I left a rural community 35 years ago. I knew I had to do it and am glad I did. But it wasn't for the reasons suggested.

I wanted to have an impact wherever I lived. However, my rural community was steeped in gossip, patriarchy and a set of unwritten rules where nothing was to change. The town didn't want any new businesses that weren't modeled after the manufacturers that left. A few powerful families controlled everything, the laws, employment and social networks. If one wasn't a member of the legacy families they weren't going to find work or be invited to anything.

All the children that graduated from my high school saw the writing on the wall and left. What is interesting is that many members of the town's powerful families left as well, but they still think they are in charge of the town even in their absence. The family members return yearly to attend weddings and funerals, and make obnoxious statements about how their family is the lifeblood of the town.

If one is a member of chosen families they are never arrested for crimes, including murder. Certain people have complete 100% impunity. It's not fair and it is almost a joke.

Rural America always complain that young people don't stay, but it rarely examines its role in spurning its youth. Good roads and hospitals won't retain young people when the deck is stacked against them.