Joe Snodgrass and I had to leave, were desperate to leave. We had listened to Ted Yoho and his buddies at the Farm Bureau rant on for over an hour. It was an emergency, because our heads were going to explode and get little bits of flaming grey matter all over the room. The room would have burned it down. We didn’t stop to consider if that would have been a public service.
The occasion was a board meeting of the Putnam Farm Bureau, consisting of farmers, a secretary, the Bureau’s lobbyist, the two candidates, and their assistants. It was June, and the 2016 campaign was just beginning to heat up.
Before the Pledge to the flag, the largest flag you could have spread across the room’s end wall, the bald preacher-man started us off with a prayer, a very very long prayer. This is the guy who later said something like, “the people are hungry for the truth; they want to speak the truth. But they can’t, because now it is labeled Hate Speech.”
We thought we would spend the evening talking about cabbages and cattle, and maybe a little water policy. But, NOOOO, they spent the evening talking about welfare cheats and the loss of Christian values in the schools, where they can’t discipline anyone any more, and teach nothing. They talked about illegitimate children, gangs, and people who are too lazy to work. Most of all, they lamented fact that people aren’t following the Word of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Ugh. I was unprepared.
If the voters are mostly like these guys, we are in deep do-do. We might as well quit now, because there is no way in hell they will vote for us. At least not once they know what we think. Fortunately, Joe is good at reading a room, and he didn’t say anything that offended them. They asked him to speak first thing, before the meeting even started, as if to get him out of the way. They were still waiting for a couple of people to arrive, including Yoho. So, Joe spoke slowly and carefully, and kept it to his farm up-bringing and the strong family values he had learned at his parents’ knees. He did speak of a grass-roots campaign, based on putting people first. But none of the rest of it (civil rights, public education, environmental protection, workers rights and women’s rights). He certainly didn’t bring up how proud he is of his union membership.
When Yoho got there, they opened the steaming plates of meat, 3 kinds, which were right in front of me, the vegetarian. There were vegetables also, and corn bread, of course. The political banter kept going throughout the meal. They think women have children out of wedlock because they like living in sin and drawing welfare. “Wedlock,” what a concept. I guess that’s where they keep their wives.
If the minimum wage goes up to $15 an hour, they will suddenly have to pay their immigrant workers that wage, they think. And then they will have no workers, because that will be such a cut in pay. They claim the workers freely choose to bust their asses for $300 a day. Ugh. Minimum wage does not limit maximum wage.
They do know about WOTUS*, but only to hate it. They obviously don’t give a flying flip what runs off their farms. I overheard the lobbyist talking about someone, whom she described as an “environmentalist” in a tone of voice that clearly said scum-of-the-earth.
Needless to say, I won’t be going back there. And this message will self-destruct when we all are finished laughing. I hope we can laugh.