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This Is My Country

October 27, 2011 by  

This Is My Country

Every year at this time, I pack up my blaze orange, my snake boots and my 12 gauge, and I travel to the sort of place in which the average Democrat would be as comfortable as Janet Napolitano in a bikini contest. By the time you read this, I’ll be stomping through fields of corn and sunflowers, surrounded by nature’s bounty in the plains of South Dakota. Deer will frolic, coyotes will skulk and pheasants — well — pheasants will die. Quite a few pheasants will die.

My father accompanies me on this trip each year. Actually, I am still allowed to accompany him, even after that regrettable incident with the truck a few years ago. (To this day, I maintain that I did not bury the truck side well-deep in the mud. The trail wandered, and I had to swerve to miss that combine that someone foolishly left in the middle of that huge field — also, I was trying to light a cigarette at the time.) While on our trip, my father and I eat red and brown food, drink red and brown booze, smoke cigars and generally act in exactly the manner my mother thinks we do.

But the annual “Crystal boys” retreat has come to mean a great deal more than simply spending a week acting like an overgrown fraternity brother with men who either have reached the age at which they should know better (my father is in his mid-70s) or men who know men who know men who should know better (I am considerably younger). Truth be told, my own purpose actually overshadows even the lofty goal of allowing my mother a few days of peace and quiet. Amid the general carousing and camaraderie, I find something I miss throughout the rest of the year.

The lodge in which we stay sits in a town of about 150 people. To get there, we fly into the airport in Bismarck, N.D., and then proceed to drive south for a couple of hours through some of the most blessedly magnificent land in our great Nation. There are vistas which can claim greater grandeur: the towering majesty of the Rockies, the Lord’s palette which is an Atlantic coastal sunrise, and even the gargantuan geometry of the Manhattan skyline, to name but a few. The high plains are fairly flat and almost ubiquitously beige. There is no hum of traffic, no roar of industry and no urban glare. Nearby Lake Oahe is fine for fishing, but it’s hardly the stuff of an Ansel Adams photo. The Black Hills are hours to the west. The Missouri River rolls through, but without much whitewater fanfare. The fields run off to the horizon in every direction. Yet, it is as beautiful a place as God in His infinite wisdom ever created. Out here, hundreds of miles from anywhere most people will ever visit, I see America.

Some might think this place — and its people — simple. But they are far from it. The people out here are what the sage might call “the salt of the Earth,” although even that phrase fails to do them credit. These are the people whom liberals deride as “hicks” and “hayseeds.” President Barack Obama isn’t going to visit anytime soon; there are no smug Hollywood millionaires about. The people who work this land work hard; the union thugs would hardly recognize them. Plus, getting a stretch limousine through a sorghum field is nearly impossible. Farming is everything here, the alpha and the omega of the regional economy; and these people understand the value of their labors. Trying to abscond with their hard-won earnings and handing them off to the bottom-feeders in the basement of the Democratic Party would be, in a word, unwise.

Much like this land, the people out here are tough, but they are humble. They give thanks at every meal and celebrate every day as a gift from the Almighty. This is America is it was and still can be. I don’t mean we should all trade in the minivan for a John Deere and sell the townhouse for a few acres of loam. Most of us would starve to death, and the liberals would go stir crazy once they realized the nearest Starbucks® is 200 miles away. But there’s a valuable lesson to be learned out here: This is a great Nation, populated by great people.

Thank You, God, for letting me live in this country. And don’t worry, Mom. Pop is fine.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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  • s c

    Ben, make a strong habit of spending as much time as you can with your Dad. Have a good time. Last, DEATH to pheasants (some, that is).

    • Michael

      I concur completely with what Ben has to say, except I would use a 20 gauge for pheasants.

      • Munnster

        I like a 16 gauge personally :-)

        • Average Joe

          But a 10 ga. makes them so much easier to clean…lol

          • Patriot II

            We used to shoot em in the Head with a 22 back in the 60′s, No Bee bees to chew on.

          • Average Joe

            Patriot II,

            Trust me, if you shoot’em with a 10 Ga….there’s nothing left to chew on… no pellets….no bird…lol

  • Marv

    Ben….I can’t understand where you get the idea that ONLY Republicans like to hunt or have guns. Probably the same place you “learned” that Democrats are a bunch of godless, no morals, abortion-loving, flag-hating, lazy, jobless, communists. The problem with that is that doesn’t describe very many Democrats. Just like the Republicans aren’t all like the Tea Party folks. Get off of your stereotypes and start having conversations that really benefit this country. There are more than 300 million people that live here and most of them don’t want to be denigrated or dismissed.

    • http://ByGeorge By George

      Marv, dear boy,
      You read more into Ben’s article than is really there. I re-read it and did not once see the term Republican or Democrat or the word gun. Yes, he inferred hunting but that was it. His reference to the type of people who live there, their values and work ethic, was clearly understood by true Americans, the producers to our country’s economy, not the looters, moochers and non producers you envision.

      That you, in your guilty sense of mind, suggest Democrats are seen as Godless, moral-less, abortion-loving, flag hating, lazy, jobless communists, is the cross you have to bear. Get use to the load. You earned it! Remember, freedom is the goal,the Constitution is the way.

      • Karolyn

        He most certainly did mention democrat and liberal!

        • http://ByGeorge By George

          Mea Culpa Karolyn but I hope you didn’t miss the point.

          • CP

            George, I do believe you need to get out and meet the REAL Democrats, the ones who ride those combines and cut that hay. Yes, some of those people are Republicans, as the Republican party used to do a pretty good job of looking out for the businessman’s interests. The Democrats are Democrats because the Democratic party used to do a decent job of looking out for the working man. Now neither party does much of anything except complain about what the other side has done, but will offer no real answers other than cut or tax. Now you show ME a party, or even a small group, that has any chance of making much difference, and I might just listen to you.

          • Old Henry


            vote Libertarian.

        • DC/Tex

          Here is Karolyn again with all of her homosexual and Muslim friends. The homosexual agenda is the absolute worst disease on the morals of the USA and the world! Homosexuals WERE NOT BORN THAT WAY so homosexuality does not qualify as a civil rights discrimination issue!

          • Sheldon

            We have a nice father and son story about hunting and spending time together in a nice part of the country. (I’ve never been there, but if a Canadian neighbor raves about it, maybe it might be something worth investigating.) How did homosexuality become part of this discussion? Hardly relevant and totally inappropriate for this topic… in my opinion.

          • DC/Tex

            Howdy Sheldon, Karolyn needs to hear about her agenda, and I plan to bring it up every chance I get. Sorry it had to be during a good hunting story.

        • Roy

          In a way that should be said, I think the only downturn was the liberal’s, in which I totaly agree, actually could not survive, in any kind of enviorment that would require,any physical enduance .

      • Grey Fedora

        You didn’t read very far, because it is right in the first sentence:

        “Every year at this time, I pack up my blaze orange, my snake boots and my 12 gauge, and I travel to the sort of place in which the average Democrat would be as comfortable as Janet Napolitano in a bikini contest.”

        You might also consider reading the last paragraph:

        “and the liberals would go stir crazy once they realized the nearest Starbucks® is 200 miles away.”

        The article was nothing but offensive, small minded, stereotype reinforcement to make the so-called “real Americans” feel smug and superior to the rest of us who don’t agree with the direction they are taking the country.

        • Grey Fedora

          And you sir, are no better, with your implications about “work ethic” and “values.” As a blue collar working man, I resent being called a moocher and non-producer. The real moochers and non-producers are the Wall Street banker class who have never laid one brick on top of another their entire lives, and skim off the labor of everyone else.

          “His reference to the type of people who live there, their values and work ethic, was clearly understood by true Americans, the producers to our country’s economy, not the looters, moochers and non producers you envision.”

          • Roy

            Oh ! Here we go. The wall street protester’s are now law abiding citzen’s, hard working, They don’t have to work for a living. The truth is, if they had a real job and a family to support, they couldn’t be there at the wall street protest’s.

        • http://ByGeorge By George

          Well, aren’t they?

          • djdrew103

            Roy, anyone that isn’t addicted to following media hype and the Conservative/Republican facade of trying to make the protesters look like a bunch of hooligans, will admit that they are not such.

            Certain media sources try to paint them as such, yet there are hooligans among any protest group that will tend to degrade the correct purpose of the gathering.

            When the Tea Party first started, the media spread the hype about the mixed up, mentally imbalanced of the lot, complaining and protesting, making downright racial slurs and crazy viewpoints. Its all a ratings racket. Now, that the genuine solidity of the protest spreads across the nation and from city to city, they are beginning to publish articles and showing more of the reality of the issues, the stability of the movement, the real people-working employed, the wealthy that support the issues, the responsible and devoted members. They are now beginning to treat it more like the real movement it is. In some locales, the OWS protesters have been reported by the media to be asking police for help in controlling the unruly attenders, the hooligans. Some have even complained about the street people who are getting provisions just because they are free, and camping out in the open just because they can. See my comments below….

            Any one stuck in the original hype spread by the Repugs is merely that, stuck!

      • Void1972

        By george
        For those that don’t know about history … Here is a condensed version: Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

        The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

        1 . Liberals
        2 Conservatives.

        Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That’s how villages were formed.

        Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement…

        Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly BBQ’s and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

        Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. They became known as girlie-men. Some note worthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided

        Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass for obvious reasons.

        Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn’t fair to make the pitcher also bat.
        Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud or Miller. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, engineers, corporate executives, athletes, members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively.

        Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

        Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America.. They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

        Here ends today’s lesson in world history:

        It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before deleting it.

        A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to piss them off.

        And there you have it. Let your next action reveal your true self…..I’m going to have another beer.

        • Old Henry


          LOL! and oh so true!

      • djdrew103

        George, George, George…

        you make your blind viewpoint most openly..

        you didn’t see once huh?

        The “Liberal” statement wasn’t enough huh?

        Liberal republican > Conservative


        You didn’t say anything about your own affiliation, but the blindness is acute enough to cast the vote for you…Repug to the heart?

        Point is, there are many as myself that are neither one side or the other, we are free and anti-enslavement and can use our own brains to make our points with!

        While I stand against freeloaders, I also stand against thieves who try to paint entitlement programs as handouts instead of responsibility to those they were originally designed to facilitate. Abuses are in abundance true, but reforming those programs is what is needed in this country, and of course scorn those who seek to eliminate the programs all together. Repugs and Conservatives never seemed to be against these entitlement programs so strongly until we became so much aware that the deficit was in extreme trouble and …whoops…there we go! The trust fund legal robbery became public knowledge and of course…whoops, there we go again! What’s going to happen when those entitlement program trust funds have to be paid back?

