Thursday, October 05, 2006

From the stump column page 2 October 2006 Log Truck Magazine

by publisher/writer Micheal P. Crouse email: logworld at aol dot com

A potential election house-of-horrors?

Mid-term elections are notorious for low voter turnouts because they generally fail to capture the public's imagination, but this year the media is yet again salivating at the thought there may be a return of their… whoops, forgot how unbiased the media is so strike that… the return of the Democrats to power in the House of Representatives. While we can be thankful this isn't a slam dunk certainty there is a potential, and it's a potential that would be greatly enhanced should voter turnouts be low. There are a few reasons for this.

First and foremost, the media has spun their very best in support of their party, the Democrats. Now granted, the Republicans are some of the very worst publicists on the planet, seemingly unable to convey the plan, or actively engage in the debate when they're being criticized, for the most part hoping it will just go away. No explanation means people's imagination, fueled by the opposition, is allowed to wander and exaggerate beyond all reason. Not the best way to approach a problem or have your direction understood.

Second, the Hollywood gaggle, where people who pretend being someone else for a living, will speak from a prepared script about what they think, over a host of the world's issues. Certainly they're entitled to their opinion, and they perform well in front of the camera (that is, after all, their primary talent)… but informed, independent thought given media precedence due to their fame? Ugh!! That has far more to do with television ratings, than informed choice. To no one's surprise, a host of experts from Dr. Meryl Streep, to Dr. George Clooney, and Dr. Tom Cruise giving their time supporting their favorite Democrat candidate or cause on the national media.

Yet in spite of the barrage of bias from the “enlightened” and anointed in the media, the past few elections have come out considerably different than projections… proving two things: 1) the media has the power to distort and 2) you cannot fool a majority of the people all the time.

The critical element is turnout of voters whose vision of government is limited in size, scope, and spending. That turnout has been present the past several elections and the results, much to the chagrin of the national media, shifted national priorities from the socialistic myopia of the past to the more optimistic view of limited and local government of the future. That was the vision, but it was a vision that has fallen short of its promise in that once they were settled into power in the lofty perch of Washington D.C. many settled into the spending habits of old,, seeming to endorse government's growth, and uncontrolled budget largess.

Faced with similar behavior from a party who collectively seems to have lost its way, re-enforced by a daily barrage from a media interested only in emphasizing failures while ignoring successes, many voters are tossing up their hands in disgust and considering just not participating. Good strategy were it to generate positive change, but unfortunately, it is a strategy which assures a regression to bigger government, contempt for local control, and total disregard for private property rights and accountability.

Looking at it from another point of view, you are trading access to the process to being locked out of the process… with the potential for disaster being elevated completely out of sight. Not voting, not participating, not communicating, is not the means to a positive change. It is a means to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), amongst other disasters such as Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY).

Contemplate for a moment what this change would do for our country and our collective and individual futures… then after you've cleared your stomach, pass this thinking along to all of your crew, friends, family, and associates… and remind them of the importance of being involved and voting.

Are we disappointed in the progress made the past several years? Of course… spending remains out of control, and we have a growing plethora of federal agencies staffed with highly paid bureaucrats whose sole purpose seems questionable at best, and while each party talks about it, no one seems willing to actually change anything. But there has been a shift, albeit minor, from the extreme left, which had become the accepted norm for decades. Private property rights is at least on the radar screen, the states individual interests occasionally see the light of day, and there are some in the judiciary who have some passing interest in the letter of the law rather than the whim of the judicial activist cry of the moment. And while progress has been painfully slow, at least it is progress with some fleeting interest in those of us who live in rural America at long last.

Certainly, things could be better, much better. The best path towards improvement comes from being involved in the process with those who at least recognize there is a rural America, and that we have a substantial impact both on the economy and independence. Do you seriously believe that would improve, were the balance of congress to regress to the oppression of the past?

Keep this reality in mind: If you choose not to participate by voting or being involved in the coming election you are submitting to the will of the urbanites who've given us the MTV generational mindset, bigger government, and thousands of pages of law over the past several decades that have chased business from our own shores and eviscerated rural economies. Do you really want to return to those times? Not voting, and not participating is precisely an action through inaction, surrendering your will to the will of the opposition that fervently believes private property is a quaint notion whose time has passed.

