[OPINION] A Trip Through The Westport Heartland

Alert “06880” reader/curious explorer/noted journalist Scott Smith writes:

Westport 06880 has many blessings. But we don’t have a charming, white-washed covered bridge built in 1880. We also lack a soaring water tower with our name splashed across the top. And a Dollar General store.

These are the chief landmarks of Westport 47283, a small farming community surrounded by miles of corn and soybean fields in south-central Indiana.

The Westport, Indiana covered bridge.

I passed through that Westport recently on my way back from a road trip out West. Eager to leave behind endless Zoom meetings, I settled on a route that would take me to the most COVID-free part of the country – chiefly, Badlands National Park and the Black Hills of South Dakota.

A close encounter with Devil’s Tower across the border in Wyoming and a sublime drive back through the Sand Hills of my native Nebraska were among many other roadside attractions along the way.

Welcome to Westport, Indiana.

I did not spot another Connecticut license plate the whole 10 days. So here are 3 observations for state residents from what’s known as flyover country to some, and the heartland to others.

First, this large part of America truly is a landscape of vast scale and industrial agricultural enterprise. I passed a thousand miles of cropland — mostly corn and soybeans — planted in tight rows extending  as far as the eye could see (or pivot irrigation could reach).

Lush green pastures were dotted with countless supersized rolls of hay destined to fatten up cows for beef. This is the breadbasket of the world, and we should all be proud of that. I know our farmers are.

Yet though the fruits of their labors are so evident, I saw hardly any people working the fields. One 30-foot-wide, GPS-guided combine can cover a lot of ground.

Town Hall in Westport, Indiana.

Using interstates to connect with state roads and scenic byways, I was struck by the vast, beige buildings of corrugated steel roofs and aluminum siding, as large in scope as the mega farming and just as strangely absent of people.

Often they’re depots for Walmart or other distribution conglomerates, with scores of truck bays. The manufacturing facilities stand out with their networks of pipes and conveyors taking in resources and exhaust vents belching things out. Who knows what goes on inside these gargantuan structures, save for a small sign out front that typically sports an acronym followed by “Industries.”

It’s big business to be sure, but not a lot of local jobs, at least of the kinds that kept this swath of America thriving for generations. I passed dozens of small towns with Dollar General at one end of town, and a convenience store (usually with a name like Whoa ‘n’ Go or Pause ‘n’ Pump) selling gas, beer and junk food at the other.

In between, invariably, was a Main Street or “Historic Downtown District” composed of brick buildings boarded up long ago, or given over to a social agency or someone trying to make a go of a curio shop.

A boarded up building in Westport, Indiana.

With ornate facades, and scrolled dates and names of their founders across the sturdy lintels, these landmarks are ghostly echoes of the tin sheds and warehouses on the outskirts of town that long ago replaced them.

Westport 47283 (population 1,379) seems to be doing better than many small Midwestern towns. Though many of the big old buildings are shuttered, they’ve still got a Dairy Queen.

The Dollar General — and Dairy Queen.

The next “woe is Westport” lament I hear about our own town’s retail fortunes, I’ll be thinking of the identical rack of brightly hued ladies and children’s summer fashions I kept noticing stationed outside the front door of the dozens of Dollar General stores I passed driving through these hamlets. If cheap had a smell, I would’ve had to roll the windows up.

This is MAGA Country, to be sure. I drove by Trump stores in four states, including a large, Trump-bespoked RV set up in the parking lot of the Wounded Knee Museum (commemorating a massacre of Lakota Indians by the U.S. Cavalry; think about that). I don’t recall seeing one Biden lawn sign in 4,700 miles, though I was pleased to see a plurality of Black Lives Matters signs on the tidy block in Omaha where my grandparents lived from the 1920s to 1970.

A Trump banner, near the Westport, Indiana water tower. (Photos/Scott Smith)

Point is, the voters in Westport, Indiana, and in all the rural towns beyond, while not large in number anymore, hold more electoral sway than us here in 06880 or in blue states. While I can’t fathom why they’ve put their faith in the poseur populist that is our current President, seeing what they’ve lost and what remains, I can imagine why the fellow in Westport 47283 with the big Trump flag on his front porch would take a flyer on the promise to make his America great again.

52 responses to “[OPINION] A Trip Through The Westport Heartland

  1. Tom Feeley Sr

    This article has a smell: pompous 😂

  2. Dan. As usual. Elegant, articulate and empathetically written. My parents lived out in the Black Hills for a while and I know of exactly what you speak.

    Loved reading this.

    Thank you again.


  3. Eric Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Humming “What do the simple folk do?” as he drives through the cornfields biting the hands that feed him.

  4. David A. Cleveland

    Aren’t you the administrator of this site? But I guess you have to stick in your liberal 2 cents

    • David,

      Of course I am the “administrator” of this site. But I have no idea what your second sentence means.

    • Kathryn Sirico

      Agree – can’t anyone write without their negative opinion on OUR President?

    • Linda Grabill Parker

      An interesting post about Westport , IN .Realistic observations of rural Midwest agricultural communities , as well . Perhaps someone will post comments on Westport 0R , or Westport , WA .- both rural fishing communities for sport and industrial fishing – located on the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean .

  5. Raymond F Skidgell

    Perhaps mr. Smith you should take a stroll through Portland Seattle Chicago and New York City and tell us how wonderful these democratic-run cities are doing. I’ll take Trumps America over that.

  6. Dorothy Robertshaw

    I always love reading about the history of Westport and especially the photos thank you

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Stacy Prince

    I really enjoyed this piece. Thank you, Scott Smith (and Dan)!

  8. Kathleen McGrath Boggs

    Thanks, Scott. Your story highlights the sad fact that America’s food system is owned by Big Business and BIG Foreign companies (China, Brazil, etc) – as the expense of the local, family farmer. Not to mention that the local people are left with Food Deserts and Dollar Trees. The future of our food (= power) is scary. Buy and support local farmers. Perhaps spend a little more on food – but less at the Doctor.

  9. Hi Dan-

    Thank you for sharing Scott’s story about a drive through the American heartland. He captures the feeling I often had when I’ve driven through parts of upstate New York and western Pennsylvania- preCOVID19. Towns past their prime, factories (some operating and some shuttered) and lots of working farms with barns and silos.

    But- I must comment on some of the early comments-
    I don’t smell the “pompous” odor that Tom Feeley Sr notes.- I smell notes of sadness and nostalgia. Maybe a hint of hope.

    I have to disagree with Eric Buchroeder SHS’70- I don’t see Scott biting any hands, being condescending or humming as he travels through our heartland- I just see him painting a picture of parts of our country that many of us don’t get to see as we fly from coast to coast or speed through flatlands on our superhighways.

    And finally- I don’t understand half of David Cleveland’s short comment. Yes, You (Dan) are the administrator of this blog- so that first part is true, true and related. (and I think everyone can agree that you are a very good administrator and WRITER). What confuses me is the second half of David’s comment “But I guess you have to stick in your liberal 2 cents..”. The article is Scott’s. The words are Scott’s. Are you being blamed by David for posting it?? Are you being blamed by David because Scott wrote at the end the article a final paragraph laying out Scott’s political leanings?

    “While I can’t fathom why they’ve put their faith in the poseur populist that is our current President, seeing what they’ve lost and what remains, I can imagine why the fellow in Westport 47283 with the big Trump flag on his front porch would take a flyer on the promise to make his America great again.”

    Some would say a lot worse about this current president and unlike Scott-they might not be able to imagine anyone taking a flyer on re electing him on the promise to “make America great again.”

    Pretty tame comment (poseur populist) compared to the comments our current president routinely tweets about anyone and everyone who disagree with him – Republican, Democrat or Independent.

