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A Thinky about our hometown hero of the day - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
A Thinky about our hometown hero of the day
A question, as I run out the door and don't have ten hours to blow Wikiing about it right now: is Obama also our first President in a long time, and maybe ever FWIW in terms of historical comparisons, to come from The City, IE to have a background that's largely urban (and major-urban at that) as opposed to rural? And what is that going to mean, in terms of a world that's recently flipped to being majority-urban itself? (Gun-control and population issues like transit/transit-related-pollution and crime come immediately to mind, are there others y'all can think of?)

feeling: pondery

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jrittenhouse From: jrittenhouse Date: November 6th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
He's the only President to claim Chicago as home.

Reagan lived here for a couple of years as a toddler, and spent his childhood in a town far west of here in the state.
Lincoln came to Illinois as a young man and lived in and around Springfield.
Grant lived for a while in Galena, just before and during he early Civil War period.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: November 6th, 2008 08:19 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I didn't mean this city specifically, more the concept of The City, IE a conurbation of a size larger than anything where you know everybody's business and if you don't like it you can just move out of sight of the smoke from their cabin...
randomdreams From: randomdreams Date: November 6th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
There's a strong incentive for American Presidential candidates to create a perception of themselves as being rural, because Americans like that, but it's pretty much made-up. Both the Bushes were Connecticut urbanites. Gerald Ford grew up in Omaha, which is a city of sorts (did you know he was named Leslie Lynch King when he was a kid?) (and that he was never elected?) Nixon grew up in not-particularly-rural Southern California.
Clinton and Carter were, indeed, pretty rural in their upbringing.
I think partly it's just that we've been electing such old people to the Presidency, and we weren't an urban country until WWII. Until the 1980's, we'd never had a president who'd been born in a hospital.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: November 6th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Welllll, urbanites to what degree, though? Because there's a big difference between Omaha in the '20s, and does my kid pass a crackhouse on the way to school; I have a country-mouse cousin from WI who just about quakes in fear when she comes to my place, and I just stare at her in disbelief because I know from a street-level perspective how much better this neighborhood is than the last place. I guess where I'm going with the question is the shift this is going to be from thinking of a big empty continent that we can keep filling up with people and trash indefinitely, to a sense that maybe we're kind of stuck with each other and we had better learn to at least arrive at a working truce -- I do think that Obama's repeated emphasis on the responsibility we bear to each other is rooted in the sheer population density of basing yourself in an urban area of this size; you may or may not know your neighbors, as such, but you damn well know that you're not living in some isolated bubble where you have the privilege of pretending that they don't exist at all.
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