        See, we the few who represent the so many, don’t have to give BLIND support to a party, any party, to know that its both parties that are the thieves of our society, not the entitlement programs.

        Being in the middle gives me the truthful position and power to chastise any and either party, and those who blindly represent them.

    • James in NY

      Excellent point Marv. Enough of this “Only I am a true American” talk. It may feed Ben’s ego but it is utter nonsense.

    • Karolyn

      You took the words right out of my mouth. One cannot paint with such a broad brush. “Liberals/leftists/democrats=bad. Republicans/conservatives/rightwing=good.” Totally ridiculous! I don’t think folks who write this stuff really get around as much as they should. Stereotypes are just that!

      • Maryland Freestater

        Karolyn says:

        “You took the words right out of my mouth. One cannot paint with such a broad brush. “Liberals/leftists/democrats=bad. Republicans/conservatives/rightwing=good.” Totally ridiculous!”

        The only fault I find with this statement is that is should say – “Liberals/ leftists / democrats EVIL, Republicans/ conservatives / rightwing NOT MUCH BETTER.”

        Prove me WRONG.

    • dave


      Sir!! You are very uninformed and somewhat nieve. The fact of the matter is that most dumocraps are godless and immoral and unethical individuals . Example being their stand on abortion and the blatant willingness to slaughter an innocent human being!!!!. Most dumocraps are anti gun and anti hunting and it isnt really even close. Far more are anti gun and anti hunting than are for it.The author of this article has written an accurate portrayal of the real America . Or at least America as it used to be before liberal communist dumocraps began to twist and spin it into something that today is becomming more and more unrecognizable .

      • CP

        Dave, I will tell you the same thing I have told others. Get out and MEET some those whom you decry so loudly before you wind up making yourself look a bigger fool than you have already.

        • http://ByGeorge By George

          I’ll speak for myself and probably Dave too, but look for democrats at the “Occupy Wall Street” events.

    • Dagney

      Let’s use a government vote as a gauge of the opinions of all Democrats. 87% of the DEMOCRATS in the house and, I believe 100% of Democratic Senators in office voted in favor of the MARXIST take-over of our health care, instituting DEATH PANELS. So, if the shoe fits, wear it. I’m sure there are plenty of (D)’s who switched to (I)’s or (R)’s since that vote. But, the ones who have not, must be judged by the company they have KEPT!

      • CP

        Dagney, I do so love to see people stomp on their own tongues. What do you think insurance companies are doing now, if not rationing health care? They may not have a formal panel to determine whether or not a treatment is worth giving to this person, but they do that and more every day by declining to pay for a proven procedure because, in their words, it won’t work, or it is too expensive. Granted, you can appeal their decision, but by the time a determination has been made, it is often too late to do the aggrieved party any good.

        • Dagney

          Really? They are rationing now? Please show us all proof of that. However, you don’t specify why they must now start rationing if, in fact, they are? An oversight on your part I’m sure. Yes, we all do know about the increase in premiums BECAUSE of the health care law. That’s a given. Please explain the rationing that was done by the Medicare system prior to the UNaffordable Care Act and the acceleration that will happen after? I’m sure you’ve heard about IPAB put in place just for that purpose, right?

          • Roy

            So true what was it they took from medicare,to help fiance Obama’s healthcare. Medicare may be broke, but the congress and all the president’s help break it in a big way. You call these program’s entitlement’s, I guess in a way they are, I paid into all my working life, with all the goverment asked me to pay. No matter how the ball roll’s or how the cookie crumble’s. And therefore they are entitled to be paid, I kept up my part of the bargin, an the goverment should be forced to also do so. Maybe by chance the goverment official’s should be worked on. None of them paid in on their’s in which got even better with them voting on the increase’s Truman was the first president to draw a pension a mere 25,000. Look at the job today, and what they do, then take another look, at the pension they draw today./ The lifetime job’s should turn to term limit’s, But then no one will vote themselves out of a job like that. Politician’s all of them ,has more power now, than they were ever intended to have . For the people, by the people, The people need to take control again, and never again let them get that power >>

      • eddie47d

        Dagney is proving Karolyn’s point in this labeling of Democrats as Marxists and supporting death panels. Leave the rat poison in the cupboard next time Dagney. Other than that I have been to South Dakota 3 times and from end to end in both directions and loved it. Only been to North Dakota once but I do love farmland and open spaces.

        • Karolyn

          People who so love to use labels for whole groups of people fail to see the variations that are present. Not ALL democrats are for the same thing just as not all republicans are for the same thing. That’s why there is always infighting. People are people and are many faceted. Pigeonholing people is a narrow view shared by narrow-minded people.

          • Howard

            You are correct, each of us is more complex than just a label. However, to say that pigeonholing is narrow minded ignores the congressional votes where 100% of Democrats (or Republicans) all say aye to laws that are restrictive, destructive or wasteful. They pigeonhole themselves. I live in the middle of Missouri, and my neighbors and friends are Democrats in large numbers. How they cannot see the move from “the party of the little guy” to this current “free for all” of corruption, special interests and fiscal irresponsibility is just beyond me. And, us Republicans are certainly no better. Let’s vote em all out!

          • Dagney

            Karolyn: I guess you missed the part where I said…”I’m sure there are plenty of (D)’s who switched to (I)’s or (R)’s since that vote. But, the ones who have not, must be judged by the company they have KEPT!” So, please explain how I am painting ALL Democrats with the same brush?? I am, however, painting MOST with the Marxist brush because all who do approve of it are either STUPID and don’t understand our CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC in the least, or they can only be Marxists. There is no other explanation.