    When do we get back to the point and place where we all realize that we are all good Americans with different political opinions, that we are allowed to disagree in this country and that hopefully we are all good citizens who will vote and choose by election, as set out in our constitution, our next president.

    In the mean time I hope we can all just enjoy Scott’s travelogue as posted by Dan.

    • Jay Walshon MD FACEP

      I echo what Steve Stein just posted, and also enjoyed the writer’s eloquent view from his window. His “political” opinion about “OUR president” is exceedingly tame under the circumstances, and pales in comparison to that which own family has exposed.

    • Ray O'Sullivan

      My question is would Dan insert a story that was written in a glowing manner of the President? I highly doubt that he would. There are many out there, but Dan with his liberal 2 cents decided to post this article by another 2 cent liberal. What is Scott’s perception of what is going on in Portland and Seattle and all the other crap hole cities that are now run by the leftist politicians?

      • Wrong, Ray! I am happy to post a glowing story about our president, provided there is some reasonable hook to Westport. (Scott used a contrast between Westport, Connecticut and Westport, Indiana.) In other words, if there is a way to tie in something political with Westport, I’m glad to take a look. But please don’t send along a general “here’s why I support the president” piece. That’s not what “06880” is about.

        By the way, what is a “2-cent liberal”? I prefer to call myself a “progressive.”

        • Lynn Untermeyer Miller

          Great answer, Dan.
          I do wish though, that people would keep in mind that this IS your blog, and as such…
          Your are indeed a treasure (as I may have mentioned at least once or twice!).
          I loved seeing these beautiful pictures.

          • Thanks, Lynn! You rock!

          • Mary Schmerker

            EVERYONE ( caps on purpose) who lives within the 06880 zip code and even those near by should be singing the praises of Dan’s postings, he is informative, writes with exceptional skill and right now should be deeply grateful for the way he has kept everyone up to date on where power and internet was available, stop lights, trees down, blocking roads, a local weatherman who correctly identified that a tornado had touched down…..
            How I wish we had had something even close during Hurricane Harvey. It would have saved lives and property. I Thank you Dan for those who do not realize the resource that you provide….

            • Thank you, Mary! You made my day (and it’s been a long week leading up to it, for sure!). As I’ve said, I am honored to do what I do, and proud to do it in a community like this. I am particularly glad that you still feel a part of “06880,” from half a continent away. That’s the magic of this place, and why — despite all that’s going on — we all do what we can to help. We are all in this together!

            • Wendy Cusick

              Excellent statement Mary, thank you.
              Dan, took the extra step and set up a satellite office.
              That’s dedication
              Thank you, Dan keep up the awesome work you do

      • John D. McCarthy

        Oh, you mean the Blue “Crap Hole” Cities and States that pay for and support the Red States. Got it.

  10. Michael Calise

    And Trump created these changes which you bemoan and a different President will restore the past! Give us a break!

    • Hi Mr Calise

      I think a different president will give us all – Republican or Democrat- a better future!!

      A different president who might set an example for citizens by simply wearing a mask to to help stop a pandemic (unless you think the virus is just fake news). One who might accept that coal is no longer king and should be replaced by clean energy (unless you think coal is not the dirtiest fuel we burn). One who might be at least be a little afraid of climate change (unless you believe rising tides, more frequent forest fires and melting polar ice are all pointless fictions to be ignored). One who might say something when he finally finds out that the Russians might be paying a bounty to kill our soldiers- (at least a say it isn’t so Putin)! One who doesn’t vilify his political opponents and call them stupid, lazy, or ugly (unless you think is okay to say little Adam Schitt, lying Ted, little Marco or Crazy Nancy to describe people).

      I cannot believe if DJT was one of your kids that you wouldn’t at least threaten to wash his mouth with soap if he doesn’t stop saying some of the vile things he has said about women, blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, Jews, shit hole countries and Democrats!!

