Saturday, August 05, 2006

A Dying Town

Good article today in the Clarion-Ledger about a police chief in Ruleville, a small Delta town, arrested for taking payoffs from crack dealers.

Corruption in high-poverty areas doesn't surprise me (the absence of corruption would). I did, however, appreciate the statistics that were mentioned:

"Ruleville lost nearly 10 percent of its population in the first half of this decade, shrinking to fewer than 3,000 people.

More than a third of the households are headed by single moms, 40 percent of its residents don't have a high school diploma, and its per capita income is 26 percent below the state's average, which is already well below the national average."

As I said in the previous post, there is a national myth that if you work hard you will succeed. Well, if I am a single mother with no high school diploma, what jobs are available? I can be the hardest working person in the world and it doesn't matter. Where are the jobs?

Then the radical right comes in and says, "Well, you made choices that put you in that position."

Okay, but that's it? Because of decisions I made when I was 15 or 16 years old I now get to spend the rest of my life in poverty, and, almost certainly, condemn my children to a life of poverty. Would you want your entire life to be judged on decisions you made when you were 15?

Next quote from the article: "It is a dying town, but not everyone has given up on it."

The article then describes a retired Hollywood designer, Luster Bayless, who has moved back to Ruleville, and who asserts, "The town is coming back."


These towns aren't coming back. There is no industry. There are no jobs. Things aren't getting better. They are getting worse.

The dam has broken. The valley has flooded. We are just living amidst the wreckage.

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