Feed The Poor? Or Slop the Hogs?

Feed The Poor? Or Slop the Hogs?

The following is Joe Wilkins Column on June 1, 2017, reprinted here with permission;

There is, just off Route 100 in a Vermont valley near the base of the great Killington ski resort, a large and rambling wooden building that serves as a seasonal dormitory to some of the young men and women who work on the mountain as ski instructors, waitresses, equipment repairmen, bartenders and bouncers. The virtue of the place, to the eyes of its youthful inhabitants, is that it is near their work and it is cheap.
 
It was kept inexpensive by having the young residents pitch in to run the place. My younger son Tim, then working his way through college one semester and skiing the next, paying his way by working evenings as a bouncer in a popular ski lounge, was assigned the job of  feeding the leftover food to the pigs kept in a large, penned-in yard. This, he informed me with a wry grin, was known as "slopping the hogs."  Never having spent any time with pigs except in their identity as pork chops, I was curious to see the operation. He put on his boots, handed me one of the loaded buckets, and walked me to the pigpen.

Well, it ain't pretty watching hogs tuck into their slops. They don't stand on ceremony, and their table manners leave much to be desired. Pigs believe it's every pig for himself and the devil take the hindmost. They snort, they shove, and they stick their snouts deep into the good stuff. More than anything they remind me of Wall Street money worshippers and Washington Republicans going after a tax cut.
   
The analogy is much on my mind  these days. With complete control of the national government, including the White House, Senate, House of Representatives and now the Supreme Court, there is a startling lack of positive ideas coming along in Washington's Republican  circles. They sometimes talk about bettering education, health, employment or the infrastructure, but it's only campaign talk, designed to keep the Appalachian suckers believing coal will make a comeback when we all know that will never happen. At the risk of irritating Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, I have never sympathized with the goal of inducing men to go deep into dangerous holes in mountainsides, breathing coal dust, suffering cave-ins and black lung disease, and never seeing sun or sky during their working day.

As for other Trumpian follies, even his defense policies are a stupid mess. Imagine inviting the Russians into the Oval Office while giving the Germans the cold shoulder!  As if Putin and company are now our most trustworthy allies.

Donald Trump, having proven himself the most determined hog at the trough, has assembled a cabinet on the simple principle that only the most successful hogs need apply. His theory is that if you can't get there first and take all you want, you don't belong in government. It's a congenial theory, if you are a pig.
                                    
But we are not pigs, nor do we live by the rules of the pigpen. Most of us, and most of mankind, defer to the wisdom that man does not live by bread alone.  Nor by jostling for slops from the trough. Just like pigs, we are earthly beings and have to eat. But we worry about those of our species who don't have enough to eat. Pigs don't reach for the stars. We do.

In the nightmare that is our national life today, the pigs have got loose from their pen, have joined the stupid, the haters, and the scared,  and are now running the show. Washington is now a pig heaven thanks to Trump, the Congressional Republicans and the sinister machinations of VladimIr Putin.  Slops are being carted in by the truckload, including massive tax cuts, reckless slashing of needed regulatory controls, tremendous increases in military budgeting with all the mindless enrichment of defense contractors that promises, and the gutting of support for Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps  and dozens of other worthwhile programs fought for and nurtured over the years by progressives hoping and striving to push our civilization of social justice into the future.

These are the evils that beset us. By the rules of democracy, we who lost the last election are supposed to do the sporting things; to accept our fate, bide our time, and hope for the best. But such graceful passivity in the face of the relentless attack of the hogs and haters is no good. Those millions who have joined "the Resistance" are right and must be supported.

It's time to put the pigs back in their pen, put Wall Street back into its harness and get some useful work out of it, and to throw  the Congressional Republicans onto the trash dump of history.  

Editor's Note: This column by Joe Wilkins was reprinted with permission of the author. Wilkins is the author of "Kennedy's Recruit," "The Speaker Who Locked Up the House" and "The Skin Game and Other Atlantic City Capers." All  are available on Amazon's Kindle.