In no particular order, here are some other thoughts I’ve been mulling over, on the politics of hope vs. the politics of fear, values, and the supposed urban-rural divide. This is related to but certainly not exclusive to the #mngov #DFL2018 race.
1) I believe wholeheartedly that a person’s values are not dependent on where they live. People who hold values of compassion and care for each other; respect for our interdependence; building a society that doesn’t leave anyone out; care & respect for the land — live EVERYWHERE.
Progressives live everywhere, OK? And in many cases our progressive values come from, NOT in spite of, our rural upbringings.
2) It is certainly the case that many of the issues facing rural communities & urban communities are different. Also, many are very much the same. Again — we do not have to accept the idea that our core values are different.
3) In the cases when the issues are different, sometimes people in urban areas don’t fully understand what people in rural areas are facing. Sometimes people in rural areas don’t fully understand what people in urban areas are facing. This is not an insurmountable problem.
This does not mean we lack common interests.
4) The extraction of resources & wealth from rural areas is a historical and current reality, but it is an issue of corporate power and control, and many urban people face economic harm from exactly the same extractive forces and interests.
5) I proudly identify as a rural progressive populist, and I proudly support the leadership of rural people. Our leadership is needed in the politics of this state and country. Absolutely. AND, I believe in a politics of hope over fear, abundance over scarcity. So...
I don’t believe there has to be a conflict between leadership coming from people who live in urban areas and leadership coming from people who live in rural areas. It is possible for us to understand each other, respect each other, follow each other ‘s leadership.
That is not easy, it takes real work, but it is possible and necessary.
Something really bothers me about a politics that tells me I, as a rural person, am supposedly unwilling to even consider supporting an urban person as a leader. Saying we have to unite, but implying that only a “non-metro” person can unite us, only deepens the divide.
Again, it takes real, hard work for someone to understand the issues and lead on solutions with people from all geographies. But it’s possible, and it’s possible for leaders from any geographic background to do it. Because at the end of the day, governing is what we do together.
No matter who is elected to any office, making true progress will require working together with a coalition that is diverse in geography and in all other measures. No one can do this alone. No matter who we elect, they cannot govern alone.
5) So often in these discussions, “urban” is coded as people of color & LGBTQ people, while “rural” is coded as white, straight, cis people. Reality: people of color live everywhere and LGBTQ people live everywhere. As do white, straight, cis people.
6) “Urban” and “rural” can also be pretty reductive terms and there are tons of experiences in between. Suburbs, exurbs, big small towns, little small towns. College towns, farm towns, tourist towns. This easy narrative of an urban-rural divide can erase so much lived reality.
In reality, every single place is unique, and uniquely shapes the lived experiences of people who live there. Place matters. BUT, that does not mean there are no shared, core, human values across geography.
7) Another part of this reality that gets erased a lot: people move! Or sometimes they don’t! And either way, it’s OK. Many people are shaped by experiences of living in lots of places over their lives. Some people, urban and rural, love where they’re born and stay there.
Sometimes people want to move and can’t, sometimes people want to stay and can’t, and in either case sometimes that’s due to oppression of various kinds, and that’s not OK.
8) Here's another piece that's important. Corporate interests, such as industrial ag, hold a lot of power and control, especially in the arena of narrative. Often they claim to speak for rural people while advocating for policies that are actually harmful to rural communities.
I believe well-meaning non-rural people often unintentionally fall for this strategy, because it's very hard not to! There's a lot of money and power behind it! And I think that dynamic can add to distrust between rural and urban people.
I think the answer, again, involves hard work, careful listening, asking tough questions when you're presented with easy answers, elevating of voices that aren't being heard enough.
And again, trusting that it IS possible for us to hear each other, lift up ALL of our voices together for good, work together, truly connect across geography. I believe a lot of forces that hold the money & power now don't want to see that happen.
And that's why it matters SO much that we do that hard work together: urban people, rural people, everywhere-in-between people. Connecting around our values and finding what we have in common, because there's so much more than what separates us.
Abundance, not scarcity. Hope, not fear. Trust. The only way forward is together. We can all be leaders. I know Wellstone quotes are a little overused, but honestly, I don't know a better way to say this than, We all do better when we all do better. Let's believe that, Minnesota.

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More from @jrupprecht_mn

Oct 3, 2018
This is absolutely not needed & not in the best interest of family farmers, other rural people, the water or the land. It’s also illegal under Winona Co. ordinances. Our local gov’t shouldn’t even consider changing the rules to let the biggest factory farm in the area get bigger.
And it’s ridiculous that the proposer is not willing to acknowledge the role of factory farms like his in driving small & mid-size family farms off the land. Of course there’s a connection. It’s simple math: we can have more farms or bigger farms. Not both.
And nothing about consolidation in agriculture is inevitable. It’s all a matter of public policy choices. Let’s make the right ones.
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