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I grew up in small rust belt city, went off to college and spent my career in a wealthy professional enclave, and this really hits home with me. As a teenager, I was made miserable by what I called the “small town mindset” and couldn’t wait to “get out.” Looking back more than 30 years later I have huge regrets about what has happened to my hometown, which post-NAFTA has lost 90% of its factory jobs turned into a meth, heroin and coke infested hell hole.

Just because I as a front row kid didn’t fit in where I grew up doesn’t mean they deserved what was done to them economically. Ironically, another aspect of their mindset — an implicit trust that their country would do right by them if they always “did the right thing”— was cynically turned against them in the form of fake patriotic appeals by the same scumbag politicians whose policies destroyed their livelihoods.

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