For this week’s Religious Socialism post, we lift up and link to a new Patheos article by our own RS Working Group member Rev. C. Don Jones, a United Methodist Church pastor who is active in the Knoxville Chapter of the DSA. Don reflects on the new film Hillbilly Elegy, directed by Ron Howard and based on the book of the same name from author J. D. Vance:
“The message (of Hillbilly Elegy) is simple; poor Appalachians make poor choices. If we only chose differently, we could escape to internships in a high-powered Washington law firm. Personal choices matter. But one must have options . . .
“This culture is alive. And it can improve. The global neo-liberal economy has caused a large gap between rich and poor here too. Increased poverty has contributed to addiction rates and other social ills.
“Appalachian culture has more to celebrate than Ron Howard, J.D. Vance, and our own politicians would have us believe. We could enhance our culture by decentralizing medical care and providing new resources for education. Changing the criminal justice system to end taking advantage of the poor would help immensely . . . We have a long way to go. People who are not merely tangentially connected to the culture will remedy the problem.”
The full article, “My Hillbilly Eulogy” is available here.
Photo by Appalachia Service Project, CC By 2.0