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A complete waste of resources

Friday, Apr 3, 2020

* Yet another rural safari by urban reporters

The idea of secession has long simmered in Illinois’ more rural and Republican counties, periodically flaring up around issues such as raising the minimum wage, the establishment of sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants and gun ownership. And though Illinois’ secession movement — or, movements — isn’t exactly united, many who believe in the principle share a general sense of feeling underrepresented in a state dominated by Chicago’s Democratic stronghold.

The coronavirus outbreak, which has yet to touch some areas of the state, has become the most recent flashpoint, inspiring both serious promises to reintroduce secession on the ballot and Facebook memes that call for building a wall around Chicago.

* And ProPublica Illinois justifies this coverage with these stats

That spider web, which he’s crafted to function as a sort of social media ecosystem of secession sentiment, includes “Illinois Separation,” a page Cliburn runs that has garnered nearly 27,000 Facebook likes; “Illinoyed,” a page for more general venting about the state, which has about 11,700 likes; and also dozens of county-level pages for local organizers. Lately, Cliburn said, he’s been using coronavirus news to bring attention to the effort to kick Chicago out of the state. […]

Another post, shared on the “Illinois Separation” page on March 25, shows an image of the state of Illinois with the Chicago-area blocked off with a line. “Make Illinois Great Again … build a wall !!” the graphic reads. Comments included individuals blaming Chicago for positive COVID-19 cases in their own counties and criticizing the shelter-in-place order in areas with few if any positive cases.

The post has nearly 800 likes and 400 shares.

Nearly 800 likes? Oh my. It’s a movement!

217 Problems has 103,583 followers. Where’s its big writeup?

* One of the “leaders” of the “movement,” Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) let the cat out of the bag in February

But realistically, the House and the Senate, the state would have to pass it by a two-thirds margin and then it has to go to the federal, I mean, so it’s not gonna happen.

You find out sometimes when… you’re being a legislator that sometimes you can introduce a bill, then you get some attention.

* Also, the person profiled at the top of the ProPublica piece lives in Vermilion County, which is 13 percent African-American. These sorts of safaris almost always ignore those voices

“Often the monolithic portrayal of rural America amounts to a whitewashing along racial lines,” [reporter Sarah Smarsh] said. “In fact, rural areas are much more racially diverse than one would think from reading national headlines. …Those parts of the country have always been much more than white people, and as we speak they are diversifying, in some places quite rapidly, often due to an influx in immigrant populations taking jobs in industries like industrial agriculture and meatpacking plants.

* Not to mention that these stories often usually wind up bringing ridicule on rural people in general

Trump is not the president of just rural America. He won office because his message took root in coastal cities and suburbs, too. But national reporters found few occasions to explore the ascendant conservatism of these places. Consider Collier County, Florida, and McDowell County, West Virginia, two counties that voted heavily for Trump. Despite the fact that Collier County’s voter turnout was more than twice that of McDowell County, only the latter drew national attention. The wealthier, more suburban residents of Collier County did not inspire the derision of liberals—nor did they command the attention of conservatives, who were eager to pin Trump’s success to the reactionary yearnings of the mythologized heartland worker.

This selective interest in a particular type of Trump voter—and the synonymization of white conservatives with rural geographies—reinforced perceptions many onlookers already possessed. Location alters a place’s material needs and shapes the struggles of its inhabitants, but rurality does not make a community simple. To many consumers of the mainstream press, however, rural communities seem to be benighted places where the light of liberalism could not reach.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

36 Comments
  1. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    I assume they are doing it (secession) fantasy for gin up vote and fund raising. If a politician knows it will never happen, and they all should, why not tell your people facts of life. Or, take Chicago out and the collar counties, close downstate prisons and keep all the money up here and let them explain how they are going to pay for a darn thing


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    ===… more rural and Republican counties===

    Says so much by saying so little…


  3. - unpopular - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    Love Pro Publica’s mission, not always a fan of the reporting. They need to get out of the Manhattan Skyline and actually try to understand rural america.


  4. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    They must use a template for such stories. Replace the names of specific locations, and stories about Illinois’ “Republic of Halbrook” could just as easily be stories about Northern California / Southern Oregon’s “State of Jefferson,” Upstate New York’s “Upstate New York” (know it’s not very original), Tucson area’s “Baja Arizona,” Nebraska’s “Nebraska Panhandle,” …


  5. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    “Facebook memes that call for building a wall around Chicago“

    How very Christian of the Christian values people, hating fellow Illinoisans who are suffering higher rates of coronavirus infection. I was sick and you didn’t heal me, instead rejecting me. So un-Christ like.


  6. - Art Student - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    A few years ago I worked at an Argo Tea that was smack-dab in the middle of the gold coast. It was a pretty green house that was horrible to work in during the summer. During the summer of the last presidential election, a man wearing a camo maga hat came in and used our space to work. Trump supporters are in the affluent areas of Chicago and no one wants to admit to it.


