Sketch by Wendy Harty 1987 called Potato Harvest.
History should be a great teacher. The Mayflower had arrived on America’s shore in 1620. The Compact was signed stating that all would share everything for the next seven years. By 1623 the people were starving. The Governor decided that the communal effort wasn’t working as some were lazy and he divided up the land. The Governor’s plan worked and abundance of corn was planted. The women went willingly into the fields to help and took their little ones to set (plant) corn. The corn remained in the hands of those that raised it. This true story is the beginning of capitalism. The people worked hard and began to prosper.
By 1773 the British had imposed new laws and taxes without representation on the Colonies. Patriots protested the new tax on tea, and boarded ships in the Boston harbor, dumping the tea into the water. The British decided the colonies needed to be punished. The British passed 5 Intolerable Acts and the Revolutionary War ensued. Here on the eve of our election I ponder the new laws and taxes to pay for all the promises our leaders have committed too.
The potato farmer above grows a decent crop and through taxation is demanded to give 1/2 to the government. The next year he grows a crop but weather and insects interfere and he only harvests 1/2 the amount of potatoes but he is again demanded to give 1/2 to the government. This doesn’t leave him enough potatoes to feed his own family. Being a good neighbor he helps his friend who was unable to get his crop off and the friend also gives his 1/2 of the harvest to the government. Then he finds out the friend gets government assistance and therefore the friend who he helped has more than himself. The people demand more and more from the government and soon the farmer is asked to give more. Demands are made to share the wealth; the haves can give to the have nots until they also are the have nots. Promises of free dental, interest free loans, or 9.3 billion in new spending with no balanced budget projected are advertised. Once the wealth is shared and everyone is on an even footing, everyone is happy, no one needs to work and the government provides. Or, civilization fails, wars break out, and society rebuilds again and learns what the Pilgrims learned 380 years ago.
For those that don’t have potatoes to give, think of going to school and striving for those A’s and highest marks. When you do your homework, work on assignments and hand in essays you receive the same mark as your friend who slept in and didn’t make it to class, never even wrote the essay. For myself, I’d probably still write the essays for my own enjoyment but I’m about to give up planting potatoes.