filth and a host of problems associated with big cities.
So what happens in large cities when rural residents decide not to visit or shop there?
Well, the loss of sale tax revenue will diminish limited city services and the problem will get much worse.
Any way you look at it, it's hard to find a happy ending for our urban centers.