Last weekend, with our corn all planted in record time, I went out to Montana. My 16-year-old daughter and I went to a horse ranch – Montana Horses’ annual horse drive. Those responsible for herding the horses included about 15 “green horns” (that would include me, although I did grow up riding a horse), and 25 cowboys and wranglers who knew their job.
We rounded up 350 horses that had been wintering in high country pasture and drove them 30 miles to new pastures. The drive took 3 days and, on one occasion, we herded our horses right down the middle of a little town called “Three Forks” with a thousand people cheering and lining the streets.
The ranch owns the horses and now will lease them out to customers for the summer. Their customers include individual families, dude ranches, etc. That is their business. I met and talked to many ranchers that were involved in the drive. This is just another dimension of this diverse country. Sit on your horse on top of a big hill and you can see for miles. Cattle ranches, wheat fields, pastures, and yes, horses. Different from my Illinois farm – a far cry from corn, soybeans, and pigs.
However, there is a common bond, a consistent way of thinking across rural America. Our priorities are personal responsibility, self-reliance, trust, and integrity. That’s why we don’t like the “nanny state” managing our lives and business – always encouraging dependence on big government. Rural Americans are more independent than big city urban dwellers.
The philosophy of the ranchers and horsemen was adamantly opposed to government micro-management. They are furious about our government closing down all of our horse slaughter plants. Horses are personal property. The owner should be able to sell his horse for slaughter, have the meat processed and sell it to the French. Why not? The alternative is to have thousands of unwanted horses on our hands.
Rural Americans are convinced that our government spends too much, wastes too much, and costs too much. In our lives, we have to live with what we have. We can’t spend what we don’t have. However, our government can and does.
Keep your eyes on Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy – wallowing in debt. We need to turn around and not take that path. That’s the good judgment of rural America.
In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to www.johnblockreports.com
Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.