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The rural life advantage

First Posted: 2:58 pm - May 9th, 2017 - Views

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By Gary Brock

XENIA — In the last two weeks I visited the farms of two rural Ohio families for feature articles in your Rural Life Today editions. In both cases, and I suspect in the cases for most folks who live in rural Ohio and rural America – they are there by choice.

Living removed from the congestion, hustle and bustle and negatives that come with living in larger cities is a lifestyle choice made by millions in Ohio and around the country.

In talking with the Furbee family in Madison County and the Taylor family in Delaware County, I was struck by how happy they were to be raising families in a rural setting.

Frankly, I have seen the same thing over the years every time I visit a farm family or couple in rural Ohio. They wouldn’t live any other way. Some, like the Bullingtons in Meigs County, feel the farther away from city life the better. Others like for their farms to be … just far enough away.

Like everything else, however, there are tradeoffs.

Most of the time you don’t have city sewer and water. You’ve got a well and septic tank. Maybe those work well, and maybe they don’t. There is a lot of talk here in Ohio about the “high percentage” of rural septic systems that don’t meet state Health Department standards. That may be true.

And often the quality of well water is suspect even though many people would prefer well water to “city water” any day of the week.

Technology isn’t always available in rural communities. While efforts are being made to get everyone online, I know that some rural communities cannot get affordable internet access simply because of where they are located. The same goes for cable and satellite TV.

Many people in rural communities have backup generators because as sure as the wind blows, someone’s power will go out. This is a problem not faced nearly as frequently as folks in the cities.

And just try to get someone to deliver a pizza.

All of these drawbacks may be true of rural living, but those living on farms and in small communities think of them mostly as just inconveniences – acceptable annoyances in order to live a rural life away from all the problems of the city.

What is the biggest plus when you ask farmers about why they live with these “inconveniences?”

They usually just look at their children and say – “them.”

People living on farms or small communities cherish the idea that their children are growing up in a supportive, family-strong environment, free from all the negativity that comes with big-city life. And while the current opioid epidemic hitting Ohio’s small towns is jarring to this perception, those living in rural Ohio still believe their way is the best way to raise a family safely and with strong moral values.

I agree 100 percent.

Perdue confirmed, and the

definition of ‘several’

I was pleased to see new U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue confirmed April 24 by the U.S. Senate. Some have concerns that he is a “southern” farmer, but I don’t have any doubts he will do a great job.

But just the opposite of a great job is how many of my friends in the media wrote about his confirmation vote.

When the vote came on Perdue’s nomination, the vote was 87 for, 11 against. That’s a pretty overwhelming mandate considering how contentious everything seems to be in Washington. Many of President Trump cabinet nominees have been appointed with just a few votes over the 51 necessary for approval.

However, the Associated Press article about Perdue’s nomination included the following:

“Perdue won confirmation on a strong bipartisan vote of 87-11, as several Democrats backed a Trump nominee after razor-thin outcomes for his choices earlier this year…” Italic mine.

National Public Radio ran about the same:

“Several Democrats joined Republicans in the Senate to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next secretary of agriculture. The vote was 87-11.” Again, italics mine.

The Christian Science Monitor, however, played the results more straight:

“Perdue won in a strong bipartisan vote of 87-11. The 70-year-old will be the first Southerner to hold the position in more than two decades.” Note the CSM didn’t say anything about several Democrats joining the GOP in the yes votes.

You have to wonder what the AP and NPR define as “several” in the vote?

Here are a few facts. There are 51 Republicans in the U.S. Senate, 46 Democrats and two independents, and one open seat. Fifty Republicans voted for Perdue (A Perdue relative in the Senate voted “present” and presided over the session). So where did those 37 other votes come from? Oh wait, these were 36 Democrats and one of the two independents.

So, 36 of the 46 Democrats equals … “several?” Since when? In my world, 36 is never several anything. Unless, of course, you want it to look like a small number. Strange since AP correctly said there was overwhelming bipartisan support for Perdue, then turned around and called these 36 Democrats “several.” As in, a few, but not many.

It appears some in the media still can’t get over their loss in November, and will do what they can to belittle any bipartisan support for President Trump. But we in rural America know that “several” of us can be a whole lot of people, don’t we?

Gary Brock is editor of Rural Life Today and can be reached at 937-556-5759 or on Twitter at GBrock4.

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