Outside Reading — In the Heart of the Heart Country edition

What Growing Up on a Farm Taught Me About Humility by Sarah Smarsh

This typically powerful piece by Sarah Smarsh details a portion of her experience growing up on a family farm in rural Kansas. She effectively maps out the wide gap between the people who live and work that life and those who rely on it, whether geographically distant citizenry or politicians who blithely set policies that cause them harm, often while using love of the heartland as a rhetorical cudgel. This essay is published by The New York Times, a publication that needs to direct more of its attempts at understanding the middle of the country to complex pieces like this and fewer to transcribing the angry, Fox-parroting comments of small-town diner patrons.

Anthony Fauci Quietly Shocked Us All by Peter Staley

On the occasion of Dr. Anthony Fauci stepping down from government service after decades of vital contributions to bettering public health, The New York Times turns over a few column inches to Peter Staley, one of the central members of ACT UP. Like everyone else within that organization, Staley had a contentious relationship with Fauci at the height of the AIDS crisis, and like many of the survivors, he also came to admire Fauci for his capacity to listen, adapt, and push reluctant agencies to commit to helping a populace that the uppermost leadership in the nation was all to happy to discard. The resulting piece is a fine, fitting tribute to a laudable legacy.

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