I would like to connect three fairly recent reports that, in my opinion, define a wonderful opportunity for the Green Party to be the real truth tellers, if we really care enough to do that. If rural America sees little difference between the two major parties, if McCain is leading us to a hotter hell on earth by design and Obama is too tied to big corporate Agriculture to really care, then it is left to Cynthia and the Greens to show rural America that a better tomorrow is possible.
The opportunity is there because most of Rural America sees little difference between the two major parties. This comes from a poll authorized by the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA), Lyons, NE and was reported in their July 2008 Newsletter.
Neither party has demonstrated real commitment to ensuring that rural people – who contribute so much to the nation’s prosperity – share in it. Neither party seems to understand that America will never be as strong as it can be until all of America has the opportunity to share in building wealth, assets, and prosperity.This is why states like Colorado are now considered Swing States and maybe rue the decision they made in 2004 to reject proportional representation in the electoral college.
The real problem with both parties is that they have defined agriculture as Big Ag, Corporate Farming and are suckered into bad decisions by the lucrative cash contributions from the likes of Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra or Cargill. The Center of Rural Affairs concluded:
...to date in this election and every election for the last generation, neither party has demonstrated that it will fight for ordinary rural people. The party that finally does can capture the rural margin it needs to win this election and many elections to come.With that perspective, we have to turn to Obamanomics. David Leonheardt opined in the NY Times Magazine that this is a melding of the policies of Robert Rubin and Robert Reich, two Clinton administration cabinet members. That may be true on Wall Street, but if you are on Main Street in Lyons, NE these is a different tale. Obamanomics is all about supporting the same big ag policies as did the Bush administrations (both of them) and the Clinton's in between. Nicole Colson calls him the Senator from Ethanol-Land.
The problem for all the rest of us (who don't own stock on Cargill, ADM or ConAgra) is that these policies distort that markets for everything else: the bread we eat cost more as farmers switch from wheat to corn; eggs cost more as the price of feed has gone up radically. I used to pay $6.50 for a 50 lb bag of hen scratch that was mostly corn. Now, it is $10.95 and there is very little corn in the mix. You get the picture. It is the same for almost everything we eat and drink where the labels include "high fructose corn syrup." (aside... maybe we will all lose a little weight if the stop adding that stuff to soft drinks.).
Corn producers and their marketers would love to connect corn and cheaper gas prices in the voters minds. It is good for their business, if bad for the economy as a whole. According to Colson's particle...
In April, ADM announced that its quarterly profits had risen 42 percent, largely thanks to biofuels. Unsurprisingly, ADM CEO Pat Woertz told investors, "Biofuels are a real solution to a real problem. To retreat from biofuels is wrong."You get the picture. What is good for ADM is good for America.
The first problem with all this corn based ethanol is that it does not solve our number one environmental problem. It may be even more polluting that burning petroleum products for transportation. The second problem is that these big corporations will get bigger and more profitable while rural America continues to lose family farms and small towns wither and die in the heat of government subsidized markets.
The answers for all of these connected problems is right in the Green Party Platform, even the one from 2004. We don't need corn base ethanol. We don't need factory farms. We do need strong local, regional sources of food that does not have to be shipped half way round the world just so you can enjoy fresh peaches in January. Maybe, we need a little self restraint in our demands, but that is also a Green idea.
Green everywhere should be taking our story to the boondocks. We just might find people who understand what we are talking about and, if we stay on this message, we just might become the party that will fight for ordinary rural people. It is clear that no one else is doing that.