I’m not a political junkie like some of my friends but I do try to keep up on current affairs, and one way I do that is by watching The McLaughlin Group on Sunday mornings. Back in my church days I kept company with some pretty hard-core conservative types — the kind that made Ratzinger look like a liberal — and I had occasion to meet Pat Buchanan, who’s a regular on TMG. He’s charming, affable, super smart and, the reason I still listen to him on Sunday mornings, every once in a while he’ll put forward an opinion or position that no one else dares to mention. At times he comes off as someone’s crazy uncle, other times he seems like the only sane conservative in the room.
Lately he talks a lot about restoring “the America we grew up in”. The problem for me is that the America I grew up in had some serious problems. The America of my youth was the America of the farm crisis, where the Republican president and Democrat-controlled congress did almost nothing to prevent the avoidable suffering of tens of thousands of honest, hard-working families who dedicated their lives to caring for the land (the land of my native Iowa is literally some of the most fertile land on the face of the Earth) and feeding all of us.
I still remember riding the bus to school and seeing a 10-foot high sign in the shape of a tombstone announcing the death of the American family farm. Our country never recovered from the farm crisis. Instead we created inter-generational rural poverty and handed over food production to corporations with no commitment to local communities and no love for the land.
March 13, 2016