Friday, September 24, 2010

More Logs on the Fire: A Diffle County Update, Part 1

Here in Diffle County, there has been a good deal of controversy brewing over the planned construction of  a Nother County Community College, new Diffle County Campus.  It seems there are a few white folk from the Western edge of the County who don't care much about education- especially when it involves black and Hispanic children from the more "developed areas" of the Diffle County.   To understand, we need a short lesson.

There has been a long history in Diffle County of white folk.  They founded the place back in the 1700's, their grandpappy's moved rocks, built the stone rows, tried and failed to grow crops in the poor bony soil. When the farming and tanning faded out, the trees grew back and their pappys' took to hunting varmits like squirrel, deer, bear, rabbit, and whatever else popped its head out from behind a white Pine tree.  Some folk built cabins and offered them out for families, hunting, boy scouts.  Diffle County became a big ol' resort and before you could say "Da Bronx", white city folk started visiting our little mountain county.

Sometime around the 1970's, the white city folk got bored and stopped vacationing here.  The resorts had grown and some were for honeymooners only and did OK, but the family resorts with the big table dinners, shuffleboard courts, concrete pools, and Church service on Sunday- they died slow, lingering, run-down deaths.  Once again, Diffle County struggled mightily.  White folk making minimum wage at the resorts turning down beds, cooking meals, and mowing the lawn lost their jobs.  Diffle County was in decline.

That doesn't mean the locals left the area. Quite the contrary, the taxes were cheap, the land plentiful, and food pranced in the woods on Bambi legs. But their children saw the county as a big fricking dead end and they bailed.  What to do?   With so many beautiful woods, cool summer breezes, and plenty of room for everyone, why not subdivide off a few lots and sell them to those city folk for second homes.

By the 1980's a few homes turned into thousands of homes. How did that happen?  A few of the smarter locals, meaning the greedy ones, called themselves builders, then learned the trade.  When they started running out of white folk to sell homes to,  they looked around the closest city and saw a new market- black and Hispanics, living in tiny homes, with no yard or trees, and paying more money to live in the city than it costs to live in a fine home in Diffle County.  The real fun had begun.

Call it genius marketing, call it good builder fortune, call it Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hunting for minorities to lend money to for brand new homes, call it luck- but it all came together like the perfect storm.  Roads were built, streets were paved, houses were constructed and people came, oh how the people came to Diffle County.

By the year 2000, everything had changed.  People of all races, religions, and countries poured into the county and began commuting to the city, 1-1/2 hours away on a good day.  There were seldom any good days, however.  Because back before the rainbow folks showed up, Diffle County was essentially a poor county.

They didn't get money for a high speed rail to the city. They didn't even try to get it.  They didn't improve their sewer systems, they just made people install septic on their brand new lots.

On 9/11/2001, the terrorists attacked and the exodus from the city increased dramatically.  The more urban centers of the county began to change.  Stores took on new and unusual flavors. Woolworths had long since vanished and JJ Newberry's was next.   People fled the city for a new life. However, the commute sucked and soon folks started looking for local jobs. But guess what?  There weren't any local jobs except tradesman- building homes.  The local white folks had been busy all this time learning trades so they could replace their old shacks with  brand new modular homes.  It was a lovely industry that went well with hunting and fishing.

The locals complained bout the city folk, but they also knew their bread was being buttered by those fancy new homes. After awhile, the white folk began to notice the rainbow folks in all their colors and ethnicity were just about everywhere.  But the white folk felt progressive because they voted three white women onto the County Commissioner seats.  Locals would grumble about the city folk, then pat each other on the back about their elected officials.

In 2008, the housing market collapsed. Diffle County was broke and the white folk lost their jobs.  But truth be told, they were losing the jobs already to cheap East European and Mexican labor before the crash.

Tomorrow: Part 2 -  The parallel rise of education and ignorance.
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