Make it your personal mission to be certain everyone you know, work with, deal with, and are acquainted with, registers and votes in the coming election. Vote as if both your and their future depends on it… for it truly does.


The past month took me to the Midwest for a week, then to the southern Oregon coast. Most notable in the Midwest was the difference in fuel costs, from what was $2.99/gallon of regular in the Pacific Northwest to $2.31-$2.41 in Indiana and Kentucky… 60+ cents per gallon. Not having talked with any truckers on that swing, I have no idea of the differential in diesel prices, but the difference for gas was pretty amazing. What accounts for the difference is unknown to me other than I strongly suspect there are more refineries up and operating in the Midwest than in the West. That may not be a factor whatsoever, but the certaintly is when the West groans about fuel prices being higher, there is (or was at the time of this column) at sixty-cent differential between the two.

The trip to Reedsport was particularly memorable in that the makeup of that community has changed extraordinarily in the past decade, in much the same manor as many rural, resource based communities have changed with the change of national natural resource management policy.

For all the prattle of the politicians, and the eco-industry, two decades after the nation's shift in public lands policy, rural communities such as Reedsport, Oregon have taken the brunt of the reality in effectively gutting the area's economy. The economic argument attracts no interest from the urban-based media, and thus no interest from the public in general, but the results are undeniable in the economic and demographic makeup of rural America. This hit home when I drove by what had been a paper mill built in 1962 in Reedsport, and weas being dismantled for scrap about a decade after it ceased operations. It was striking in that the mill was relatively new, and that with its departure went several hundred family-wage jobs associated with the mills operations, to say nothing of the supporting businesses that in turn were dependent on that mill for trade. This in an area totally surrounded in all directions by trees. The same fate came to a lumber mill in the area.

Reedsport is some distance from the more populous metropolitan areas, very far from the media, and generally speaking out of sight and out of mind. It serves as a tourist area presently, which is good for business in that time of the year when tourism thrives… the rest of the time, it is just quiet, as its economy is now based on tourism…. Ho hum.

But the effect was beyond the jobs and industry, also affecting the school population, where the high school had supported graduating classes of 160 students, today's population is roughly half of that, a direct result of their being a dramatically smaller economy, which does not support any quantity of family wages.

Similarly, fewer jobs result in fewer opportunities and a resulting departure of younger people finding far greater opportunity in the metropolitan areas where the economies aren't under such severe attack by zealots. When you lose your youngsters, you've lost much of your area's future viability. It is more subtle then assaulting an area's economy, but the end result is the same: reduced opportunity, losing your youth, losing the innovation and lifeblood of the youth, and leaving but a shell of a community in its place.

What was striking in Reedsport was its paralleling many areas of rural America where for the social designs of a few, the dreams of many were forever altered, and lives forever changed. Those who could have thrived and greatly contributed in so many ways to our American way of life based on small community life and values and instead thrust into the vagueness vacuum of the metropolitan areas.

When you vote, and please make a point of voting in November, remember the many unintended consequences thrust on rural America by the politically righteous whose sense of social outrage is so vastly hampered by terminal social myopia. Their unintended consequences, which we have witnessed the past few decades, have resulted in a social, economic, and ecological change that has benefited precious few outside the legal community, and been directly responsible for changing lives, and our standard of living. Every time I hear some of the socially “elite” spout off over their social “compassion” I think back to the thousands of acres orf burned, wasted, and rotting timber, the communities void of youth, and the difficult time one has in finding employees of any sort in rural America.

Compassion in the liberally afflicted is limited to the blinders required to live in a large city where you don't know your next door neighbors, yet have the gall to make believe everything you read, without actually exploring the America that existed when rural America was recognized as a worthwhile place to live, rather than a “nice place to visit.”

Remember that, and vote accordingly. Talk is cheap.

Podcast MP3 audio file of the text above,
is here
Google Map for Reedsport Oregon. See the trees all around?