The empty factories have their windows broken and weeds are taking over the parking lots, but they remain as monuments of the prosperity that rust-belt cities used to enjoy. Small towns in the heartland have downtowns with shop windows boarded up. Their young people either move away the first chance they get, looking for work, or they stay with many of them getting hooked on crystal meth or heroin. A large number of the displaced workers in both the cities and the towns have given up on marriage and have stopped going to church, such is their despair.
What has happened to many of our cities and our small town culture–which used to be the Norman Rockwell vision of America–is tragic. Here we see where economics and culture come together, destroying each other.
Who’s to blame? Wal-Mart or Amazon for destroying America’s small retailers? Corporations closing factories here and opening them overseas in lands of cheap labor? Can or should anything be done about it? Maybe these are just casualties of the market’s “creative destruction.” But we are writing off a good part of America.
Donald Trump is pretty much the only one in either party who shows any concern whatsoever about the plight of America’s working class. [Read more…]