Monday, May 16, 2011

The frog, the bird, and the well.

I live in the Midwest. There are a lot of conservative corn and soybean farmers who complaint about the way President Obama is spending. I don’t blame them for their fear of our growing national debt; I too fear that our children could not afford to pay it back when the time comes. But I look at the way Obama is spending and I think at least some of it makes more sense than what the farmers are doing. Allow me to explain:


The farmers who would like to see Obama leave office are mostly corn and soybeans growers. They have long left real farming behind and they farm the “old fashion” way of using petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. To me, they may not have borrowed from banks, but they have and continue to borrow from our land, our children, and our health. The are using subsidized fossil fuel and by products that pollute and deplete our land, water, and air; they produce genetically modified corn for the ever expanding CAFO and industrial food industry to feed an obese nation and plaguing our children with a massive healthcare bill from heart diseases, cancer, diabetes; they are dumping the real costs of what they are doing – droughts, floods, global warming, air pollution, world conflicts, onto our future generations. There isn’t a giant billboard that counts just how much damage they have done and how much they are borrowing from our kids, so they feel entitled to sit on their farms and criticize the few who are trying so hard to turn this nation around.

This kind of hypocrisy sickens me. While I served as a medic in Iraq, I watched children barely old enough to vote die for our interests in oil. I was taught to blame that on terrorism. These farmers are supposedly patriotic and they always pretend to sympathize with me. They too blame it on terrorism, but they rarely ask why we have such a thing as terrorism. I wish I could tell them how the world lives at the expense of our overindulgence in oil and other things. But their excuse is that they have never left their small town USA and they have no intention of doing so. What the world does outside of their well is not their concern. They are comfortable sitting on their rocking chair and demand that the world is the way as they see.

How could such honest and hardworking people be so ignorant?

When I was a child, my mother would tell the story of a frog sitting at the bottom of a well. The frog would look up at the sky above its head from the bottom and pontificate about how the sky is and what a wonderful thing the sky must be. One day, a bird landed on the edge of the well and heard the frog talking to himself about the sky. The bird kindly informed the frog that the sky is much bigger than what the frog can see. The sky is full of power and unpredictable vengeance. The bird offered to take the frog out of his well to look for what the real sky looks like. The frog refused:

Why would I want to know what the sky really looks like when I have a perfect vision of what it is to me?

When I try to talk with these farmers about our Sustainability crisis, I get blank stares. When I try to defend Obama’s focus on renewable energy and initiatives to improve our health, our food, our energy dependency, they dismiss it as misguided devotion to a politics that will doom our nation to bad debts.

does she know to fire that thing?
I wanted to ask what kind of politics are good politics, but I do not have the heart to destroy their perfect view of Sara Palin from here.

Just for the record, I am not a defender of Obama as a politician. But I am going to defend what I think is a reasonable investment in our future in terms of education, planning, sustainability development. I won’t be the frog who would be comfortable sitting at the bottom of the well. I may not trust the bird that will fly me to see the sky, but I aspire to see the sky at least to make my own decisions as to how our future should bear our foolishness and our debts.I may be a frog, but I am not settled to be just sitting at the bottom of this well. I'm going to get to the top of this.

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