When you think of California , what comes to mind?
Beautiful beaches, San Francisco , Disneyland and Hollywood are the Golden State’s trademarks. Yet the huge land mass between San Francisco and Hollywood – that region known as the San Joaquin Valley – comprises one of the world’s most fertile, and most productive agricultural regions.
And the residents of this agricultural region believe that Barack Obama and his policies have hurt them pretty badly.
It’s a vast, expansive territory that stretches from the northern tip of Los Angeles County , through the center of the state and up to and beyond the state’s capitol city of Sacramento . And today, if you were to travel north or south through this region, on either “Interstate 5” or state route “99,” you’d see the influence of bad politics in Washington , and expressions of outrage that Central Californians feel towards their federal government.
Despite the fertile soil of the San Joaquin Valley , the region would essentially be a desert if it wasn’t adequately irrigated. This means that in order for it to remain a top agricultural producer year after year, it needs a lot of water – and this is where Washington has damaged Central California .
Much of the water that would normally be available to these California farmers has been denied them, because of actions taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In issuing what is known as a “biological opinion,” this government agency utilized the power of the Endangered Species Act to shut-off water supplies to farmers in order to help save the “delta smelt” – a small fish that the bureaucrats believe is endangered because of too much water in rivers and streams.
Thus, tens of billions of gallons of fresh water from the California mountain regions have been diverted away from the valley farmers, and redirected into the Pacific Ocean, all at the hands of Washington bureaucrats and all for the sake of allegedly saving the smelt. It is a classic and tragic case of radical, out of control environmentalism, and real people and families are having their livelihoods damaged because of it.
California’s water crisis is not “news.” Reports of this looming disaster have been developing since early 2009, and even as far back as September of last year the Wall Street Journal noted that Washington was engaging in a “green war against San Joaquin Valley farmers.” Perhaps most interestingly, Congress has the authority to intervene and override the policies and “opinions” of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but it has refused to take up the matter. And this has awakened many Californians to the reality that their federal government is not only failing to serve their interests, but is also actively working against them.
So, were you to travel through Central California today, you’d see lots of brown, and not-so-vividly-green crops along the sides of the highways, because farmers are trying to grow them with a fraction of the water that they actually need. And you’d also see lots of interesting signs along the highways, signs that read “Congress Created Dustbowl” and “Obama, Boxer Created Water Crisis.” And depending on what region of the San Joaquin Valley you might be in, you may see the names of Democrat Representatives Jim Costa or Dennis Cardoza added to the list of Obama-Boxer culprits.
One might hope that enabling American farms to continue producing would be a non-partisan matter, something that both Republicans and Democrats could support. But that just isn’t so, with the Obama Democrats in charge.
They’ve been focused on serving Barack Obama, and ensuring that his dreams of stimulus programs and bailouts and healthcare and financial system take-overs and “hope” and “change” and “transforming America ” come to full fruition. And in the process of serving Barack Obama, they have empowered a radical ideology in Washington that places the perceived needs and interests of “the environment” over and above the real needs and interests of human beings.
Across the country, Americans have been off-put by President Obama’s repeated “bowing” before foreign heads of state, his unwillingness to say that there is anything “exceptional” about America , and his refusal to acknowledge that “radical Islam” is a deadly threat. In a similar way, the outrage of Central Californians is reaching a boiling point as they face the painful reality that their President and congressional representatives cannot decisively and collectively take a stand in favor of prosperity, and productivity.
This is why, in the San Joaquin Valley , Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is polling out ahead of Senator Barbara Boxer by 21 percentage points (statewide Fiorina is leading Boxer by 5 percentage points).
But the war on prosperity and productivity is not merely a problem for farmers. It impacts all Americans, whether they know it or not.
May we all be awakened – just as the farmers of California .
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.