I’m a bit more optimistic than Chutney at MyIrony.com (“America’s “blue” urban archipelago“) about winning the “heartland” — if nothing else, the division might be the nation’s undoing.
On the other hand, he’s got some good ideas. I’ll take him at his word and add a few, from the hustle-bustle of Logan Circle.
- Avoid big-box retail. Liberate yourself from their neighborhood destabilizing effects, the way they trade American manufacturing jobs for dead-end retail work, and lean on cheap foreign (sweatshop or not) labor. Look for “Made in the USA” in neighborhood stores. Make a list of things you use and make a list of where you can get them within walking distance. Find as many alternatives as possible for those things you can’t get locally.
- Worship near home. If you do, challenge efforts to hold meetings and events in the car-only hinterland. Encourage transit information in all church publicity. (This can be hard for Unitarian Universalists. I can only think of two readily transit accessible congregations out of the dozen or more in the area.)
- Bank with institutions that share your values, And especially in urban community investment. I’m dismayed my bank has a very low score with the HRC and I’ll be switching as soon as I find a better alternative. Your money has power.
- Invite your non-urban relatives to visit you in the city. Vacationing here is a lot more interesting that vacationing there, right? Accent its conveniences and “I didn’t know they still did that” moments (like the locksmith down the block that sells Lionel trains) that they don’t in corportate-retail-culture suburbia.
- Keep communicating with your “red state” family. You might learn something. You might realize people are proud that you’re doing so well out there.