The Things People in Rural America Should Really Be Concerned About

Cynthia Wylie
10 min readSep 21, 2022

And immigration is not on the list.

I hail from a Red county in a mostly Blue state; Butler County in Western Pennsylvania. During my growing up years, Butler County was mostly farmland settled by German immigrants.

Most of the people there are staunch conservatives, a vestige of a rural way of life. The ultra-conservative, former Senator, Rick Santorum is from Butler County, just to give you an idea.

My mom and all of my siblings, three brothers, and several of my nephews and nieces still live on our family farm. In addition to having full-time jobs, it is a working farm where they raise some beef cattle, board horses and grow crops. It is a beautiful place for sure and is truly a special way of life. I call it a commune, or something akin to the old television show Dallas, without all the bickering. We just repress our feelings. We’re farmers, after all.

I was the only one of my family who went to college, then graduate school, and then moved to a far away big city. My home away from home became Los Angeles, and I eventually switched my political party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. As a last affront, I became a vegan.

When I go “Back East’’ and visit home, fortunately able to do so a few times a year, I get a handle on how my family and old friends feel about the many hot button issues going on in our country.

There are 46 million U.S. residents living in rural areas in 2020 making up 14 percent of the U.S. population. And they voted Republican by a 2–1 margin. Why? Especially, why, when in reality Republican policies don’t really help them much. And the issues they are told to care about don’t really affect them much.

As an example, many people in our county, from neighbors to high school friends, are curiously concerned about immigration. They will tell you that they are not against immigration, just illegal immigration. I try to explain that many immigrants aren’t in a position to immediately apply for U.S. citizenship, which is a costly and difficult task to navigate and achieve. I also explain that many, especially those coming from Central America and hoping to cross the southern border, are seeking asylum due to…

Cynthia Wylie

Founder of Bloomers Island. Published children’s book author at PRH. Writes about big kid’s stuff like economics & business, too.