Rural America

August 28, 2001

August 28, 2001

This program is by telephone today. I am on a ranch in Teton County, Wyoming. Been on a horse every day for the past week. And the sun has shone everyday also, illuminating the beautiful Teton mountain range, backgrounded by a deep blue western sky.

Makes me think ofthe multitudes of people that are congested in the big smog filled cities. They find it difficult to relate to their neighbors of rural and small town America. Out here in the country, as is the case in Missisippi, Kentucky, Nebraska, Kansas -- all ofthe country -- there is a strong sense of independence. The rejection of overregulation. A love of nature. And a community attachment, neighbor to neighbor. The county fairs and 4-H shows.

Not that others don't care about these kinds of things but rural people live them everyday. They don't want some government bureaucrat to take their guns away. They jealously guard their private property rights. They don't like outside groups such as environmental extremist telling them what they can and cannot do. They have a way of life that they want to protect.

Reading the USA Today paper, I saw where President Bush feels so comfortable and relaxed on his Texas ranch. Riding in his pickup truck with his dog, listening to country music on the radio. I can relate to that. Whether I am on my farm in Illinois, on a ranch here in Wyoming or at a meeting of the seed industry in Michigan -- as I was last week -- it is clear that there is a battle raging in this country. Rural and small town America trying to preserve a way of life that is threatened by government intrustion, business consolidation and loss of farms.

This struggle doesn't stop at the city limits. Like a web from small town America through the Nation's capitol, I see it every day as members of Congress search for ways to protect the way of life and fight the forces that want to impose change. As I ride this afternoon, I'll once again be reminded that rural America has something very special. It's worth fighting for.

Until next week, I am John Block -- in Wyoming.