Over the rainbow
Many years ago a young Judy Garland sang so beautifully. “Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” The year was 1939 two years before I was born. I grew up hearing that song over and over again and although it’s a melody you can never forget it’s the lyrics I was drawn too, because somewhere in those words came hope that dreams really can come true. Good dreams to me are simply aspirations of things you really like and want to happen. Reality tells us however we must do more than just wish if we want these dreams to come true. We need to act, and make an effort on our part to make them come true.
This brings me to the crux of my story, about the American dream. What is this American dream we talk about and why is it in peril? The American dream has meant many things to many people but always somewhere in its contents was the freedom to go after the things you have always wanted and wished for. That if you worked hard and stay focused and kept your eye on the goal, most of it would come to you. This was all possible because we lived in a country that encouraged you to do so. The old adage “land of the free” meant simply the opportunity to do this and more if you worked hard. Today the “land of the free” means to many people that you don’t have to do much to help yourself because the government will do it for you and for way to many, this has become a way of life.
On the Statue of Liberty there is inscribed. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shores.” Were those words to be interrupted to mean come here and we will take care of you? No. They meant come to this land of opportunity and grow with us and they did. Millions of people came, just wanting to have a chance to succeed in a growing country without government intervention. That dreams that they dared to dream really did come true here. All they had to do was work hard and believe in themselves. It was truly the American dream.
Fast forward to today. Our country is for all practical purposes broke. Not just broke but broken too. Those huddled masses that came here to work, now come here to get free health care, food and rent subsidies. There is little incentive to work and even less opportunity for jobs because we now send our work to those teeming shores they came from. Our tax laws are a muddled mess of loopholes that allow those who make millions, pay almost nothing and keep their money overseas. I read the other day that the flood of illegal immigrants, across our southern borders has slowed dramatically and not because of stepped up enforcement. It has slowed because there are few reasons to come here when the jobs are being outsourced to the very country they were leaving. What a way to promote America & The American dream.
How long before people in this country leave our teeming shores for a less oppressive business climate? How long before the American dream becomes the American nightmare or are we already there?
Republicans have expressed concerns about the DFL majority moving the Agriculture Finance Committee into a larger Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance Committee. Republican Reps. Daudt and Hamilton even sent a letter questioning my support for Greater Minnesota. I believe Minnesotans care much more about results and they will judge the success or failure of the new DFL majority based on results for agriculture and rural Minnesota, not on committee structure.
These attacks are more confusing when you consider that the Republican majority had the same committee structure from 2005-06, when they had an Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Finance Committee. That committee was also chaired by a metro legislator. Rep. Hamilton raised no objections at that time.
That would make one think this is merely political posturing and an attempt to divide this state. I hope not. Helping farmers is among our top priorities, and agriculture has been an area of bipartisan success. Part of being an effective legislator involves building relationships. I’ve worked to build relationships across both party lines and geographical lines. If we’re going to be successful, we need to work together. We’ll have disagreements, but partisan attacks won’t move our state forward.
Despite the GOP’s complaints, rural Minnesota will have a stronger voice in this majority. Eighty-three percent of the state’s budget is now under the leadership of chairpersons from greater Minnesota. Greater Minnesota will be heard loud and clear this session.
Instead of arguing about committees or attempting to divide this state, let’s get to work on improving all of Minnesota. We need to get to work on boosting agriculture in this state. We need to get to work on improving our schools and lowering property taxes in this state. It’s time for solutions, not political posturing.
Rep. John Ward