Although I’ve lived my whole adult life in the heart of big cities—the Twin Cities, New York City, Washington DC, and, for years now, Los Angeles, I spent a lot of youth in the farthest-out suburbs of Minneapolis, small towns in Iowa and North Carolina, and on my Uncle Rich’s farm outside Moose Lake, Minnesota.
I’ve often wondered how different my life would have been—indeed how different I would have turned out—had I stayed in those small-town settings. Would I have joined rural America’s right-ward march over the past decades? Would I have drunk the Trump tea? Would I be stomping around town in a bright red MAGA hat, running people off the road with my three-ton F-150 truck?
Sheesh, I’d like to think I’m made of sterner stuff, but who really knows?
That recurrent question is partly why I asked Stan Cox to give me his perspective from Salinas, Kansas—deep in the reddest heart of Trump Country. Stan’s recent LA Progressive article, “Angry White Guys in Big-Ass Pickups” talks about the craziness of living among pumped-up white men threatening to run over peaceful protesters, exhibiting what's called "petro masculinity."
But his fascinating article also talks about the recent earth-shattering defeat of a Kansas amendment that would have further inhibited a woman’s right to an abortion. Stan and his wife, Priti Gulati Cox, knocked on doors to educate their neighbors and then served at the polls to assist the many first-time voters—many of them young women—who were propelled into action by the abortion rights fight.
Stan is the author of The Green New Deal and Beyond and The Path to a Livable Future: Forging a New Politics to Fight Climate Change, Racism, and the Next Pandemic, both from City Lights Books. He is a senior researcher at the Land Institute. You can find his recent articles here.