These days the phase, “America First” is unlikely to produce a purely neutral reaction in anyone polled about it. For some, it is a powerful affirmation of what ought to be our government’s first priorities. For others, it is an isolationist statement, a dangerous signal to our allies, and particularly so as globalization intensifies.
I see merit in the latter view, but given our political climate, productive conversation requires nuance. This isn’t to say populism is always without negative consequences; history is littered with examples of them. However, our cities and towns face nontrivial barriers. The migration of our best and brightest to cities hasn’t come without cost to the communities from which they’re drawn, and the divide between urban and rural areas is increasingly a proxy, among other things, for our political differences. Continue reading “Reimaging Nationalism, Community, and Place”