      Just part of a conversation and some of my thoughts.

  11. Bill Strittmatter

    Of all the things in Scott’s article the thing that disturbed me most (even more than the lack of a Whole Foods) was the existence of a water tower smack in the middle of a residential area. Not only that, but one that is ~130’ tall, garishly painted and with only a chain link fence for screening. How can these people live that way? Oh, the humanity. /s

    Nice piece Scott.

    • You don’t have to go to Westport, Indiana to see these.
      Your next door neighbors to your west in Norwalk have quite a few.
      One right behind Stew’s on Filbert Rd, Old Witch Court in Rowayton and Price Place off of US RT 1 near Best Buy.
      They will be building a brand new one soon and replacing an old one just like they did on Grandview Ave.
      These are the ones I know about. There’s probably a few more hidden in plan sight.

  12. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    I will sidestep any of this political stuff. I enjoyed Scott’s well-written piece; I thought it an accurate–though sad–painting of current rural life in the midwest. I, too, went on a cross country trip (ages ago, in the ’90’s) and I, too, stopped in a Westport. I went quite a bit out of my way simply to be able to say to someone “I live in a different Westport!” Turns out Westport, Washington, didn’t hold much interest for me, though I didn’t give it much time. I did manage to secure a souvenir cap, thought, which seemed oh-so-important at the time! I probably should’ve just stuck with the closer Westport: Westport, Massachusetts. I went there more recently, though all I know is the harbor, which is notable for its insane, harrowing current at point of entry.

  13. Trish Leavitt

    I grew up in Indiana, and I thought it was a good descriptive article. I even have a distant relative in Westport, and it is very rural even compared to other Indiana towns. It’s not good or bad- just a simpler life with much less stress. Of course this Westport does not have the water views. I think you can get a house with several acres for $200,000 or so. I don’t think you would find a house over 2,000 sq. ft. We were in Maine this past week, and hiked around Westport Island, a very small, scenic town. It’s kind of fun to find other Westports, all of which are very different.

  14. How can you get from Portland, Oregon to Washington? Simple: take the ferry at Westport, Oregon, across the Columbia River, and then you’re in Washington — the state of. The preceding thread has been among the most interesting forums in the years I’ve been following 06880. If nothing else, the “incumbent” at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue certainly does stir the pot. And thanks, Dan, for being Mister Administrator!

  15. I find this article bittersweet. Bitter in the sense that 06880 is the one place I found I could go and get away from politics. So much for that. That being said, the sweet part is Westport CT conservatives are speaking out. Prior to this article I thought I was the only one in town.

    • Hi Mr Cook

      I am reminded of Forrest Gump- “Life is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you’re going to get!” Bittersweet!

      I think the town’s conservatives got ignited by Scott’s final sentence comment- poseur president. But they missed a great article on Westport Indiana. The conservatives and you certainly had this day early and often by my count- especially from the very first comment. Honestly- most conservative comments were entirely tangential to the posted article that Scott wrote.

      I think of myself as an American. I served our country during the Vietnam War. I think of myself as an Independent- socially liberal and fiscally responsible.

      Please for a moment forget about the label conservative- and think about what actually makes you think you are a “conservative”

      Keep taxes as low as possible- I agree. Good education and town facilities for the folks who live here- I agree. Good fiscal management- I agree. .

      Are you walking around without a mask? Have your rights been abridged because you were told to wear a mask so you or someone close to you wouldn’t die? Or were you told that CDC said this American pandemic could be ended by October if everyone observed the rules- wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. New Zealand was warned the same time as the USA. They have not had a positive Covid test in 90 days!! Why? See the above 3 rules.

      When was the last time you burned trash in your back yard or must you take it to the town trash facility to keep the air cleaner? Are your rights infringed on when you buckle up for safety in your car? I am sure we are both doing the right thing! The smart things to do!

