|The Mythic American Cowboy|
Without license as I stole another idea from Monty Python:
Overheard around the campfire at Malheur:
"What has the federal government ever done for us?"
"Only cause problems!"
"Well, they did drive all the Indians onto Reservations. Killed a lot of them too."
"Oh, yeah. Well, there was that!"
"So besides killin' Injuns, what has the federal government ever done for us?"
"They did kill a lot of wolves, cougars, and grizzlies and paid our grandpas bounties to do that."
"Yeah, they did do that. But besides gettin' rid of injuns and natural predators, what has the federal government ever done for us?"
"Well, there was the War with Mexico in which they took most of the West for us."
"OK, besides stealin' from Mexico, killin' varmits, and gettin' rid of the Injuns, what has the federal government ever done for us?!"
"They did build dams so we could have water and cheap electricity and don't get flooded out."
"So what! Besides killin' injuns and varmits, stealin' from Mexicans, and providin' cheap water and electricity, what did the federal government ever do for us?"
"They ended the range wars designating grazing allotments tied to our base property."
"They bought up marginal land in the dust bowl and depression times when ranchers and farmers couldn't pay their mortgages."
"They give us cash relief for drought and other natural disasters."
"They bought out big ranching interests and restored the ranges with introduction of cattle-friendly grasses."
"They restored wetlands so we could go hunt ducks."
"They mostly keep the wild horses and burros away from our grazing land."
"They established national parks and recreation areas so our kids could get jobs in the tourism industry."
"They paved highways and gave railroad grants so we could get our cattle to market."
"They let buffalo hunters kill almost all the buffalo [American Bison]."
"They chain-dragged the piñon-juniper out of the way to grow more grass for cattle."
"They fight noxious weeds that our cattle can't eat."
"They fight wildfires that would destroy the range."
"They inspect our beef so we don't poison people."
"They've cut off imports of beef from Britain so our herds don't get mad-cow disease."
"They do lots of scientific studies on soils and plants which they share with us for free to improve grazing lands."
"They grandfather-in our grazing when they establish Wilderness and other designations."
"They have cheap insurance programs for crop and livestock loss."
"They build a lot of fences to protect the range."
"They maintain a lot of field offices in the West where our college kids can get jobs."
"They license Hollywood movie filming on Western public lands to sell the people on what great guys we cowboys are."
"Oh yeah, well, they did do that!"