- Sunday, March 24, 2024

It’s always exciting when the left finds another group of Americans to hate.

First, it was former President Barack Obama’s bitter clingers, then Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables,” followed by President Biden’s “ultra-MAGA” Republicans, insurrectionists and Christian nationalists.

Now, the menace of the moment is something called White, rural rage.

Coming from the left, the attack is ironic. Throughout our history, farmers have been the backbone of the Democratic Party and various progressive movements.

Thomas Jefferson, the party’s founder, believed virtue lay with those who tilled the soil.

Farmers were essential to the populist movement of the late 19th century and the New Deal coalition. The Democratic Party of Minnesota is still officially known as the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party.

The left has done a 180-degree turn here. Rural Americans are now the greatest threat to democracy since the mythical Jan. 6 insurrection. But remember, when the right does it, it’s an insurrection. For the left, it’s a mostly peaceful protest, no matter how many people die or how much property is damaged.

These smear campaigns usually start with a book written by an academic or media hack. According to the recently published “White Rural Rage: The Threat to American Democracy,” it’s both.

The authors are professor Tom Schaller, who teaches political science at the University of Maryland, and commentator Paul Waldman, who writes for The Washington Post and other fake-news outlets.

Their thesis: Rural residents are so naive that — like rubes at a carnival sideshow — they’ll fall for any con man who comes along, like former President Donald Trump. They’re also violence-prone bigots who believe in conspiracy theories — like the Russian collusion hoax?

It’s pretty gutsy for leftists to bite the hand that feeds them, or maybe they think they’ll get us all to eat insects in a few years, so it doesn’t matter.

Violence-prone? Neither the urban riots of 2020 nor the pro-Hamas rampages of today were led by men in John Deere caps. The former is an example of what might be called Black urban rage and the latter is spearheaded by student storm troopers and peaceniks.

What are the real crimes of rural Americans in the eyes of the establishment?

They are disproportionally gun owners — 46%, versus 19% for city dwellers. They don’t love guns but view them as necessary tools for dealing with varmints of the four-legged or two-legged variety.

Farmers who live near the border have the audacity to complain about hordes of foreign nationals trashing their property as they enter the country illegally.

They object to the Biden administration raising the price of fuel, fertilizer and farm equipment. The cost of fertilizer alone rose 28% in the first year of the Biden presidency.

They tend to be patriotic and religious — attributes the left also finds threatening.

Lately, climate change cultists have taken to blaming farmers for contributing to global warming by releasing methane gas. The noxious fumes emanating from Washington don’t concern them.

Farmers know manure when they smell it. This includes the gender ideology and anti-White indoctrination pushed on their children through the mainstream media and public education.

Paranoia about White, rural rage is another example of the contempt elites have for the Americans in what they call flyover country.

But farmers are an integral part of our history, while the left is an aberration.

It was the yeoman farmers of Lexington and Concord who stood up to the British in 1775 and set us on the road to independence.

Among our greatest presidents were men with roots sunk deep in the soil, like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, rancher and hunter.

I never lived on a farm, but I grew up in an agricultural county in upstate New York. As a teen, I worked on a farm one summer, stacking bales of hay — miserable work, believe me.  I’ve had fresh milk and seen hogs being born. Seeing where the food chain starts brings you closer to reality.

The war on rural America is a war on middle America. Mr. Trump is building a coalition of blue-collar workers, independent businessmen and farmers. This terrifies his opponents.

If the left is allowed to continue driving the economy into the ground, there could be another “back to the land” movement like the one we had during the Great Depression. Then, former journalists and former political science professors could end up as subsistence farmers.

Now that would be ironic.

• Don Feder is a columnist with The Washington Times.

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