Those of you about my age may remember the title of this piece as the last line from the poem that comes at the end of the Moody Blues song, “Nights In White Satin.” For several varied reasons, that line has repeatedly come back to my head this winter.
In February my wife and I took the grandkids to Disney World. At Disney they go to great lengths to make things look real. All cast members must remain in costume at all times and never be seen out of character. Yet with all their focus on the appearance of reality, we have come to expect complete fantasy. So much so that when anyone wants to describe a person or idea as completely without basis in fact, they are described as being from Disneyland. Illusion has become reality.
In March I attended a training class in San Antonio. Having dinner outside along the River Walk, I realized I was sitting next to what had started as a stream in the area but was now a concrete ditch with well-tended plants that were kept up at great expense so tourists could eat “genuine” Mexican food while watching “nature.” And which is illusion?
At the River Walk, seated at a nearby table, four young girls sat without speaking for the whole time it took to get their food, as they feverishly typed on their phones — presumably, communicating with their friends. And which is illusion?
At the American Sugarbeet Growers Association meeting this winter, there was much discussion about the “Farm Bill” — a bill before Congress in which 80% of the money spent never sees a farmer. At what point will it be relabeled “The Food Stamp Bill?”
Am I wrong in thinking, if this were a canned food product, the USDA would not allow it to be so misleadingly labeled? Then again, expecting anything from Washington in an election year that isn’t a well-crafted illusion shows I may have spent too much time in Disney World.
“And just what the truth is I can’t say anymore” seems to be the appropriate verse from the song.
I hope you have a great summer.
Write Field column is written by David Kragnes. David farms near Felton, MN. He is a former Chairman of American Crystal Sugar Co., and currently serves on the board of directors of CoBank.