      When was the last time you spit on a sidewalk, urinated on a wall etc? Did those rules abridge your rights or do you have to see the problem to believe in it or must you also step in it as well. If a doctor tells you don’t do this or you may die- do you feel compelled to do it anyway?. Getting the virus quickly changes your mindset. It changed Herman Cain’s lifestyle quickly. He was a conservative who didn’t believe in masks.

      Should Irish, Italian, Asian, Native American, Black, Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish kids have equal opportunities for their health, sports and education. I am sure you would say yes to everything so far.

      So I guess I am as conservative as you or you are as liberal as me.

      We can both salute the flag and say the pledge together!!

      Just sharing my thoughts with fellow townspeople!!

  16. Deb Rosenfield

    This chart from the census bureau shows the decline in US exports since 2017 (and the increases in exports each year before that) by principal end-use category. If you break down the agricultural exports further, what we see is that the only area close to where it had been are “processed foods,” such as processed meats/poultry. We are now a net importer of agricultural products. China used to be a large customer, particularly for soybeans, but no longer thanks to US policy over the past 3 years. With a continuation of the current administration, we will most likely see further erosions in our agricultural community. I was an Aggie at Cornell in the 1970s and worked for Pfizer’s Agricultural Division for 10 years after undergraduate school. At that time, agriculture was reason for our positive trade surplus. We fed the world. I remember traveling through the Midwest with our two staff veterinarians (both of whom were African-American, btw) meeting with hog farmers, dairy producers,corn and soybean producers and Pfizer even owned the company which provided the breeding stock for Purdue chickens at that time. These small farm towns were booming. I met with 4-H groups and kids were excited about their futures in a farm economy. Even with consolidation of farms, under US-based companies, agriculture was still going strong. But, the faulty trade policies of the past 3 years have hustled the decline. Farmers know this. They’ve had $28billion of Fed money given to them because of the ridiculous trade wars this administration has started, so, sure, they might still hang a sign with his name out front since he gave them some money. It’s akin to giving people unemployed by this administration’s disastrous covid mismanagement a paltry $600 (soon to be much less, if anything) to compensate for the White House’s malfeasance. Neither can be kept up indefinitely, only farming takes a bigger hit due to the capital intensive nature and the need to be able to plan a season ahead. The point is that the deceleration of our agricultural trade was caused by the trump administration’s lack of knowledge of how our basic industries work within a global setting. This country cannot sustain 4 more years. And farmers know this. https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/SAEXP.pdf

    • Wendy Cusick

      Very informative especially from your point of view of being in the agricultural field.

  17. Rosemary Milligan

    It seems I am the only one who finds the following comment offensive: “If cheap had a smell I would have had to roll the window up,” Nasty and not necessary.

    • James Waldron

      Agree Rosemary. In the Westport Monopoly game version, I bet Scott buys up, ‘Pretentious Place’ every time he lands on it.

  18. Thank you, Dan, for being open to sharing my musings with your readers. I wholeheartedly agree with Mary’s comment about all the good you bring to our community. Thanks as well to Steve and the thoughtful views of others that add to this conversation. The criticisms don’t surprise me, as they are familiar tropes of personal attacks, whataboutism, projection, and even a funny Freudian slip or two. To Rosemary, I would suggest googling “impact of Dollar General,” and you will find harsh assessments of their role in rural communities. To cite one article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/pamdanziger/2018/12/30/will-dollar-stores-be-the-end-of-local-american-retail-ilsr-seems-to-think-so/#4eb211ac6194

    • Bill Strittmatter

      Although one might view the Forbe’s article as a harsh assessment of Dollar General, in reality it is just one more example of how, for better or worse, a market economy works. Most consumers, including Westporters, generally prefer to pay less for any given quality and quantity of a particular product. If someone can supply that by being more productive or efficient, they will inevitably displace the higher cost provider. That is a good thing for us as consumers. The knock on effect, of course, is that some people lose their jobs which, in a vacuum, is not a good thing for the displaced individuals.

