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October 17, 2012

The Farm Bill

Tom McLaughlin

American farmers are the back bone of our country. They toil to bring forth the harvest for people around the world consume. Up at sunrise, they mount their trusty tractor and till the soil, nurturing each seedling to bring forth the fruits of their labors.


They awaken each Sunday morn, dress in their worn suit and tie and drive the family to church. Here they preserve the “rock of ages” long beliefs of the “faith of our fathers.” They pray during the growing season and then give thanks each September for the bountiful harvest brought forth by them and a loving God.


Politically, the farmer and his family are strong Republicans. Election after election, the fruited plain has voted for the most conservative candidates, sending to Washington the most God-fearing of people to preserve their way of life. They are instructed to vote against everything except the Farm Bill.


Now, the Republican dominated House of Representatives has not passed the bill after the Democratic Senate sent it onward by a wide margin. Even when they had a chance after the conventions, the Republicans ignored the bill and headed out to campaign for their re-election.


The apostasy occurred after the worst drought in recent American history. Hundreds and hundreds of counties are now disaster areas. Food prices are expected to soar around the world. Our beloved farmers, especially the dairymen, are – or will be – in deep financial straits as the banker comes calling for the loans taken out in the spring for seed, pesticides and herbicides to be paid back later with moneys from the harvest.


What are these congressmen whispering to the farmers in their home districts on why they should be re-elected? How do they answer tear-filled wives who are trying to balance the budget when they cannot get disaster relief because they don’t know the status of the Farm Bill, which has gaily passed every Congress since 1948?


They take them aside in church basements hosting dinners and murmur “wait, wait until after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and our new Senate are in place. We are going to slash the food stamps for those who won’t work. Make them hungry enough and they will find jobs.” The farmer agrees. He forgets those food stamps purchase the crops he produces.


At a September function celebrating the harvest, the congressman takes another aside and says that the free breakfast and school lunch programs will be furrowed. After all, your children did not need those programs even though you fell on hard times trying to make the payment on your $231,000 John Deere harvester, which included a radio to listen to Rush Limbaugh and a fridge for the daily 16 oz. 12 pack. The farmer nods knowingly.


“We are going to stop the abuse of food stamps” says another politician, who takes a farm wife aside at a meet and greet. “We will stop the person who drives up in a BMW, buys Delmonico steaks and pays for them with food stamps. Now, I don’t mean to sound racist but…” he winks.


At a beer bar the day before the election, a group of farmers gather.


“Hope Romney gets elected and this mess with the Farm Bill passes.


“It will after he cuts out the food stamps, lunch programs and the other waste”


“He sure will cut the budget”




“Do you think we will go to war with Iran?”


“Don’t know. Can’t remember what he said”


“That Ryan fella. What is he going to do?”


“Can’t remember that either. Something about arithmetic and it works or doesn’t”


“Think he’ll cut any of our stuff?”




. . . . .Life Is Good…..


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