Recently I was reading an article about the new legislature in Minnesota. The point of the article was to explain that because of the election, there will be a lot fewer people from rural areas in positions of authority, and an example was that the Ways and Means Committee in Minnesota will now be chaired by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg. The rural caucus believes this to be an area of concern, since Ms. Holberg has been reported as saying that people from the country are “rural pigs” because of how greedy we are and what a big chunk of the budget comes our way.
Now, I don’t know Rep. Holberg. Maybe she was misquoted or taken out of context. I didn’t actually hear her say it, so perhaps she didn’t say anything of the like. In this day and age, people throw accusations around fairly casually; I’ve started to take most everything with a grain of salt. Maybe her words weren’t even meant to be insulting – people who’ve never spent any amount of time around hogs are always telling me how intelligent they are. All in all, I don’t want to be too hard on her.
For instance, she might not know much about rural areas. After all, she represents Lakeville, a suburb just south of the Twin Cities. It’s a pretty sophisticated place. We country folk like to refer to it as the “Paris of Western Dakota County.”
The article didn’t make clear what we spend so much money on. We do have a lot of miles of road out here, with plenty of room between people. That’s actually okay, because all that room makes it easier for us to grow - you know - food. And even city people need that.
We also have a lot of elderly people who need care. I’m sure a lot of money goes for that. I guess we could ship them all to the suburbs, but they’re a pretty feisty lot, so I think it would be a lot of bother. Sure, I suppose it’s selfish of them to want to stay in the small communities that love, cherish, and care for them, as opposed to moving into some sort of high rise warehouse in the metro area, but Sam Rayburn said it best fifty years ago when he explained why he was moving from Washington back to Texas. “I’m going home to Bonham, where people know when you’re sick and they’re sorry when you die.” We love our old people, even if they are expensive, and you can’t have them.
The rural areas also have a lot of ethanol plants, power plants and other big industrial things that all require significant infrastructure. Well, you didn’t want them. They’re big and ugly and involve large numbers of huge trucks and power lines, not to mention some of the stuff that comes out of the chimneys - stuff that you would prefer stayed out here in the country. Still, what makes your lights go on and your car run has to come from somewhere, so it seems a tinge ungrateful to resent that it costs money to get it from us.
Another concern about the rural areas could be the huge number of parks, rivers, lakes, trails and trees. Those all take money to maintain. I don’t know what to say about that.
Except, don’t hate us because we’re beautiful.
Copyright 2010 Brent Olson