  7. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:23 am:

    ===To many consumers of the mainstream press, however, rural communities seem to be benighted places where the light of liberalism could not reach.===
    Well, New York Times is “mainstream press” and with it you can look up the exact votes of each county, for both the 2016 election and the 2018 election.
    What’s interesting is that even the reddest states and the reddest counties in those states have a sizable portion of blue voter and visa versa.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    === Trump supporters are in the affluent areas of Chicago===

    Why do you think that is?

    How are the demographics in those areas?


  9. - OpentoDiscussion - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    It just plain will not happen!

    As Dupage Saint notes this is part of a get out the vote campaign.

    Each political party does this on issues they feel will stir resentment and excitement.


  10. - Lake County Mom - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    For those Illinoisans who think secession is an idea they can support, please watch the state of Mississippi over the next few months.

    A peek into your future.


  11. - GADawg - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:28 am:

    It always frustrates me when reporters use one person out of a particular demographic, regardless of which one, as if that one represents all. It’s shoddy, lazy reporting.


  12. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    rural communities seem to be benighted places where the light of liberalism could not reach?

    No doubt the mainstream press does not have a mainstream ideology

    Conservatives continue to outnumber liberals, 35% to 26%
    Nine-point difference ties last year for slimmest in Gallup trends
    For first time, majority of Democrats identify as liberal

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/245813/leans-conservative-liberals-keep-recent-gains.aspx


  13. - West Sider - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    The combination of smug cynicism and naif ignorance, both of which permeate the news business- create the “real” fake news- and have done enormous damage to our democracy.


  14. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    It’s interesting (and scary) to read some of the things people are writing about stay at home orders. Things like this is America and we are a free country and the government can’t tell us what to do. Never mind we are in the middle of a pandemic. It’s just another topic they can spread their anti-government rhetoric on. These people are just plain scary.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    === But realistically, the House and the Senate, the state would have to pass it by a two-thirds margin and then it has to go to the federal, I mean, so it’s not gonna happen.

    You find out sometimes when… you’re being a legislator that sometimes you can introduce a bill, then you get some attention.===

    A magician never reveals its tricks, neither should hucksters willing to seed anger and hatred towards “people not like us” as a tool to build a political base.

    I still can’t comprehend how a political party wants more uniformity and religious-like followers… but still think they can be a majority party… or think that duping the zealots that a solution of a “new state” is good for the needed governing.

    I’m told with great… zeal… “this ain’t the party of Edgar no more” and also told the party isn’t an urban party, so the suburbs aren’t ripe anymore.

    Then what makes Mr. Bailey or others in the Hateful Eight who are led by this POTUS that the old moderate suburban GOP voters have a home in this MAGA thinking?


  16. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    Thank you once again LP for your brilliant enlightenment


  17. - Demoralized - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 11:49 am:

    ==share a general sense of feeling underrepresented in a state==

    Our current President most definitely does not represent my point of view but I don’t go around whining about how it’s not fair and I should get to create a place where my views are more represented. It’s childish. These people aren’t big fans of the democratic process. We don’t always get the representatives we want. Get over it and try again the next election.


  18. - JS Mill - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    @LP- You seem more in tune with states like Mississippi, Alabama, large parts of Texas. So what gives? Why stay in wacky old Illinois?


  19. - SOIL M - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:04 pm:

    OW–still can’t comprehend how a political party wants more uniformity and religious-like followers… but still think they can be a majority party…

    The Reps pushing this care nothing about being a majority party. As long as they can retain their small grasp of some power is all that matters to them. If they cared about the State, or their Party, they would stop with the diversions and focus on solving the problems that they rant about. They aren’t able to do that so they instead say what they need to say to preserve their own little spot.


  20. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:09 pm:

    ===Trump supporters are in the affluent areas of Chicago and no one wants to admit to it.===
    Who is “no one”? Precinct captains and campaign workers have lists of friendly voters with names addresses and phone numbers.
    Also anyone can go to IL board of elections and see the names and the addresses of people who made campaign contributions to Trump, Pritzker or anyone else.
    It’s not some big secret.


  21. - Art Student - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:09 pm:

    ==How are the demographics in those areas?==
    I myself live on the southwest side of Chicago in Austin and commuted there for work. From what I saw, and experienced as a food service worker, mostly white, upper middle class to fairly wealthy age range was mid twenties to seventies. The former CEO of Argo Tea and the other higher ups lived in the area and visited frequently. It was never fun. There was a level of detachment that always rubbed the wrong way. Expectations of service that honestly didn’t match reality and people kinda acting like you’re not there half the time. I don’t miss the customers, I do miss my coworkers.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    === The Reps pushing this care nothing about being a majority party.===

    That’s the huckster part, which leads to the “51st state solution”. That’s why magicians never tell their secrets.

    === As long as they can retain their small grasp of some power is all that matters to them.===

    Yep. Admitting it’s a sham is that only rationale.

    === If they cared about the State, or their Party, they would stop with the diversions and focus on solving the problems that they rant about.===

    The Hateful Eight do not come at any of their thoughts from a position of good governing or any governing, frankly.

    ===They aren’t able to do that so they instead say what they need to say to preserve their own little spot.===

    That lil bit of honest by Mr. Bailey addresses that the best.

    :)


  23. - Levois J - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:23 pm:

    That’s still going around? It gets attention but it’s never going to happen.


  24. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    “Why stay in wacky old Illinois?“

    Much of it is professional phony outrage, meant to anger and scare people into voting right wing. As to the crocodile tears, Illinois is a higher-income state, and the “Illinois Exodus“ yellers and Illinois downers live and make good or great money here and benefit from the flat state income tax rate that is higher in most neighboring states.


  25. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    Eh, I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. These stories are the liberal version of Gateway Pundit articles about woke twitter. The majority of people in small towns and rural areas don’t care one way or the other whether or not Chicago is part of the state, and a sizeable minority know that it’s a dumb idea. But those who do care make a whole lot of noise, and by doing so, draw the attention of lazy writers who find it easy to portray rural areas and small towns as one monolithic group of old white people who all feverishly support trump and hate big cities.


  26. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:46 pm:

    My experience in Southern Illinois has largely been if minorities are demographically absent from an area it is because of specific racist policies or practices from the past. If there’s no diversity, it is because it was a “sundown town.”

    However, if you go to some of these communities, such as Carbondale specifically, there is often a narrative among white residents (whether life long or immigrants to the town) that the African Americans living in the town are all former residents of Chicago — ignoring family histories in the region dating back to the 19th century.

    The white washing isn’t just a narrative invented by journalism, it is an intentional tool used by racists and white supremacists to continue to turn their black neighbors into the other.

    In Carbondale it is especially bad because of the presence of the University, but the attitude exists elsewhere that the minorities in town are ALL from Chicago.

    As if there aren’t large metropolitan areas near by where black folks could have immigrated from if they were all immigrants, which they’re not.

    In the lens of COVID-19 in some conversations I have people have expressed the belief that the only reason why their communities have any COVID-19 cases is because of blacks (from Chicago) or Asian university students, or folks in town because of the foreign owned manufacturing plants.

    I think this issue is hard to cover, but OW really hits the nail on the head when he talks about angry old white people.


  27. - West Side the Best Side - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:46 pm:

    Art Student - Austin is not now, and never had been the southwest side of Chicago. It’s the West Side.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 12:49 pm:

    === mostly white, upper middle class to fairly wealthy===

    Go on..

    ===mid twenties to seventies===

    The man wearing the hat… age?


  29. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    === The combination of smug cynicism and naif ignorance, both of which permeate the news business- create the “real” fake news- and have done enormous damage to our democracy.===
    Oh for heaven’s sake(banned punctuation)
    If I’m reading something and it reeks of “smug cynicism and naïf ignorance” I stop reading and and go look elsewhere. There are more news items to read than humanly possible.
    There are many very good writers out there and you don’t have to punish yourself.


  30. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:12 pm:

    Candy Dogood -
    Carbondale had a large enough African American population African American schools date back to 1857. The African American high school was named after the Boston Massacre victim Crispus Attucks. http://www.illinoishsglorydays.com/id396.html


  31. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    I’ve been downstate many times and always had positive experiences, once when a stranger helped me with a serious vehicular problem. There are many great people everywhere. These hateful groups are just a minority (no pun intended).


  32. - BlinkyFrog - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    Once upon a time, folks living outside of direct mega-city influence saw big city folks as sophisticated. Then the internet came along and exposed a number of things in raw form and not dressed up by traditional media. Now they see primarily that the big city folks seem generally arrogant, controlling and hostile on balance. That they are sheep with just a couple of masters. They recognize a complete incompatibility with this ideology.

    What I think is that the countryside has it correct - it is the media driving this wedge for their own selfish purposes (or maybe just lazy incompetence as Rich points out). I think the countryside wishes the big city folks would figure that out also so we can all get back to being individuals again.


  33. - Art Student - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    Westside the best side

    I live about a mile from Cicero, and am pretty south of North Ave. I’ve heard were I live called the southwest side from a bunch of people. It’s the west side but it’s more south then probably where you live.


  34. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:06 pm:

    === Now they see primarily that the big city folks seem generally arrogant, controlling and hostile on balance. That they are sheep with just a couple of masters.===
    Arrogant, controlling and hostile sheep on the internet?Watching You Tube again aren’t ya?


  35. - Art Student - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    Oswego Willy

    Sorry for the late replies, my classes and work got moved online and I’m trying to keep up. The man was probably mid thirties. I’m sorry for being a bit long winded.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 3, 20 @ 4:19 pm:

    - Art Student -

    Thanks.


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