More thoughts on Oldistan

Some further thoughts on Oldistan, continuing from a previous post… One spot-on quote from the Artvoice story:

Where there’s decline, and a low birth rate, there’s ugly politics. The short-term politics becomes all about blame, and not about hope… Students of policy and economics know that we should be talking about regional planning across the metro area (as they do just across the border in growing, leafy, density-designing, regionalized Southern Ontario) and about reviving our own pretty city and mature suburbs with rehabs, flowers, well-tended seniors and pampered grandkids. Instead, our politics is a rancid scramble to claim the few remaining crumbs.

That’s a good characterization of New York and Onondaga County politics. Not just politics, I suppose. Syracuse is a great place to live if you have one of the few stable jobs available — in higher ed, in a state or city job, or if you’ve got seniority at the top-rated TV station, or something (well, maybe some of these specific jobs are not safe — ask Mike Price?) But there’s not a lot of room at the trough. There is a lot of opportunity elsewhere in the nation — but even so, you’re still serving the same global corporate interests, not really local interests, in most places. That doesn’t appeal to me, either, especially in an America where politics have become so meaningless. I still think the best fighting chance for a just and sustainable “middle way” is right here.

So, what “hope” are we being offered? I hate to sound like such a downer all the time, but both parties seem to extend to us “different” solutions, different turns in the maze, that lead to the same end. It’s possible to very consciously hate the rancid “crumb-scrum,” yet to feel deeply ambivalent about the “alternative” as well. The Artvoice story does not address this, and doesn’t even appear to recognize that this ambivalence is very present in the minds (or at least hearts) of “Oldistan” voters. An ambivalence perhaps unknown to “Youngistan.”

One thought on “More thoughts on Oldistan

  1. Simon St.Laurent

    One quick thought on Oldistan. Much of this story, to me, echoes the way that the rest of the US saw the South a century ago. Back then, Upstate was happening, and the South was definitely not.

    Today that dynamic’s reversed. I don’t think it’s because one place got intrinsically better than the other. Business priorities, air conditioning, automobiles, civil rights, and a lot of other things changed.

    Give Oldistan a bit of time, though – Upstate will rise again! (I think.)

Comments are closed.