The world next door

A new phenomenon in the heartland
There is a new phenomenon in the heartland. As far as I know, it is little observed and has not yet been named. I will call it rural cosmopolitanism.

I grew up in northwestern Oklahoma, roughly ten miles from the southwestern border of Kansas. About 20,000 souls live in Liberal, Kansas, the region’s largest town. The nearest city of even moderate size is Amarillo, Texas, population 174,000, and it is 150 miles away. So Liberal is the center of cultural and commercial life for a vast expanse of rural citizens cast, like broadly sown seed, across stretches of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colo rado and New Mexico.

 

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