As I am sure most people know by now, Presidents Clinton and Obama have cut radio ads in the last few days in support of Blanche Lincoln. I’ve yet to hear any of the ads (there are three, as Clinton did two), so I can’t say how effective I think they’ll be, but according to Suzi Parker, one of Clinton’s ads touts how Lincoln will protect our “rural quality of life.”
When I read that, I flippantly Tweeted that such protections would be more comforting if we were Amish. The more I thought about it, though, the less tongue-in-cheek my comment really was.
I know that I’m probably in the minority on this, but for a state that ranks near the bottom in many (most?) technological measuring sticks to embrace the concept of “our rural quality of life” seems…offputting. If “rural quality of life” is merely code for “our farmers’ interests,” fine (I guess), but could we find a different way to phrase it? If anything, we need to encourage the people who don’t live or work in rural environments (i.e. people in Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, much of Saline County, and a good number of souls in Northwest Arkansas) to be proactive in terms of acquiring 21st-century job skills, fostering technological growth (starting with providing high-speed internet access to all Arkansans), and using our natural resources to position Arkansas among the leaders in domestic production of alternative energy. Embracing a Green-Acres aesthetic is not the way to get there.
Am I just picking nits here? Possibly. But I’ve yet to hear many people express this idea within the context of political campaigning. If you want to protect the natural beauty of the Natural State — something Senator Lincoln has tried to avoid, actually — I’m good with that. I’m not fine, however, with trying to “protect” our collective lack of technology and glaring need for modernization in many areas.