Appalachia: Can the American Dream Return?

“Whatever talents I have, I almost squandered until a handful of loving people rescued me.” J.D. Vance
He has become the voice of an unheard America. A part of America that has lost the American Dream. The dream that, if you work hard, you can make a good life.
J.D. Vance grew up in Rust Belt, USA. His grandparents had migrated from Kentucky to Ohio–but never escaped their hillbilly roots–until Vance graduated from Yale Law School. Yet he doesn’t seek to¬†disassociate himself from his forebears. He carries with him lessons they taught.
His journey to Yale is remarkable. But many of his peers remain in Appalachia living unremarkable lives. Their dreams are not remarkable. They have lost hope.
Many analysts blame the economic downturn for this lack of hope. But as with every sociological phenomenon, there are many factors.¬† Continue reading “Appalachia: Can the American Dream Return?”

The Food of the Soul

“As Chesterton saw, it is the search for truth that keeps us sane, because it always brings us back to reality. And why is reality so important? It is what we are made for. Reality is the food of the soul.” Stratford Caldecott
In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance includes a moment from his youth when he didn’t understand the difference between intelligence and knowledge” (59). A classmate had shown off his multiplication skills. Vance had yet to realize the concept even existed.
He felt stupid. In response to his sense of failure, Vance’s grandfather devoted time once a week to drilling the youngster in mathematical concepts. Papaw showed patience when Vance got frustrated. Papaw crowned success with ice cream. The lessons stuck.
But Papaw wasn’t the only one to enrich Vance’s mind. His mother introduced him to the library and encouraged reading in the home. His father introduced him to faith.
Papaw was a rock of stability for the boy. Mom? A sea of dysfunction. Dad? Absent in his early years. But what they gave was enough. Small meals of wonder. Continue reading “The Food of the Soul”