          • bob wire

            “People who so love to use labels for whole groups of people fail to see the variations that are present.”

            Karolyn, the biggest problems arises when someone is attempting to assign everyone a “box” but they only have two or three boxes.

            Needless to say, Ben Crystal does this every time he sits down to write. He know no better and has so few boxes.

            Unless he is shooting geese, why a 12 gauge if he’s some kind of a frontiers/sportsman hunter? I guess he lays down a curtain and has small birds try to fly though it? Fall is not geese season, there is few around in most of the lower 48, maybe someones pets. Crystal is a two box, 12 gauge man. It’s horse shoes and hand grenades, where a clear miss but an “almost” ~ he wants to claim as a hit.

        • Dagney

          “From each according to his ability, TO each according to his need” -Karl Marx. If the ALMOST 100% vote to APPROVE the THEFT and unconstitutional UNafforadable Care Act by the Democrats in office prior to 2010 doesn’t give certain confidence that MOST Democrats are MARXISTS, well I’m sure I can find a bridge in BFE that would be a REALLY GREAT investment for you!

    • Patriot II

      Marv, If were a democrat, and I were concerned about being cast as the type that does not hunt, I should clean out the communist Sociaists, Envronmentalist, Un- Amercan, Gun Control Marxist SOBs in my own party that make the rest of us think that way.

    • Ted Crawford

      Given the governance of the elected public officials with a (D) following their name just what other conclusions could possibly be drawn?
      PPACA- A, weak I admitt, first step towards Socialized medicine
      Frank-Dodd- Requires that financial institutions keep hugh sums of money on hand, then deamonizes them for.. keeping hugh sums of money on hand!
      Pelosi- “We have to pass it to see what’s in it”…”Unemployment is one of the best tools we have to fix the economy”
      Reid- “We have to pass it to see if it works”… Sits on virtially every bill relating to jobs or the budget, that has passed the House for 10 months
      Obama- $4+ Trillion added to deficit in three years, with $1+ Trillion annually as far into the future as the eye can see. Appoints people such as;
      Van Jones- a self proclaimed Socialist
      Annetta Dunn- Who thinks Mao was a wise leader
      Tim Guietner- National Tax Chief, who can’t even use Turbo Tax properly!
      Eric Holder- Presides over an organization that provides guns to drug cartels, across International boundries, lies to Congress and attacks our own States
      I can’t understand what other conclusion could possibally be arrived at!

    • Mirage

      Exactly Marv, not all gun loving people/hunters are Tea Party/Republican types!
      Ben Crystal’s piece reads like a John Wayne wanna-be, too stupid to see the forest for the trees. At least he’s consistant.
      The character of a man isn’t measured by how many things he can kill. It is that type of Type-A-personality thinking, that helped Wall Street/Government bury this country, and the world.
      I support the Second Amendment and would fight for it with my life, but I’ll not support any group that bashes grass roots movements like “Occupy Wall Street”, or “Get Money Out”, and that is what many on the Right are doing.
      I’ve lived in the bush in Alaska where there were more bears than people, its taken me 3 days to pack elk out of the mountains of Utah by myself, and though I think he’s part B.S. artist, I’ll vote for Barack Obama in 2012. Why? It is simple, his support of wanting universal health care, and he is not speaking out against “Occupy Wall Street” and “Get Money Out”. Thus far, Obama is willing to do more for Main Street than most on the RIGHT, so I reluctantly will take him.
      If Republican Goemmer (sp.) of Louissana can mount a campaign … I’ll listen, as so far, I like what he’s said.
      Don’t belong to any one party – first and foremost: “Country First”!

    • Old Henry

      Marv, the Republican Party would be MUCH better off is they were all like the TEA Party folks – and so would the nation.

  • bruce

    Enjoy, Ben!! Just got back from fishing with my Dad who is 81, brothers and two sons. May not be many more of those, but we’ve fished in the Gulf of Mexico since I was a kid, and now it’s down to once, in the fall, per year.
    Would like to know where, exactly, you go out there? I’ve always wanted to go out there. I’ll be hunting with my boys this year and we’ll go out of our way to get Dad down to the club at least once. This is the stuff of life, and I know EXACTLY what you mean about the good folks in rural America.

  • Richard Weaver

    One of the best trips I ever had was when I took my dad pheasant hunting in Kansas. We had a great time and the people were the best. Time spent with family and friends should be treasured.

  • Acers2

    I could of gone the whole day with out thinking about Pheasants.Now I have a solid stream of drool covering my keyboard. No place like South Dakota, for pheasant hunting. Someone get the mop!

  • phil

    It’s so important to spend quality time with our loved ones as time passes so quickly. There is no better way than enjoying what God has provided for us in the outdoors. We chased the birds in a little town named Regent in N Dakota with great sucess. Plenty of public land or you can use the services of several local guide services. Enjoy!

  • Tim

    There is something dreadfully wrong with anyone who enjoys killing anything. I love hunting accidents!

    • Donald R. Megerle

      Tim….Do you ‘love seeing hunters, being mistaken for prey, accidentally shot to death?’…if this is true…YOU are one sick SOB!!!!

