The Bloom is off the “Rancher” Rose for Kerrey & Lots of Other Disillusioned Cornhuskers

November 11, 2012


WASHINGTON, D.C. (exclusive) by Ivy Harper

Ms. Paula Broadwell is giving biographers a bad name lately but be that as it may, I was just thinking of one of the most memorable takeaways of talking to Bob Kerrey for the 1992 best-selling biography I wrote on him called, “Waltzing Matilda.”

Kerrey had romanticized ranchers. I quote him a couple of times waxing poetically about ranchers.

I never had because my relatives were small farmers who’d been on the receiving end of some random acts of not kindness but actual arrogance on the part of wealthy ranch families. In fact, a phrase I remember as a child was, “Rich ranchers just love to ‘talk poor’ as they feast on federal subsidies.”

The relative who used to utter that phrase was the sweetest man in the world. His unflattering rancher sentiment was the toughest thing I ever heard him say but I had enough faith in him to know that he knew what he was talking about.

At a young age, I remember beginning to understand that often there is a connection between aggressiveness and acquisition.

I also learned early on that some people just don’t possess the $$$$ jugular. They don’t want to do what it takes in America to take home the gold. Same with silver. Or bronze, for that matter. They honestly desire just enough to “get by.” Less is more is – as it turns out – literally in their DNA. But the reverse is true, too.

And the funny thing is, those who are uber-successful at acquiring (as in corporate titans) also – invariably – possess the kind of limited personalities wherein they believe that their worldly fortunes – and subsequent life-styles –  are across-the-board envied by those who are not as monetarily prosperous.

What many corporate minds just cannot comprehend is that there are lots of Americans who are perfectly content being worker bees knowing just what Queen Bees must do in order to hold onto their crowns. Like say, step on their grandmother’s or their neighbor’s back.

To put it another way, lots of friend-and-family-wealthy Americans, nonetheless, were not born with the $$$ jugular. My mom doesn’t have it. Just one example: for a while in the early 80’s, she ran a quilt store in Lincoln where the Lied Center now sits.

My mother gave away more fabric than she sold. On a daily basis. Seriously. When questioned why, she’d repeat story after story about why this or that customer needed to walk out of mom’s sweet little, Amish-inspired store without paying. When confronted with the high-end demographic that comprises quilters, mom would not yield. She trusted each and every tale. Oh well, the store was a blast while it lasted…which wasn’t long.

Then, there’s the supermarket chieftain who prosecutes customers for grabbing grapes and eating them on the fly and tries to get a fully-paralyzed wheel-chair-bound woman who stole a bottle of liquor charged with a felony. Or the rancher who sues their elderly neighbors.

Those, my friends, as it turns out, are the ones who rule our world: the rancher, the grocer, the candle-stick maker. And this has been true since the fist cave man copyrighted his cave, charged an “entrance” fee to neighbors hit by a blizzard, and figured out unethical ways to hoard the “kills” of fellow hunter – gatherers. It’s called life. And while it isn’t fair, it can still be beautiful.

Especially when a President who is half black – and whose name is Barack Hussein Obama – wins in an ostensibly egalitarian nation which is still – let’s face it, folks – steeped in massive inequality.

President Obama winning a second terms means – for sure – that the United States of a Mess will begin to get cleaned up and organized. Predatory student loan lenders like NELNET & Sallie Mae are so, so, so sad because a President Mitt Romney would have immediately re-instated lucrative FEDERAL subsidies for fat-cat predatory lenders and bankers. By contrast, right after taking office, President Obama eliminated the horribly wasteful FEDERAL program that rewarded rich bankers rather than deserving students.

For that measure alone, President Obama deserved re-election. And thank heaven, he got it.

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