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10/15/2004

Thorns & Roses

Maybe the air up here on this Kansas bronco is a little thin. There must be somethin’ goin’ on cuz there are certain things that are considered normal in this ol’ world that jest don’t make sense to this Kansas Cowboy. Here’s one that’s been buggin’ me for years. 
 
Right now we’re bein’ subjected to the torture of listenin’ to politicians tell us how if we vote fer them they’re gonna fix everthin’ an that bed of roses is just around the corner. Been listenin’ to that all my life and all I’ve ever seen o’ that rosebed is the thorns. 
 
The new watch word is “security”. I’d like someone to tell me how the greatest producing nation in the world maintains its security when it ships all its production overseas. Politicians tell us we jest need ta be re-educated so we kin take on the new world they have in store for us. I’ve been hearin’ that re-education argument for over 20 years now. Don’t hold a lot of water with me.  
 
Back in the 1970’s we were gonna change the world. Poverty stricken nations would be taught to grow food for themselves. They called it the Green Revolution. What did it do? Well, it opened the doors for the big corporations to expand into world markets. They have grown richer and people are still starving. American farms are disappearing and we are told they are inefficient because they can’t compete with the lower prices of world production. 
 
I thought we were the nation that was going to lead the rest of the world to the dawn of prosperity? Instead, we’ve depopulated rural America and crowded more and more people into urban centers. Who’s winning this war for the open agricultural land? You guessed it! Those same big corporations that have now grown so large that they have no national allegiance. Their only commitment is to greater and greater profit.  
 
From up here on this hoss things look to be turned upside down. I know this will sound uneconomical to begin with, but bear with me. We are the leading nation in the world economically. We want to help the world catch up to our standard of living. So, we send our wheat seed to these countries. We develop their agricultural economies. Then, because they are in depressed economies we pay them according to the going wage, maybe even a fair sight more. They think they are improving and we think we’ve done something good. Over time they become our competitors and through that competition our wheat farms fail. How will we continue to lead the third world to our level of prosperity when that level is dropping? Do ya get my drift? We are heading for a world of just barely subsisting and that includes the United States. 
 
Seems ta me if we had been serious about helping folks we would have devised a plan to protect the vitality of rural America while bring the rest of the world along. You grow wheat? Or you produce truck parts? Fine. When we need to purchase that production for use in the United States we purchase it in a way that puts that money into the hands of the producer instead of the world agri-business corporations or big business in general. The corporations are entitled to their fair share of profits but you notice I said “fair share”. The present setup exploits the poor while “pretending” to help them. Both ends are exploited while the boys in the middle manipulate the strings. 
 
Don’t reckon this will get fixed. Too much power is invested in the vision of a world of mediocrity. So, don’t look for the rest of the world to rise to our standard of living and ya might keep a keen lookout over yer shoulder cuz our future isn’t all that rosy either. Oops! Jest got pricked by another thorn… 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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