      • Vic Bailey

        Donald, Tim is one of those people that want someone else to do everything for him. He probably can’t stand to get his lilly white hands to get dirty, he is above that! Semper Fi.

      • Dagney

        Yes, the bane of the existence of the typical Liberal who values animals over the lives of human babies or adults! Has to do with trying to make their unhappy lives feel better, but just can’t come up with compassion for his fellow man. Pity the fool!

        • eddie47d

          All creatures should be valued including humans and wildlife. Whether a fetus is a welcome addition to a family or not is that families responsibility not mine. When it come to hunting I would not hunt for sport but only to put food on the table. I eat meat but value the life of every animal born. They should be treated with respect until their time comes. I have seen hunters take more than they need or what is allowed. Most are very responsible but the few who aren’t are no friend of life.

          • Roy

            And believe me, when I get hungry, their time has come. One thing for sure, I would hate to eat game if a liberal killed it. I remember a liberal, year’s ago before a liberal was so popular. Him ,me, and couple more went squirrel hunting, about 3 hr’s later we all got bach to the truck,and started discussing the experance with one another. Some one asked Larry how he had done. He said pretty fairb but all he found was 3 young fox squirrel’s, and therefore withdrew from his hunting jacket , 3 full grown chipmunk’s!

        • Patriot II

          Dagney; I agree

    • Vic Bailey

      Tim, were you born SLOW, everything that people eat has to be killed, it is our primal instincts, so if you like to eat, let the hunters and gathers do the job for you, or STARVE! Semper Fi.

      • Robert Smith

        If that there christian god didn’t want us to eat animals he wouldn’t have made them out of meat.


        • Howard

          I am hoping that comment was meant to make me laugh. cause it sure did!

      • Patriot II

        Vic, Well Put!

    • keith

      Tim, very obviously you have never been exposed to hunting and time spent afield. Had you, you would know that pulling the trigger is a very SMALL part of the experience and appeal. Hunting is a very vital part of wildlife conservation. Were it not for hunters/fisherpersons there would be no wildlife today. I fully support hunting, wildlife conservation and gun rights. No where in the world do I feel closer to God than in the woods at sunrise!!!

      • Patriot II

        Keith, Well put, I totally agree, especially when you consider (my Opinion), that “Beastilaity” is the foundatiuon of Satan and that is why many Liberals/Marxists think that animals are equal to Man.

        BTW, In my personal opinion, and not to say that anyone else needs to look at it this way,……It is my point of View, that it is perfectly fine to say fishermen. the word “men” is found in wo”men” as well and “Man” is referred to as “Man” (as in not an animal).

        So in other words when referring to Women, are we expected to refer to males as “Men” and females as “persons”? “Oh look the persons are having a Tupper Wear party”. Is that where this PC Crap is going?

        If Women find that offensive then it is their problem and they need to lighten up (in my opinion) I am fed up with Political Correctness!!

        • Roy

          Does that mean that liberal’s/marxist make love to buffalo’s

    • Patriot II

      Tim, maybe you should become a hunting Accident!

    • Patriot-Guru


      Your operative words are “killing anything” and therefore, please do us all a favor; the next time any threatening life-form (animal or insect) comes upon your body … let it do its thing! Stand firm in your psychotic beliefs about “killing anything” and sacrifice yourself to the greater good of the non-human kingdom. Better yet, the next time a deadly virus and/or bacteria invades your pathetic body (or mind); allow it to go through its course. Put up or shut up!

      Want a good definition of irony? Here’s one that I came up with.

      A candlelight vigil is being held outside of a prison that will be executing a rapist/murderer who killed several women. One of the young ladies attending the vigil holding a sign that reads “Execution is Murder” looks down at her watch. She gasps “Oh crap, I’ll be late for my appointment.” Quickly she tosses her sign into the back of her car, jumps in and drives off so she can make her appointment at the Abortion Clinic.

      • eddie47d

        Some think nothing of killing humans and some think nothing of killing animals. There should be dignity in any death and no pleasure should be found from doing so. Whether you are a soldier,a criminal,a hunter or even someone seeking an abortion. Show respect and have a conscience for any life that is taken away or you have no conscience. Someday you will suffer the consequences of your action. Not all who kill are nobel and not all who kill are criminal.

        • Patriot II

          Eddie, “Show Respect” I agree totally! That is why in Hunter’s safety we teach Respect to “the Hunted Game” A clean Kill is what is taught so that the animal does not suffer but is killed instantly. I grew up hunting and eating wild game, People who are not good shots and are not responsible for a “Clean Kill” should either practice or stay home!

          • eddie47d


      • Patriot II


        Well stated!

  • conservative independent

    Tim how do you live? are a vegen? life sustains life. I sure hope you don’t eat any meat or have any clothes or anything that had to give its life so you can be comfortable. You know leather, wool, steak a hamburg. just remember if you live in anything other than a mud hut or a sleeping bag in the feild something gave up its home or life so you could have your fancy home we have to clear fields and displace wild animals to build the stores you buy your creature comforts from and the shopping malls sub divisions and the many other things we deem necessary. You probably think that all food comes from the store don’t you. another bleeding heart liberal that has no clue
    but has to have a cause.

  • Edwin Hamilton

    Most stereotypes exist because they are true.

