Unlike Jason Aldean, I Grew Up In A Small Town

His new country song “Try That In A Small Town” is, at best, deceptive propaganda and, at worst, a blatant dog whistle (a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people but not by others).

Fact: Aldean grew up in Macon, Georgia, one of the largest cities in Georgia with over 100,000 population. Definitely not a small town.

I grew up in a town in Appalachia with a population of 1624, of which over 90% were white. As an impressionable twelve-year-old driving to church on the mountain above Whitwell, I saw a barn burned down and still smoking. I asked Dad what had happened, and he said a black family had tried to move in. The same happened to a business in the town of Whitwell—a black family was burned out. It was understood in our real-life small Tennessee town (and to this day) that non-white people are not welcome.

Aldean’s lyrics:

Got a gun that my granddad gave me

They say one day they’re gonna round up

Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck

Try that in a small town

See how far ya make it down the road

Around here, we take care of our own

You cross that line, it won’t take long

For you to find out, I recommend you don’t

Try that in a small town

Full of good ol’ boys, raised up right

If you’re looking for a fight

Try that in a small town

Try that in a small town.

Dog whistle? Hell yeah. Blatant.

The people I grew up with thrive on this country music/Republican bullshit. MAGA, go to church on Sunday, burn barns and crosses in a white sheet on Monday. In the year 2023, they are so drugged up with pot, opioids, and liquor that they can’t work and can barely function as humans. Been to Appalachia lately?

The rural drugstore owners (I personally know some of them) are making a fortune and are on the list of America’s most prolific opioid distributors. They prescribe over 145 pills PER PERSON each week in my small town.

And these people have guns. Thousands of them. Aldean even got that wrong; sure, they have grandad’s gun, but they have another hundred or so that they stole or bartered with second and third mortgages on their family’s land. We could not get someone to show up to work on our farm, and if they rarely did, they were so high we had to send them away.

And these small-town boys bitch and complain about hardworking Latinos and African Americans “stealing” their jobs. Wake up. This is Trump and Aldean’s “America.” They wouldn’t know a small town if it hit them in the face; if it did, they would spit on it and its inhabitants. And yet, my small-town family, friends, and church-goers have bought this bullshit—hook, line, and sinker.

Aldean told People magazine he hadn’t read a book since high school. Why am I not surprised?

And believe me, if their ilk are the future of America, the future is bleak. Unlike Jason Aldean, I grew up in a small town. And I decided to read books. Lots of them. See how that flies in a Trump town.