It’s time for Americans to recognize the value of our small cities and towns, and to take steps to help the people who remain outside of our large cities to see fair value for their work; rewards for their investments. Our small towns are the strong, silent type – providing resources and contributing to the prosperity of our country while making little noise and asking for little in return.
It’s critically important that we help our small towns and rural areas to grow and flourish. For too many generations we Americans have been neglecting our country cousins, leaving the countryside more desolate and unpopulated with each generation. It’s true that some towns have survived, even prospered, but usually at the expense of the surrounding countryside and surrounding communities.
This isn’t a desperate last call to action. There are still a lot of busy little towns in America and a lot of people who appreciate the advantages of the un-city lifestyle. But as farms continually consolidate and grow larger and as many towns are either stagnant or shrinking, the population of the American countryside is becoming more sparse and prospects for those who live there are becoming more bleak. The economies of these tiny towns and small cities are dependent on a variety of factors, but the biggest and most common is agriculture.
Farmers have been doing well the last couple of years, and we need to see to it that doesn’t change. The advent of ethanol-based fuels for our vehicles and the general increase in commodity prices have been good for farmers and those whose livelihoods are dependent on the farm economy. This is a trend that ought to continue.
Unfortunately, infrastructure projects have passed small-town America by for far too long. Roads and bridges are in disrepair, schools are consolidating and closing, the information superhighway is bypassing far too many of America’s byways. Local governments are hard-pressed to meet the needs of their communities, and diminishing populations result in fewer financial resources available to meet those needs.
The people of the United States ought to recognize that for more than two hundred years now, our farms and small towns have been pouring horsepower and brainpower into the national economy and helping to drive the success and prosperity of this country. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has correctly observed that a country that can’t produce its own food and manufacture its own arms isn’t really free. I would add that a country of empty frontiers and ghost towns isn’t really prosperous, no matter how wealthy and luxurious its cities appear to be.