I should have seen this coming, but I don’t live in a rural community.
Many U.S. farmers fume at Washington, not Trump, over biofuel, trade policies
Instead of directing their anger at Trump, dozens of farmers interviewed by Reuters blasted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other Washington institutions they believe are thwarting his true agenda. Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories involving USDA staff are circulating in farm country and gaining traction online.
Farmers are struggling with how to emotionally process their pain from the Trump administration’s policies, and anger at the USDA may be a coping mechanism, said Ted Matthews, a Minnesota psychologist who has spent 30 years counseling farmers and rural residents across the Midwest.
“The question I hear from farmers who voted for (Trump) is, ‘We believed him when he said he would help make the farm economy better, that we could save our farms. Now, who do we blame?’” Matthews said.
Many farmers told Reuters they intend to support Trump again in his re-election bid in 2020.
Emboldened is mine.
The USDA is a natural scapegoat and a topic of conspiracy theories among farmers suspicious of its sprawling bureaucracy, career employees and its research who sometimes conflicts with what they see on their own farms.
One farmer, enraged by the USDA’s corn crop estimate, threatened an agency employee last month. The threat of violence prompted USDA to pull all staff from a privately run crop tour that surveys Midwest crops.
One of my favorites from the Reuters report:
Trump voter Byron Heppler, a soybean and corn farmer from Calhoun, Kentucky, said he is open to considering other Republican candidates if any emerge. He said he believes USDA’s research methods are flawed and he feels its employees want to unseat Trump, although he offered no evidence to back up those views.
Other disgruntled farmers have also alleged, without offering evidence, that federal agriculture employees are overestimating corn plantings as part of a plot to hurt Trump in the 2020 election. These farmers said they believe USDA employees are upset the administration is relocating hundreds of economists and other researchers to Kansas City from Washington.
Let’s see. Isn’t this part of the process of dealing with trauma? First, there is shock or just denial. Then, there is the bargaining stage. Next comes anger/depression, and finally, acceptance.
Sadly, Trump voting farmers are still in stage one of dealing with trauma.