We visited alma mater back in the blue Northeast this week, returning child #1 to school after spring break. We met with one of our honored old teachers. Mrs. G. and I reminded him that he has said in an interview that country music seemed to be about a lost world, in which people married, raised kids, went to church, worked hard, honored America, and grew old together. Given a chance to talk about it, we offered that we lived in that world in small-town Kentucky. Our daughter, who is having a wonderful time and learning a great deal, nonetheless feels the loss of ideological diversity compared to her high school. She said she is used to having Republicans to argue with; now she is at a school where even the head of College Republicans is a Democrat. The political argument there is intra-left, as for example when the five different homosexual organizations fought over how sexually explicit the "coming out day" chalk drawings should be.
I have learned to like country music since moving here, in part because it includes the stories of people over 25, especially the great majority of people who marry and have kids. Small towns are not really conservative - they have the range of views that we find in the country as a whole, as the letters to the editor section of the local paper can attest.
Swarthmore, and academic world in general, are not a lost world, so much as an artificial world, a bubble even within their own counties. Danville, and the thousands of small towns like it, are not a lost world – they are the regular world. And much as I love alma mater, and always will, I am glad to be home.