Quoting @alpacaherder@ubuntu.social: https://ubuntu.social/@alpacaherder/110080506419926833 #retoot

Post by Stephen Michael Kellat. ""Why bother?" That's the question I end up facing far too often while living here in Ashtabula.  There's quite a bit wrong here.  Regardless of how much as I want to make things more near "normal" in this area, there is no drive locally to do that.  People locally like being extremely backwards and far too often also economically poor.   The kool-aid was drunk by many, I think.  Many proudly affirm they follow MAGA belief.  When you follow the false idols of Q and MAGA it leads to bad ends." Posted on Mar 24, 2023 at 18:00

Yeah, I do get upset at points. I gets batted about whether it is “depression brain” talking or if it is a reflection of the state of the ara. For as long as I have been alive it has been a saying that you set your clocks back twenty years when you cross the county line into Ashtabula County. Nowadays I would say it isn’t twenty but rather thirty to forty.

The area wants to cling to glory days that are in the continually receding past. In the county health rankings from the University of Wisconsin, Ashtabula County is among the very least health counties in Ohio. Life expectancy here is lower than not just the national average but the state average too! When you pull up “peer counties” that have similar socioeconomic indicators as well as demographic indicators the rankings site gives you choices like these counties across the country:

  • Cattaraugus County, New York
  • Cayuga County, New York
  • Chautauqua County, New York
  • Clearfield County, Pennsylvania
  • Clinton County, New York
  • Columbiana County, Ohio
  • Crawford County, Pennsylvania
  • Cullman County, Alabama
  • Erie County, Ohio
  • Fulton County, New York
  • Grant County, Indiana
  • Greene County, Tennessee
  • Harrison County, West Virginia
  • Indiana County, Pennsylvania
  • Kennebec County, Maine
  • LaSalle County, Illinois
  • Lawrence County, Pennsylvania
  • Lenawee County, Michigan
  • Marion County, West Virginia
  • Mercer County, West Virginia
  • Muskingum County, Ohio
  • Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsylvania County, Virginia
  • Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
  • Seneca County, Ohio
  • Sevier County, Tennessee
  • Shiawassee County, Michigan
  • St. Lawrence County, New York
  • Stanly County, North Carolina
  • Steuben County, New York
  • Surry County, North Carolina
  • Tuscarawas County, Ohio
  • Wayne County, Ohio

Some of those are not very happy places. I’ve worked in at least one of those counties at an academic institution as temporary faculty. The listed counties in Ohio are not home to much of anything in particular that is nationally significant.

If a community doesn’t want change then efforts to bring change even if they are for positive outcomes are seemingly in vain. I’m in the position of being stuck screaming into the void, basically. With people locally cheering on book banning, cheering on the notion of the federal government defaulting on its debt, and other MAGA patent nostrums I end up wondering if the area is simply lost.

The task at hand is looking for a way forward through this mess, it seems.