Small Towns and Such

Small Town, USA

I’ve had to rewrite my article for this month a couple of times. Some months, these articles are easier to write than others.

After sitting in my living room watching Americans attack the Capitol on January 6, 2021—and reruns of The Day countless times since then—I thought that people, important people, would be arrested. So, I waited with anticipation. Six months. A year. Two years. Two-and-a-half years. Well, that day has finally come. Trump has been indicted and formally arraigned. More on Trump later.

I know. I thought it was going to be a fluff movie. It kinda was, but it was also much more. It turns out to be a female anthem. The movie is really good. It will cause you to think a bit. It is worth your time.

Small Towns
In 1985, John Cougar Mellencamp released his classic song, “Small Town.” I guess you could call it an ode to small towns. He discusses the fact that he was educated in a small town. He was taught to love Jesus in a small town. He met a beautiful woman and brought her back to the small town. Now she loves small towns just as much as he does. He even states that he has nothing against the big city—just that he is able to breathe in a small town. It’s a very nice tune.

Now, contrast Mellencamp to Jason Aldean, who just released a tune called, “Try That in a Small Town.” The song starts off violently. Sucker punch somebody on the sidewalk, carjack an old lady at a red light. The song goes on like this for several lines, then the chorus—Well, try that in a small town, see how far you make it down the road, around here, we take care of our own. This is not John Cougar Mellencamp’s small town.

It is hard to know where to go with Jason Aldean’s tune. It is combative. The imagery in the video is violent. It could even be called racist. The video seems to confuse nonviolent protests with lawlessness. The two actions are not the same. In the small town painted by Jason Aldean, there is no room for dissent. Step out of line or challenge the status quo, and you get a violent beat down. I really don’t want to have anything to do with Jason Aldean’s small town.

And, in fact, Mike Males, a writer for The Daily Kos, wrote on Aug. 8, “The odds of good-old White folks dying by gunfire are a whopping 1.7 times higher in an overwhelmingly White, small town or rural area … than in a big city full of people of color…

“The dirty rural secret shown in the latest Centers for Disease Control death tabulations for 2022-23: White people in small towns are 1.3 times more likely to be murdered, 1.3 times more likely to commit suicide, and 1.2 times more likely to die by violent causes than White people living in a big metro like Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, or Houston.”

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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