  • mark

    Right Ben, this is Amerika as it was and should be. An Aryan wilderness where the Volk can be at one with nature, where you can walk for miles and never seen an African American, an Hispanic American, an Asian American or any minority. Protestant Anglo-Saxon America. It is little wonder that nearby Idaho is a fascist wonderland as well. Timothy McVeigh loved the Dakotas also. You are in good company

    • Morduin00

      Mark, I have read your post several times and cannot figure out where you got such a rant. Therefore I conclude it is sarcasm. Anything else just makes you look stupid.

    • Patriot II

      Mark, Please leave our Country if you hate it so much.

      • James in NY

        Mark never said he hates his country. Do you think Timothy McVeigh loved his country? Don’t put words in people’s mouths. The author seems to imply that urban America (where a large majority of Americans live) is not really America, that anyone who thinks differently than he is not an American. We are a diverse nation. Let’s be proud of that.

        • Karolyn

          Amen! Just because someone lives in the country and may live off the land does not make him any more of an American than the city dweller.

          • Carlee

            Karolyn, it just makes him closer to God.

          • Karolyn

            Carlee – I get where you’re coming from, but it’s not necessarily true. One’s spirituality is all about one’s inner self no matter where he lives. Most of my life I have lived in the country and would not live in the city, but I would never look down on those who live in the city as less-than.

        • Patriot II

          James, Mark’s spelling of America with a K in stead of a C is where I stopped. That level of disprespt for our country is exactly what prompted me to say what I did. No need to go further!

          Read it again, with OPEN eyes this time.

          • eddie47d

            Yes spelling America differently is wrong.So is those who constantly spell Obama’s name wrong. They are both being malicious.

          • James in NY

            Mark was being satirical. I reside in New York City (75% of you here must really hate me now)but I share a beach house right on the Atlantic. Deer roam freely around the house. That is where I go to feel close to God although to be honest, I feel close to God when walking around the streets of my great city with its great mix of people.

    • Patriot II

      Mark; you sound very biased and have just lumped all of Idaho and the Dakotas in your condesending commments. I ‘ll bet they love you there!

      Here let me be a mirror, I’m taking you words and filling in the opposite:

      This is America as it was and should NOT be. A land of Scumm Big Cities where Gangs and Drug Pushers can be at one with the Scum, where you can’t walk ten feet without seeing a lazy Bumb or Gang Drug Pusher and never see a Good Ol Country Boy, or a Patriot or anyone one with any common sense! It is little wonder that nearby Chicago is a Gang Land of Mafia and and corrupt politicians as well. The black panthers who are biased and promote prejudice love Detroit as well! You are in good company

  • Morduin00


    Nice article. Hope you enjoyed being out in God’s country with your father. But, I have to say. I am a little pissed at you. The phrase you used Janet Napolitano in a bikini contest” nearly cost me my breakfast. Have care man!!! Isn’t the world bad enough without that imagery? Now I may have to go postal to relieve this unwarranted tension.

  • CP

    Ben, I do agree with you about the joys of hunting and being in the outdoors. I quit hunting when I could no longer clean my own kill, but that has more to do with me, personally, than any belief hunting is wrong. I would still fish if I could walk to the river or the lake and dig my own worms, but physical problems preclude that, so I get to look and enjoy what I can get to comfortably. Our politics may differ, but we are all humans here, I think.

  • CM Betancourt

    But you need to respect those who don’t shoot pheasants or chew tobacco, WE TOO are Americans……This right-wing bull crap is just so nauseating…..The United States doesn’t even have a name for its nationality…..At least in Spanish-speaking nations they do :
    “”” UNITED STATERS “””” America is a continent shared by a couple of dozen nations, most of which speak Spanish, but our ARROGANCE prevents us from seeing the truth…..Give me that old time religion, and my hatred towards people who look different ! !
    The sooner we give up our religious beliefs, the more we will start loving each other as we are supposed to…..The BIG BANKS have the right wingers and left wingers fighting against each other, and sticking the red, white and blue up our a…….WAKE UP AMERICANS !

    • Patriot II

      CM, in the same way that ["But you need to respect those who don’t"],
      the Gays and the Envirnonmentalists, the Friends, Animals, and PETA need to respect our ways and opinions, by keeping their Agenda and opinions to THEMselves, Don’t you agree?

      BTW our definition of PETA is “People for the Eating of Tasty Animals”
      Do you eat Turkey on Thanksgiving? I prefer Pheasant for Thanksgiving

      • eddie47d

        Since you just bashed gays and environmentalists I doubt if you keep your agenda or opinions to yourself. Agreed. Heck we all have agendas and opinions. LOL

        • Patriot II

          eddie, I never bashed them, how did I bash them? Does anyone else think I bashed them? lol! your comments are impertinent, You make no sense to most of us.

      • Maryland Freestater

        Thought you might like to know I’m a member of PUTA, “People for the Unethical Treatment of animal-rights Actvists.”

        Seriously now, for as much as passions have been stirred in this article, thank GOD it wasn’t about FISHING!!!

  • Iris

    A TRUE American is someone who understands and operates on self-reliance. That is what the Constitution is all about! It basically says that we (individually) will ONLY come together as a united force for certain circumstances that can ONLY be dealt with as a group…

    There are many Democrats who still believe that, BUT unfortunately too many have been lulled into believing that the FEDS are the sugar daddy of their lives. When that falls apart, as it must, we will have the OCCUPIERS in the streets in droves. Remember New Orleans? Yep, it is going to be that bad.

    • Morduin00

      A most outstanding point Iris!

