The Pernicious Myth of “Two Americas”

Earlier this year, Melinda Byerley, CEO of the TimeShareCMO marketing company in San Francisco, wrote a Facebook post in which she offered her fellow Americans some helpful advice for improvement: “One thing middle america [sic] could do,” Byerley suggested,

is to realize that no educated person wants to live in a shithole with stupid people. . . . When big corporations think about where to put call centers, factors [sic], development centers, etc [sic], they also have to deal with the fact that those towns have nothing going for them.  No infrastructure, just a few bars and a terrible school system.

“So if you want jobs,” Byerley continued, “clean up your act and make your town a place that people like us want to live in.  Add fiber internet.  Make it a point to elect a progressive city council and commit to not being bigots.”

It’s not that Byerley is opposed to living a “more rural lifestyle,” she adds.  It’s just that, her dismissal of nearly the entire country notwithstanding, she doesn’t want to “sacrifice tolerance” in order to do so.

In Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas—the places where I have spent most of my days—I have actually had the opportunity to live the “more rural lifestyle” that Byerley claims to want.  That...

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