This Thanksgiving, I can truly give thanks for having known and worked with farm activist Darryl Ringer from Quinter, Kansas. Darryl died in a farm accident in 1993. At the time he was killed, he had gained national stature as an activist on behalf of farmers who were losing their farms to banks in foreclosure actions.
I am proud to say that I offered my couch to Darryl as a place to sleep as he traveled the state in 1988 and worked with us on the Jesse Jackson campaign. His charisma, intelligence, and organizing ability were phenomenal. His death left a gaping hole in the progressive movement.
In memory of Darryl, I suggest that we support the actions of the National Farmers Union, which represents 250,000 farming and ranching families. The Farmers Union is pushing for a strong, viable, government-run, health insurance program. Farm families are finding the cost of health care out of reach due to the nature of the insurance cartel. For instance, 69% of health insurance policies in Nebraska are written by two insurance companies.
The other farm organization, the Farm Bureau, is opposing the bill passed in the House of Representatives. Since the Farm Bureau represents large corporations and the agricorp industry as a whole, it opposes the provision of HR 3962 that requires employers to provide health insurance or pay some rather severe penalties.