Not being screwed

Tim Kearns

To the editor:

After reading David Roepke’s column, I failed to walk away with the impression that I was being “screwed” by various political candidates.

I did, however, feel that Mr. Roepke was selling himself and the political candidates short.

One of his main points, in my opinion, fell short of telling the whole story.

When he suggested that none of the candidates would think or talk about agriculture after Monday, I agreed. However, I think his cynicism toward the subject clouds some obvious truths.

It’s true they probably won’t mention agriculture or spend nights pacing in their mansions worrying about soybean subsidies or dropping crop prices.

But, for that matter, can we honestly expect them to care? Most of these candidates probably haven’t ever been in a tractor or milked a cow, except maybe for a photo opportunity, and comparatively, neither have most Americans. So, when Bradley, Gore and Bush pack up to go to California or New York, why should they talk about the importance of farm subsidies?

The problem with this column is simply that Roepke’s desire to push one more cynical look at politics towards us ignores simple logic.

I, for one, completely understand each candidate’s pandering to the agriculture-oriented audience. It’s simply what they need to do. It may be hypocritical, but it’s a fact of life.

For that matter, who could possibly be more hypocritical than the candidates?

Easy. That would be us.

It’s a simple trade-off, really. For a few months, candidates come to Iowa and pretend to care about Iowan issues, and likewise, for a few months, many in the area pretend to care about politics.

But after Monday, you’ll see a sharp decline in both demographics, and the people you’ll see remaining are people like David Goetz (Jan. 21) claiming that George W. Bush (or that person’s particular candidate) will bring back the family, end all crime and pretty much save the world from tyranny, injustice, racism, etc.

So, it seems that any harms that come from this are mutual. For now, I’ll just sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that for the first time in four years, the state of Iowa will show up on Dan Rather’s teleprompter for something besides tornadoes, floods, and droughts.

Still, what should we take out of this candidate’s rush on Iowa?

Maybe this: Those politicians aren’t all that hypocritical. The most important fact is that when Al Gore and George Bush say they care about agriculture or crop prices, they mean it. They do care.

However, their caring is just barely enough to move agriculture to about 87th on the list of priorities — right below ear wax removal. But as far as I’m concerned, since Iowa’s not going to win them the election in the end, I can understand — and identify.

Does anyone have a Q-tip?

Tim Kearns


Political science