    • Karolyn

      I almost get the feeling you people enjoy predicting bad things to come. The truth is the more credence you give to all that negativity, the more you are influencing what will come will be negative.

      • Opal the Gem

        And the more pie in the sky every thing is going to be all right feelings you have the more likely you will be the bug instead of the windshield.

    • Karolyn

      That definiion of a “true American” could actually fit any nationality. However, are you saying that people who have been subject to repression and poverty and cannot climb out from under the load are not “true” Americans? The original slaves were not true Americans? No man is an island and must also have reliance on others to be a successful human being. There is no such thing as absolute self-reliance. People are people and no one is an better than any other. We are all brothers and sisters.

    • Patriot II

      Iris, Right On!!, BTW how are going to feel when New Orleans floods again. Stupid place to build, they should have let it become a Rice Paddy and built on higher ground, but then it wasn’t their money that rebuilt it where they did. Now in the Midlle of the dessert where no vegitation grows is the perfect place for Vegas, wastes no farm land as there isn’t too much of any significance for hundreds of miles.

      • Sheldon

        …but Las Vegas wastes water. That water could be better used for drinking and irrigation further down stream.

        • Patriot II

          Sheldon, yup danged if you do, danged if you don’t.

          • Sheldon

            hahaha, ain’t it the truth!

    • Patriot II


      A TRUE American is someone who understands and operates on self-reliance. That is what the Constitution is all about! AND WHY THE LIBERALS AND MARXISTS MUST BE STOPPED FROM DESTROYING THE CONSITUTION. It basically says that we (individually) will ONLY come together as a united force for certain circumstances that can ONLY be dealt with as a group…

      There are many Democrats who still believe that, BUT unfortunately too many have been lulled into believing that the FEDS (BY THE MARXIST/LIBERAL MEDIA) are the sugar daddy of their lives. When that falls apart, as it must, we will have the OCCUPIERS in the streets in droves. Remember New Orleans? Yep, it is going to be that bad. WORSE BECAUSE ALOT OF PEOPLE WILL COME TO OPPOSE AND DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND WHEN THREATENED BY THE LAZY BUMS!

      • theotherrhalf

        Why are you shouting?

  • Cheryl Arlington

    Ben………I really like the way you think!

  • Bill Scantlen

    To all those who deride Ben’s column, I suggest you actually read it to find the meaning of what America is all about. Naturally he threw in a few digs but so what? If anyone out there finds offense I suggest you continue reading the Daily Kos, HuffPost. That will fill the bill for all of the crybabies.( I, too, live in fly over country)

  • Western Beef Producer

    Very good article describing lands used to produce food. I wish I had time to outline all the regulations involved in using private and federal leased lands to produce food and fiber, and shelter. There are groups and especially people in this administration who want the lands in eleven western states for wildlife, and want no productive use of the resources especially livestock grazing. 44% of all beef produced in this country spend some time on federal lands used in conjunction with private and state lands. Western Water Sheds is the most active in filing lawsuits against federal agencies involving management of federal lands. Filing of freedom of information requests tie up personnel who should be managing resources. I am proud to be one of the productive members of this nation.

    • Carlee

      I pray that you will be able to continue to produce food, but our ‘czars’ seem to be bound and determined to shut all food production down and get our food from China or some other country. The laws and restrictions put on small farmers and growers is ridiculous. How many people have died from eating food from a small grower?????? eating food processed by a small producer????? or small butcher, etc.? They don’t really care how many people die – they just care about CONTROL! Right now we save seed and purchase from growers that have organic seeds. Saving seeds from your own farm is being threatened. Must by genetically engineered seeds from Monsanto. WAKE UP PEOPLE-YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.

    • Don

      WBP, thank you for being a producer !

    • Patriot II

      WBP: I agree totallt. , It may fall of Deaf Ears of the more Urbanite folks who are oblivious to Livestock production and agriculture, especailly when it comes to knowing the difference between Conservationism and Environmentalism. We need to re-introduce the Wolf to one of its’ natural Habitats…….Holywood Hills, they can have that part, it’s all ready wasted! lol!

  • Emilie


    Thank you for the great article… Fall is my favorite season, even out here in the Sonoran desert. It’s finally cooled down, and you can smell wood smoke in the air. The plants that survive here are loving it also, and are in bloom again. The Texas Ranger and Mexican Bird of Paradise are beautiful side by side.
    While I don’t hunt, I do shoot. And I’ve been waiting for this cool down so we can take the guns out a little later in the day, and spend more than just an hour.
    In the meantime, you and your pops have a great hunt. (My son in law recently bagged himself a real nice buck with his bow. Lots of fuzz on the antlers, and around eighty pounds of venison.)

  • GuyFromWinnipeg

    Dear Mr. Crystal:
    A few years back I took my family to visit Mount Rushmore, recreating a trip my family had done in the late 60s. Unlike my dad, I stayed off the Interstate highways and travelled the backroads of North and South Dakota. I don’t know about the hunting (you know how hard it is for hunting parties to admit first timers!) but for our summer trip, we found the fishing to be pretty good. You are absolutely correct, it is beautiful country, populated (rather sparsely) with absolutely terrific people. I never met a hayseed or a hick, while travelling through “big sky” country or marvelling at the Missouri River, but I met a lot of great people with big smiles. Courtesy, manners and friendliness seem to be the main industry in these parts. I encourage anyone here to spend a few days camping and exploring this majestic area and meet some great people. My kids can’t wait to make to the trip again, and if our trip is just half as good as what I imagine your father & son trips must be, I can hardly wait to do it again.
    Thanks for a great story and stirring up some fond memories.

