Monday, December 06, 2004

Forgetting the tide

It's easy this time of year to get caught up in the day-to-day routines of work, family and shopping for Christmas.

For the past week, I've found it comforting to tune out the "world" and politics. I've welcomed the brief respite from the drumbeat of bad news and corporate power grabs. Whether one wants to ignore them or not however, the powerful never sleep.

President Bush just nominated a pro-agribusiness former governor to head up the department of Agriculture. As governor of Nebraska, Johanns worked persistently to undermine a law, passed by a citizen initiative in 1982, that protects family farmers in Nebraska by banning most corporate agriculture. President Bush, as he is want to do, claims one thing while knowing full well it is a bold-faced lie. About Johanns, Bush called him " faithful friend of America's farmers and ranchers". With friends like that......

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm reading Trudy Chambers Price's book, The Cows Are Out! Two Decades on a Maine Dairy Farm. It's men like Johanns who drove Trudy and her husband out of farming. They are the reason that in 1950, there were 4,950 dairy farms in Maine; today, there are less than 400! Just since 1989, almost 300 dairy farms have gone out of existence!! As these farms go out of production, so does the way of life that goes with it--a way of life that gave states like Maine their unique character.

When I look at people like Mike Johanns, George Bush, and the rest of his corporate marauders, I'm reminded of the beach when I was young. As a youngster, my sister and I would build elaborate sand castles that took hours to construct. No matter what we did, eventually, the tide rushed in--nothing we could do to divert the onrushing surf prevented it from pounding and flattening our handiwork. After a few passes of the surf, our castles were indistiguishable from the rest of the shoreline.

Corporate control is the powerful surf and the rest of us and our way of life is the sandcastle being pounded by the rush of sea.

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