I've lived and grown in many different settings, city, rural, farm. I've always felt farmer's have a thankless job. Its hard work. Little pay. You do get to see the fruit of your labors (hopefully, if the season/harvest/herd does well). But it doesn't give you magical insight into life. Although you do get to see the circle of life in all its messy, shit-soaked, and painful glory, especially if you're on a dairy farm and its birthing season. God I'll never forget that smell. One thing that has especially bugged me is why everyone thinks the Midwest, places like Kansas know anything about anything beyond the rest of the country? I'm not alone, I found this article.
The rural life, specifically, the agricultural industry, is a massive, important part of our nation's economic well-being. And yes, yes, I've read Kunstler's Long Emergency, and I know that one catastrophic afternoon in the near future, I will rue the day my grandfather gave up the sod to become a cop in the New World. For some people the rural life is an incredibly rewarding way of life. They should be very proud of the fact they have held on to this great tradition of commerce and, one might argue service, in the face of corporate farming. But that life is not holy, it does not bless one with special insight into the intent of the Framers of the goddam Consitution or what America "should" be like. Have I lost some sort of sacred connection with the land? Maybe. But the last time I checked, the land was dirt, same dirt as the rest of the world, and several generations of my family went broke farming other people's dirt, interrupted only when easily annoyed Englishmenwould occassionally show up and burn all their shit down. Pardon me for enjoying my goddam latte.
Now unlike the author, I lived a part of my life on a farm, a dairy farm to be exact. My father had a life long dream of owning a farm and being a farmer and he made his dream come true. The only insights that way of life gives you is how unfair things can actually be, how fucked the American economy is in regards to the, what they call 'owner/operator' which used to be called the 'family farm'. All this, at least it seemed to me didn't give mystical insight, but it gave a deft sense of practicality. You do what works. You don't do what doesn't, pretty simple. You also see directly how your actions have consequences. Don't rake the hay after its been cut and rained on? It goes moldy and useless. Choose not to clean out the barn regularly? You see a spike in the bacteria count of your milk and consequently a drop in value and price you are paid for it, and if its too bad, they will make you dump it.
Oh and my father is no longer a farmer. He gave up that dream a few years ago. Its not a life that is kind to you as you get older.
I agree with the author fully. Middle America has not been a good gauge for anything since perhaps the 1940s when most of the country were still farmers.
And Hollywood is not in touch with anything, most especially reality. Though for the last few years I feel the same can be said about Washington D.C.