SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Donald Trump, despite his pledge to “drain the swamp” of D.C. politics, has come under fire from critics for staffing his administration with predominantly white, xenophobic, anti-Islamic, anti-LGBT men. Supporters, however, point to Trump’s embrace of diversity with his selection of Dr. Ben Carson to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Carson, while bringing no government experience to the post, is ideally qualified: he is a black man who owns a house. Now, Trump is poised once again to prove his detractors wrong by seeking a Hispanic Secretary of Agriculture. “Latinos know lettuce and landscaping,” he observed.
Trump’s Affirmative Reaction PolicyThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains a budget of $140 billion, of which 80 percent is allocated to food assistance and nutritional programs. The agency provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition and related issues based on public policy and prevailing science. According to the USDA’s mission statement:
We have a vision to provide economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation’s natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.
On Wednesday, President-elect Trump met with prospective Hispanic candidates for the position at his Mar-de-Lago resort in Palm Beach. The aggressive search for a Latino cabinet official was confirmed by Mario Rodriguez, head of the Hispanic 100 PAC and a member Trump’s advisory committee.
“Our 45th president ran a campaign based on the needs of the people, the working class in rural America, not the vaunted tycoons on Wall Street,” said Dylan Uberweiss, a representative for the transition team’s ethnic outreach initiative. “He’s matching the right people to the right roles, unlike his predecessors. Look at housing. He found an urban guy to handle the urban stuff. For agriculture, who better to handle farming stuff than someone familiar with lettuce picking and landscaping?”
Uberweiss also directed attention to Mar-de-Lago as the meeting site. He praised the incoming president for choosing a locale with a setting more comfortable than New York to Latinos.
“New York is a cold, joyless, concrete jungle,” Uberweiss explained. “Not the humid jungles or hot deserts Latinos normally thrive in. The only Hispanic people in the Big Apple are Puerto Ricans, and they’re not real Latinos. It’s a U.S. colony, so they’re just tanned Americans who speak funny.”
Mar-de-Lago, on the other hand, occupies the heart of intersecting Latin cultures in Florida. Uberweiss remarked that he has noticed a regular influx of “Cubans or something floating over on old tires every day.”
He also pointed out the already robust and largely diligent Hispanic workforce in the region: “There’s a ton of these border bunnies at the resort. They’re folding towels, doing the laundry, cleaning the pools, blowing leaves, washing dishes, cooking, harvesting oranges and, most importantly, overseeing all the landscaping and gardening. It’s a perfect place for President Trump to find an expert in the field -- and by that, I mean an actual field with crops and dirt and stuff.”
Caesar Desperately Seeking CesarGiven Trump’s alt-right cabinet selections, critics have accused the president-elect of pandering. They attempt to validate their allegations by showcasing Trump’s desperate search to find minority leaders to run agencies he views as catering to minorities. Nominating Carson to oversee HUD was a shining example. Until now, Carson has represented the only diversity hire Trump has ever made for a management position.
Trump’s embattled transition team offered a host of factors to illustrate the need for Hispanic leadership, and to dispel rumors of bigotry.
ExperienceEach year, between one and three million migrant farm workers enter the United States to support the agricultural industry. They are predominantly Mexican-born men. As of 2015, more than half of America’s farm workers were undocumented immigrants with no legal status. Eduardo González, Jr., a State Diversity Specialist at Cornell University Cooperative Extension, described the often overlooked skills of migrant talent:
Many farm workers arrive with solid agricultural skills firmly grounded in practical experience and working knowledge of agriculture. This expertise is complemented by a strong work ethic, deeply rooted in their commitment to provide for their families or make it on their own. This is reflected in their willingness to make considerable sacrifices in order to guarantee a more prosperous future for their extended families, their children and/or their siblings.
Uberweiss said these traits embody the characteristics Trump hopes to find by appointing a Hispanic to the Department of Agriculture.
“Look, most Americans wouldn’t go near one of these dirty patches of land, let alone know how to tend it,” Uberweiss explained. “Deep down, we know that when we’re saying grace, the Jesus we’ve giving thanks to for our bounty of food is the Jesus rutting around in the soil, not the one from Nazareth. We hire these guys to pick our beans, cook our Chinese food, sculpt our hedges and manicure our lawns. So why not carry on that tradition and hire a Mexican to manage the whole damn system?”
Ratting Out Illegal AliensUberweiss also confessed that with a familiar and comfortable administrator at the helm, legally naturalized farmhands may be more willing to identify the unauthorized Mexicans to expedite the deportation process.
In October, Trump claimed that untold millions of Mexican immigrants had poured over the border in a plot to vote for Hillary Clinton, some of them casting ballots more than once. This assertion has been repeated frequently, despite hard evidence.
“Of course there’s no definitive number, these beanbags are undocumented,” Uberweiss said. “But without them, Trump would have won the popular vote… I mean to say, he would have seized the popular vote in an historic landslide, not just the nominal landslide he, uh, got.”
Easing the Burden on TaxpayersThe United States spends a substantial amount of the tax revenues collected to support the operational overhead of the federal government, including free health coverage for Congress and unusually generous salaries for political appointees.
According to the Economic Research Service, farm workers earn less than one percent of total U.S. wages. Migrant workers take in even less. Some are paid by the box. For instance, many crop handlers receive seven dollars for each crate of cherries they fill. Others earn a more traditional income, which rarely exceeds $10,000 -- about $830 less than the nation’s lowest threshold for the poverty level. And that should come as welcome news to the American taxpayer, according to Uberweiss.
“Latinos don’t ask for a lot of money, nor do they expect a lot of money,” Uberweiss said. “I once gave a Mexican fifty cents and told him to sweep dirt. And he did. For hours. They’ll do anything for a buck, and they harbor no illusions about getting employer-sponsored medical benefits or insurance or anything else. By putting a Hispanic in charge of Agriculture, the American taxpayer is going to see some pretty hefty cuts in government spending. That translates to serious tax relief over the next 12 years of Trump’s rule.”
Nutrition ReformIn June 2011, the food pyramid -- a relatively worthless government diagram depicting a healthy diet -- was scrapped and replaced by Michele Obama’s plate-shaped chart, which GOP leaders derided as useless and dangerous. They called the Obama Food Plate a “travesty” and “a potential death blow to the nation’s vital fast food industry, which is already under attack by a growing number of states that are dictating what restaurants can and can’t sell.”
Because food assistance programs and nutritional guidelines fall under the purview of Agriculture, Republicans have expressed renewed hope that their iteration of the reformed food pyramid will replace the Obama perversion.
Fast food remains a major part of the U.S. diet, with Gallup revealing that 8 out of 10 Americans dine on fast food at least once a month. Half admit consuming fast food weekly. But when ethnicity and race are considered, Hispanics top the polls with 53 percent relying on fast food for their dietary requirements every week.
“Mexicans don’t just cook our burgers and pizzas and orange chicken and tacos, they eat those things regularly for sustenance,” Uberweiss stated. “They inherently understand the nutritional and economic value of the fast food industry. So we’re excited about placing a Hispanic person in the Agriculture Department, who will share our vision of a more realistic and sensible Food Plate for American children.”
Trump’s team continues to narrow the pipeline of qualified parties in Florida, but officials say they will expand the search. Uberweiss observed that several Trump campaign trucks have been visiting Home Depot parking lots around the country to widen the net of prospective candidates.
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