      That is true in retailing just as it is true in steel making, auto making, agriculture, consumer electronics, major appliances, light bulbs and pretty much any product out there. You may be willing to pay more for better real or perceived quality (and maybe even service), but at the end of the day very few people (Americans, anyway) are willing to pay significantly higher prices for goods and services solely to keep more of their fellow citizens employed. Just like you won’t demand coal fired power to keep those West Virginia coal miners employed.

      Face it, we prefer lower prices and cleaner air and if some folks are displaced in flyover country, well, I guess that’s just too bad. They should learn to code or something. Certainly one wouldn’t want punitive tariffs on imported goods allowing US manufacturing to compete with low cost off shore manufacturers and labor. Sure that would mean that more of our fellow citizens could earn a living wage but who wants to pay $1000 for a flatscreen TV when you can get one for $499 from Korea? Or pay more for someone to cut the grass rather than exploit cheap immigrant labor? In that context, roll down the window anywhere in the US and you get a whiff of “cheap”.

      Of course, lucky for us the local economy long since moved past agriculture and manufacturing to such value added things such as financial services, consulting, the law or working for the government. Those other people should have gotten with the program sooner.

      So, is it Dollar General’s fault? Or all of ours? Or is the aggregate economy better off with higher standards of living pretty much across the board, albeit with dislocations?

    • Mary Cookman Schmerker

      Thank you. I live in MAGA country now but not a rural area. Over the years we have traveled much of the area you described. When our now grown and I’m cringing to admit, our middle aged sons were at home, we tried to visit as many National Parks as we could and see other ways of life. You captured the rural life very well. I wished I had know to put you in touch with our son with the “Journalism Background.” He presently lives in Colorado but has lived in Montana and Utah and for a time was the travel writer for Utah.com
      Next time you want to escape Zoom meetings tell Dan and we’ll put you in touch with him.

  19. Elaine Marino

    Westport, Indiana looks peaceful and orderly, at least. I would prefer to live there rather than in cities such as Portland (OR), Seattle and Richmond, which are being slowly destroyed by riots:

    8/11/20: Richmond approves $500,000 for businesses damaged during riots:

    8/10/20: Seattle Amazon store vandalized by rioters

    8/10/20: Seattle Whole Foods vandalized

    8/6/20: (Portland’s) Mayor Wheeler on rioters setting fire at Portland police building: “You are attempting to commit murder”

    Mr. Smith certainly is entitled to his opinion, but I cannot agree that communities such as Westport, Indiana are lamenting “what they’ve lost and what remains” as they watch what is happening in three of reportedly more “woke” cities in this country. If “anarchy” has a smell, be prepared to roll up your windows as you drive through certain parts of Portland, Seattle and Richmond at night this month – if you dare.

    • Tracy MacMath

      One of my closest friends lives in Seattle, and I normally visit every summer. Seattle is nowhere near as bad as you make it out to be. Not even close. “Seattle is slowly being destroyed by riots” – talk about hyperbole!

  20. Jamie Phillips

    Must every “never trumper “ make a personal comment on our POTUS ?
    Your lack of understanding of a patriots soul simply erases the taste I have ever had your art with words. I am Midwesterner ( Missouri) born and raised. Connecticut has been my home since 1970. I am an American . I love USA and respect my presidents- even th e ones I dont thrill over. A patriots soul – lets talk about that sometime. Be Well

  21. Linda Grabill Parker

    An interesting post about Westport , IN .Realistic observations of rural Midwest agricultural communities , as well . Perhaps someone will post comments on Westport 0R , or Westport , WA .- both rural fishing communities for sport and industrial fishing – located on the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean .

