Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rural town in Ohio shows how the nation is divided

 Map from Sperling's Best Places
Fremont, Ohio, pop. 16,734, is the object example chosen by Eli Saslow and The Washington Post to illustrate "the America that [President] Obama will govern in his second term: A place divided not only by ideology, race and class but also by the very perception of reality. Four years since Obama first took office, is the country better or worse off? Safer or more at risk? Principled or desperately lost? Here in Fremont, as in much of America, it all depends on whom you ask. In this rural, Rust Belt county where Obama won exactly 50 percent of the vote, located in a state where he won 50 percent, residents expect Obama to either ruin the country or rescue it. The president who spoke ambitiously at his first inauguration about uniting America instead arrives at his second with the country further divided."

Saslow managed to find two employees at the same factory with diametrically different political views that give painfully clear examples of the divided country, and in this case a divided workplace: "Employees now self-segregate into what [Democrat Cathy] Morris calls 'ideological islands.' Co-workers who were once moderate Democrats or Republicans shifted fully to their sides over the past four years, intensifying the disconnect. There are free copies of a National Rifle Association monthly magazine in one break room and, as of late last year, a life-size cardboard cutout of Obama in the other." (Read more)

The Post's chief political writer, Dan Balz, has a good overview of the national political situation here.

UPDATE, Jan. 25: ProPublica provides a broad guide to good journalism and books about the partisan divisions and dysfunctionality of Congress.

No comments: