Lee Pitts: I don’t get it
October 18, 2010
I really enjoy listening to Charles Barkley make commentary about basketball games. I loved watching him play because he was a ferocious competitor, he is highly entertaining, obviously intelligent and from what people say, he’s a great guy. But awhile back The Chuckster uttered something lame and un-Chuckster-like. He said, “There are really only five serious and important jobs in the world: teachers, firemen, police, doctors and those serving in the armed forces.”
Oh really, Charles? I think you are forgetting someone.
People nodded in agreement and accepted Barkley’s proclamation as wisdom because the “Round Mound of Rebound” said it. And because it was a very politically correct statement. It sounded like something you’d read in Bartlett’s Book of Quotations. Except that it’s absolutely false. Has everyone forgotten in this country that the most important thing they have to do every day is eat? Without farmers, ranchers and fishermen there’d be no kids to teach, fires to put out, colonoscopies to dread, wars to fight, crooks to arrest or basketball games to comment on.
Not that the five jobs Charles listed aren’t noble callings. Of course they are. These servants all deserve our utmost respect and appreciation. I fully support our military, come from a long line of firemen and I wouldn’t be alive today if not for a good doctor. Without good teachers you wouldn’t be reading this. But theoretically, at least, societies could exist without these five occupations. Not very well mind you, but society could survive on some level. But without farmers, ranchers and fishermen we’d all starve to death. Perhaps we could hunt for our food but all the game in this country, including several endangered species, would be wiped out in one day if we all had to hunt for our dinner like the Indians of old.
I don’t know when there started to be such disdain for folks who produce things in this country. Well meaning people give money to green groups who mostly use these contributions to pay lawyers to throw up roadblocks in the way of people who produce the necessities of life. While the farmers and ranchers have done more to save endangered species than all the green groups put together. Yet society worships the greenies and looks down on the farmers and ranchers. I don’t get it.
Letting our forests burn and rot is seen as preferable to harvesting the timber and putting it to good use. Those of us in the west who produce things are supposed to have the same Constitutional rights as those urbanites who live in the east, who see the west as their playground, and yet the federal government owns 2-10 percent of eastern states while they own 30-90 percent of western states. I don’t get it.
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We allow teenage daughters to tattoo their entire bodies but howl like coyotes when ranchers brand their cattle. We feed, house and even clothe our pets in designer togs while there are children in this world starving to death and people living outside in cardboard boxes. We celebrate low-life athletes and Hollywood celebrities, elect corrupt politicians, and can’t miss watching TV shows about mothers who have eight kids at a time or who have given birth to 19 children. And then we criticize the farmers and ranchers who are just trying to feed all of us. We only allow our fishermen and others who produce stuff to catch a bumper crop of bureaucracy. And I don’t get it.
When will it dawn on folks that you can’t continue to regulate people out of work, destroy entire industries, and then expect to get a job or have unemployment go down? We can’t all work for the government and still pretend to be a democracy.
Charles Barkley is a smart man and I’m sure if he reconsidered he might change his mind. As a fan of his I’d like to think that Charles was merely guilty, like all Americans are, of taking this nation’s farmers, ranchers and fishermen for granted.