  22. Hanne Jeppesen

    I was not going to comment on this, but find the different post interesting. I’m disturbed how everyone seem to have a need to label someone, based on one sentence or opinion. I consider myself a little left of center, but really dislike to even have to define that. I comment on other blogs, and when I post I’m a middle of the road democrat, I’m told no such thing exists. Comforting to know someone who reads a few of my posts know me better than I do. I’m socially liberal, somewhat fiscal conservative, not big on everything having to be politically correct, but believe in treating everyone with respect and have some sense of decorum (one reason not a fan of the currant president) strong supporter of Israel (lived there for a short time), tough on violent crime. However, that apparently, to some makes me a flaming liberal, which to some conservatives is about the same as being branded a witch back in the middle ages. The US is my adopted country, when I lived in Westport in 1967 and 68, the country was in turmoil, especially 68, but I’m frankly disturbed by the division I see in this country today, everyone quick to judge, seem to be little room for a gray area, and unlike in 68 I don’t see many leader trying to bring us together. Unfortunately the ones that tried that in 68 (RFK and MLK) was assassinated.

  23. Elaine Marino

    Mr. Smith reported not seeing any “Biden” lawn signs in Westport, Indiana but (happily, one might presume) reported seeing “Black Lives Matter” signs on the “tidy block” where his grandparents once lived in Omaha. Given what Black Lives Matter (the organization) is up to in Chicago these days, one wonders if there will be any “tidy blocks” left in that city:

    “A Black Lives Matter Chicago organizer has defended the mass looting that took place in the city early Monday, calling it ‘reparations.’ Ariel Atkins spoke outside a police station in the South Loop on 18th and South State Street on Monday, where protesters had gathered to call for the release of those who were arrested. ‘I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes,’ Atkins said, according to NBC Chicago.”



    Here is NPR’s take on the mass looting in Chicago: http://www.npr.org/2020/08/11/901219045/chicago-authorities-aim-to-prevent-another-night-of-looting

    I will take “the smell of cheap”, Dollar Stores and Dairy Queens over “LOOT BACK” signs any day.

  24. I started my morning with a fresh cup of coffee at my desk, the aroma of bacon cooking, popping in the background. I was hoping to enjoy a good article of the plight of midwest America. I was wrong. Instead I read condescending observations of a community left behind. The last paragraph left a bad taste in my Black Rifle Coffee brew.

    Here are some facts:
    – Nearly 7 million jobs have been created nationwide since President Trump’s election, including more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs.
    – Last year, the unemployment rate reached its lowest level in half a century.
    – Unemployment rates for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Americans without a high school degree, and disabled Americans have logged record lows.
    – The Trump economy is bringing workers off the sidelines after they were left behind for years.
    – The prime-age labor force has expanded by 2.3 million under President Trump after shrinking by almost 1.6 million under the previous administration.

    – Nearly 2.5 million Americans have been lifted out of poverty, including nearly 1.4 million children.
    – The poverty rates for African Americans and Hispanic Americans hit new lows in 2018.
    – Wages are rising faster for the bottom 10 percent of earners than for the top 10 percent of earners, and wage growth for employees has surpassed wage growth for managers.
    – Since President Trump’s historic tax reform, the lowest earners have enjoyed faster wage gains than every other income group.
    – The net wealth held by the bottom half of households has grown by 47 percent—more than three times the rate of increase for the top 1 percent of households.

    – Real household wealth has increased by nearly $12 trillion since the start of 2017.
    – The President’s historic efforts to cut costly regulations are projected to increase household incomes by $3,100 a year.
    – The domestic energy boom is resulting in real savings for families.
    – The shale energy revolution saves American families an average of $2,500 a year.
    – The President is expanding affordable healthcare and child care options for families.
    – Eliminating the individual mandate penalty, expanding Association Health Plans, and expanding short-term plans are expected to generate $450 billion in economic benefits.
    – Doubling the Child Tax Credit has saved nearly 40 million families an average of $2,200.

    As someone who lived in rural Pennsylvania (otherwise known as Pennsyltucky) the issues go much deeper. But leave it to a pompous “woke” liberal to write an article about a culture he knows nothing about.