If you live in the farmlands of America, or in the vast mountainous regions far away from cities, a University of California Berkeley instructor wants you to know you’re a bad person who has made bad choices and you deserve to be uncomfortable. The obviously brilliant person who came up with these groundbreaking conclusions is named Jackson Kernion, a self-described “Graduate Student Instructor at University of California.” The since-deleted tweet that got him in trouble read, “I unironically embrace the bashing of rural Americans. They, as a group, are bad people who have made bad life decisions. Some, I assume are good people. But this nostalgia for some imagined pastoral way of life is stupid and we should shame people who aren’t pro-city.”
Kernion began the thread by advocating against affordable healthcare solutions in rural America, saying that “Rural Healthcare Should be expensive! And that expense should be borne by those who choose rural America!”
He argued that promoting a need for “affordable rural healthcare” is equivalent to arguing for rural Americans “to be subsidized by those who choose a more efficient way of life.”
“Same goes for rural broadband. And gas taxes,” Kernion added.
“It should be uncomfortable to live in rural America. It should be uncomfortable to not move,” he wrote.
Kernion tried to justify his statements with economic arguments about not making rural life “*artificially* cheaper,” but quickly devolved into personal attacks against rural and not “pro-city” Americans.
The good news is that Kernion had the self-awareness to realize he had insulted half of America and deleted his inflammatory statements, issuing a half-hearted apology. “Pretty sure I did a bad tweet here. Gonna delete it,” he wrote. “I’ll want to reflect on it more later, but my tone is way crasser and meaner than I like to think I am.” We’ve all put out a bad tweet here and there, but Kernion’s long rant about rural folks sure seemed like he meant every word and that his tone was exactly how he meant it.
Since the online kerfuffle, Kernion has either been banned from Twitter or has left, because his page no longer exists. But the Twittersphere isn’t going to let it go any time soon.
Not a proud moment for @UCBerkeley…
— Travis Bartley (@TravisDBartley) November 13, 2019
The bigger fact at hand- folks like #jacksonkernion (“city dwellers”) are simply co-dependent leeches for conveniences found in the city, whereas the “rural dwellers” are self-reliant & independent. (Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest will naturally weed out the co-dependents)
— Liberty Prince-Johnson (@MizLiberty) November 12, 2019
— Rep. Allen Skillicorn (@allenskillicorn) November 13, 2019
I’d like to invite Kernion to come spend some time in the woods in rural America with the locals and see how long he lasts without a latte and a salon appointment. It’s a shame that the young men of today don’t seem to understand what is necessary and good about knowing how to survive without modern conveniences. Rural America isn’t looking back and pretending to live some nostalgic former pastoral life. That life never stopped.
I have chickens that need food and water every day or they’ll die and I won’t be able to trade fresh eggs for produce. My neighbors have livestock to feed and care for so that our community can fill our freezers with fresh meat that never sees the inside of a grocery store. Small farmers were concerned about hormones and corporate farming abuses for years before PETA got involved.
The vineyard owner across the way tends his vines like small children so that wine can be sent across the country to the parties of the elites who sip it while trading insults about the man who made it and others like him while they themselves could never turn grapes into fine wine, let alone sell it for profit.
This is actual everyday life on the farms across America, filling the plates of the city-dwellers who can’t imagine traversing a road that hasn’t been plowed and salted and don’t know the first thing about how to get the milk they rely on for their half-caff cappuccinos if it doesn’t get delivered to them via app.
I don’t look forward to the day when, say, the power is shut off for millions of Californians and they have no idea what to do without Candy Crush. If that day ever comes, we here in the rural lands of America will not be here criticizing the poor choices that soft men like Kernion made by relying too heavily on smartphones and take-out instead of honing his basic human skills of survival and self-reliance. We will be here, willing to show people like Kernion what’s great about us and our chosen way of life while we pull them out of darkness and chaos.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter