By this point, we are all exhausted by the endless rhetoric about America being a divided nation – a country of haves and have-nots.
But, we think it’s important right now to explore this concept of division a little further. We’re not talking about partisan sniping. We’re talking about moisture and weather.
In September, the Washington Post released a fascinating moisture map of the United States that painted a picture of saturation in the east and scarce supplies to the west.
“Most of the country, from the Continental Divide eastward, has received more rain than normal. And some parts of the Mid-Atlantic are 20 inches wetter than usual this summer,” the Post reported.
“Meanwhile, areas west of the Rockies are below average, about 10 inches shy of normal in parts of southwest Colorado and western Montana. The lack of rain in California helped fuel the Carr Fire near Redding and the Mendocino Complex fires near Clear Lake. The Mendocino Complex was the largest fire in California history, scorching about 410,000 acres.”
Since the article was written, things have only worsened.
Hurricane Michael flattened Florida’s panhandle, slammed Georgia and brought unneeded rain to communities in the Carolinas and Virginia that were still drenched from Florence.
Meanwhile, out West, the ongoing Camp and Woolsey Fires have burned nearly 250,000 acres, destroyed more than 12,000 homes and buildings and cost dozens of people their lives.
America’s weather is divided, and Mother Nature’s extremes are taking a toll on the farmers and ranchers who feel the brunt of extremes more than arguably any other profession. Producers from the east, west and central swaths of the country are all shouldering the after-effects, but unlike the country’s political discourse, they stand united.
Farmers and ranchers from coast to coast are calling on Congress to pass the pending Farm Bill now. They are asking for speedy disaster assistance to ensure they stay in business another year and are able to put food on America’s tables. And they are demanding to be treated fairly on the international trade front.
Lawmakers returned to Washington, DC, last week – just as the East Coast was being pelted with more precipitation – and they have a real chance to start fixing the division after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Legislators can help rural communities dealing with both drought and deluge, and they can also start to mend some of the political divisiveness by pushing the Farm Bill through.
Helping those in need, and backing America’s farmers and ranchers, would be applauded by constituencies on both sides of the aisle.