Respected journalist, James Fallows, has written thoughtful pieces about many parts of the world. He’s covered Iraq, China, the U.S. media, and the presidency. In his newest book, Our Towns, with his wife Deborah Fallows, they write about the present state of America.
If you want an accurate, fair, and uplifting book about our country, read this as soon as you can.
The Fallows traveled over 100,000 miles around the country. The purposely avoided the big cities on the coasts. They stayed in smaller cities, some that were devastated by job losses and others that were thriving. They did not ask people about national issues: what they thought of the president or any other “hot-button” questions that the national media constantly pounds on.
Instead, they asked how they were doing, how were their cities progressing, what were the local problems and how did the people there solve them? From the answers to these local questions, the Fallows tried to determine the state of America—from the viewpoint of ordinary Americans, not the national politicians or media.
The results the Fallows found were revealing and astounding. Here are some of their conclusions about the state of America today:
- The quality of local government. Even as people in cities voted for national candidates who promised no new taxes, at the local level the story was different. Many cities voted to increase taxes for libraries, schools, parks, better roads, etc. The quality and honesty of local government officials is up and their use of technology to connect the residents to their government and make it more efficient is growing.
- Immigration. As the national discussion grows more hateful and inaccurate, at the local level it’s quite calm. Some cities have even pushed to attract immigrants in an effort to revitalize them like Erie, Pennslyvania. This surprised me about the state of America.
- Young, talented people are leaving the high-cost, high-stress cities on the coasts in a reverse migration to settle in cheaper smaller towns. This has led to an explosion in entrepreneurial efforts.
- Schools. Cities were anxious to show the Fallows their new innovative schools and the money they were spending on them. It’s not so much a question of public vs. private. Instead, the local governments are trying to meld high schools, community colleges, advanced training programs, and the state’s universities.
- Libraries. The local libraries are ramping up with high tech and are flourishing in spite of the Internet.
- Environment. The number of states and cities that have pledged to work toward the Paris climate goals represents more than half the U.S. economic output!
The book will be released soon. Or, you can read a summary of it in the May 2018 issue of The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/sponsored/allstate/reinventing-the-american-dream/667/
What a fascinating look at the state of America.