  • Buck

    You , Sir , are a real heartbreaker , only because I now live in a state with no credible pheasant hunting . Would that I could afford it I would happily join you . Good Hunting Ben !

  • S.C. Murf

    Ben, as a young boy, in an hours time I could walk from South Dakota to Iowa and then into Nebraska and back to Iowa. The 4th of July was great, shooting fire works off in North Sioux City South Dakota then more fire works in South Sioux City Nebraska and then supper in Sioux City Iowa, and no Sioux City Sue is not my sister. There is nothing like the mid-west, but don’t get me wrong we do have our share of [comment has been edited] both repub’s and dem’s. To this day I hunt both Iowa and South Dakota, and then someone mentioned fishing, now you started it. Either the Walleye and Perch of the rivers and lakes of North Western Iowa or the Walleye of the waters of the Missouri River and the lakes of South Dakota. The wide open spaces are the greatest and I’ve been around this world twice as near as I can figure so I have seen a lot and this is where I choose to raise my family, live and die. And I am a lot closer to my death than my birth and I will not leave. I’ve lived in Minneapolis and Des Moines, you can have the big cities. When it all comes crashing down the big cities will be the death of everyone living there, but here in the mid west we will have a fighting chance. And no Big K I am not being negative, I believe in being prepared, being aware of the situation that I am walking into. It’s like the two finger peace sign, to the pacifist it means peace but to the activist it means victory

    up the hill

  • Alex

    Wrong again, Ben.

    While there are certainly great people in this country, the nation itself does not pass the “Great Country” test.

    Your sniffling pastoral aside, you cannot possibly call our nation a “Great Country”.

    Consider the three most evil nations of modern times: The USSR, Nazi Germany, and us. All three of us have used forced relocation, genocide, starvation, chemical and biological weapons, intolerance of variant ideologies, etc. ONLY WE have dropped atomic bombs on sleeping babies, not the Nazis, not the Soviets. Also, the terror of the Nazis lasted but a dozen years, the Soviets about seven decades. This wretched country, on the other hand, has been spreading its Evil for nearly two and one half centuries!! Hands down, the White Estates of Amerika is THE MOST EVIL EMPIRE EVER.

    Now go shoot some stuff, Ben, but watch out for Dick Cheney. The last time he went hunting he drunkenly shot his ‘best friend’ in the face and then, rather than going to visit his best friend in the hospital, he disappeared for 24 hours to sober up. Republican values…..HAAA!!!!

    • Patriot II

      It would be a Great Nation again if we could just get people like you the Hell out if it!!

    • Matt Cuddy

      Jeez Alex, if this place is so evil why don’t you move to Cuba or some other place that seems to share your somewhat odd set of values.

  • Matt Cuddy

    Now ’bout shootin’ guns ‘n stuff. I live in Beeyotiful Downtown Burbank, and a few days ago our Commander & Chief came to town to crack jokes on the Jay Leno show, he did pretty good too, maybe a new career when his 1st one ends in 2012. Anyway a few buddies of mine and I were sitting in the backyard, drinking beer (what else) and we saw this phalanx of black helocopters fly right over the house, obviously the POTUS and his security detail. One buddy, who shall remain nameless said “Ah hell you could take one of those out with a 12 gaude slug….” Andya know something? He’s RIGHT!

    Now I don’t hate Obama like most of my neighbors do, and being a religous type, I pray for him and his family every night, that he makes the right decisions for our country and all that, and I hope he does. But Pres. Obama, try to keep some altitude when flying over Burbank next time, ya never know…..

  • bob wire

    “Every year at this time, I pack up my blaze orange, my snake boots and my 12 gauge, and I travel to the sort of place in which the average Democrat would be as comfortable as Janet Napolitano in a bikini contest.”

    You just told us something Ben Crystal. You don’t know $hit from shoe polish when it comes to your sworn adversary, the democrats.

    These notions you have about other people and politics, you pull straight out of your a$$. Snake boots and blazing orange!? You are a real dude!

    You need to hunt on a bigger place if you are afraid of someone might mistake you for a turkey and pop a cap in your backside. A couple dozen of sections at least. What are you trying to do ~ hunt 500 acres?

    And hey! don’t step on snakes, especially the those long round ones that all coiled up. Watch where you step, it really pisses them off.

  • iam

    Ben, thank you for an excellent article. Reading it took me home.

  • proud to fight and serve my country

    Ben Crystal is a brave man with a gun when it comes to hunting animals, what about not being such a coward who will not fight in Iqar or Afghanistan. Go figure.

  • Thinking About

    Ben, if you arrived at your destination you probably have some democrats to thank. If drive or ride on interstates or county roads you probably have some democrats to thank. When you enjoy freedoms you probably have democrats who gave their lives defending those freedoms. In every direction you turn there are democrats who are currently working or have worked. If you are successful on your hunting trip you should thank democrats who have backed conservation of wildlife. We should be uniting this great nation and ceasing the division. We have to work together to make this nation greater. Focus energies on bringing all Americans together.


    As I read this I’m getting ready to go pheasant hunting with my husband. Amen

  • John- WV

    Ben:I can’t possibly imagine Janet Napolitano in a bikini contest.Unless it would be a bikini contest for dikes.


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