At some point during the civil war which followed the Bolshevik Revolution, Trotsky and Lenin decided to go out to the front lines to check on the morale of the Red Army troops. So they drove to the front, then started walking through a trench and came upon three muzhiks standing there with the red star affixed to their jackets.
“Comrades,” Lenin shouted to these three peasants who were huddled together, “how goes the war?” The three country bumpkins turned soldiers nodded and one of them said, “Fine, fine.”
Then Trotsky said, “And comrades, what do you think of the Bolshevik leadership?” There was a quick murmuring between the three clodhoppers and then one of them replied, “We like Trotsky, but we don’t trust that Lenin. He’s a Jew!”
This joke was repeated endlessly by everyone from Lenin to Stalin to explain why the Soviet Union was a worker’s state. Make an alliance between urban workers and country peasants to create a Socialist state? It would never happen and it never did.
Today the liberal, mainstream media (as opposed to the conservative, mainstream media) is pushing a new-found idea, namely, the social, cultural, economic, and political gap which exists between city and countryside in the United States. The fact that this divide has been there since the beginning of the industrial revolution shouldn’t come as any surprise to educated, literate individuals allegedly responsible for feeding the rest of us educated, literate individuals with our daily news. But it does and here’s a couple of examples to prove my point.
Yesterday, USA Today carried a story about what happened in the small town of Bethel, OH (population: 2,800) when a group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched through town protesting police brutality, racism, and the existence of Donald Trump. There were maybe 80 people in the parade led by a substitute teacher who lives in the town. When the rumor started getting around that ‘busloads’ were going to show up from Cincinnati and Columbus, the townspeople came out brandishing guns in order to protect life and limb.
There was a similar event in the little town of Coquille, OR (population: 3,800), the subject of an op-ed written by our friend Nick Kristof and published in The New York Times. In this case, the invasion force wasn’t the Black Lives Matter legions, it was a battalion of Antifa shock troops who were allegedly coming maybe from Portland, which is only 250 miles away. Kristof sourced a media story which said that small towns were being ‘plagued’ by rumors of Antifa violence that was about to occur. In fact, the only person who seems to have been plagued in any of these towns was the person who answers the phone in the police station because whenever you get something loony on Facebook, the cops get a bunch of calls.
Kristof says these panics reflect the intersection between racism and hysteria. “They arise, he claims, “when a lying president takes every opportunity not to heal our national divisions but to stoke them, when people live in a news ecosystem that provides no reality check but inflames prejudices and feeds fears. And let’s not forget that Trump is President because he took advantage of the prejudices and fears found in small towns.
But I think this view is not only over-simplified, but when it comes to what we need to do for November, taking it too seriously may lead us down the wrong path. I also live in a small town with a population around 12,000, the town is mostly white. In 2016, the Democratic line received 90% of the votes cast.
There are many small towns like my towns here, there, and all over the place but you never hear about these towns because if some kids waving Black Lives Matter banners marched through my town, nobody would care.
I think my friends in the liberal media need to stop framing their every story as either pro-Trump or anti-Trump. Even the people living in the smallest of small towns are too complicated to be described in such make-or-break media terms.
C’mon, we can do better than that.