I don’t often read the president’s twitter feed. If I want to read other people’s stream of consciousness, I’ll read Proust, and frankly I usually don’t usually want to read other people’s stream of consciousness in the first place. I can barely manage my own.
Still, I tend to see tweets by the president circulating around, another one just as soon as I’ve stopped wondering about the last. The latest tweet I’ve noticed from our president was made at one-thirty this afternoon, and it sparked my imagination. The explanation for it is likely mundane, but it sounds like Donald Trump is going to war with Canada over Wisconsin’s dairy farms.
The president writes:
Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!
I was intrigued. I’ve never really thought of Wisconsin as a “border state.” Yes, it’s technically the last piece of land before Canada, but there’s a Great Lake between the two. I myself have lived in Ohio for more than three decades now; it is also one Great Lake away from Canada, but I’ve never thought of Ohio as a border state either. You can’t even see Canada from Ohio. On clear days you can stand on the pebbly shore of Lake Erie, which we call “the beach,” and see about four miles to Kelley’s Island. Kelley’s Island is the property of Ohio, technically part of Erie County; from the far side of Kelley’s Island, it’s something like three miles to the Canadian border, and longer before you hit land.
In my experience, Ohioans just don’t think about Canada very much. The last time we looked to the north in fear of an invasion was in the war of 1812, when the British navy was repulsed on the lake by the brilliant Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. There’s still a monument in his honor at Put-in-Bay, though it looks nothing like him. These days, the only time Ohioans fret about Canada is when swarms of mayflies blow south across Lake Erie, and have to be swept off the walls of our summer cottages with brooms. People call them “Canadian Soldiers” in Northern Ohio, because that’s where they invade from.
Lake Erie is a lot smaller than Lake Superior. Mayflies have such a short lifespan, I don’t know if they’d survive a jaunt across Lake Superior. So my guess would be that Wisconsin residents think even less about Canada than those of us in Ohio do.
How could Canadians possibly disrupt the dairy farming business in “border states” like Wisconsin? Do Canadian marauders come across Lake Superior in galleons? Do they sneak into the pasture to milk the cows by night, and then smuggle the milk back home in weighted barrels towed behind the ship, like tea and sugar smugglers of the eighteenth century? Do the farmers come out the next morning to find their cows mysteriously dry? Is this the equivalent to waking up to find the gas siphoned out of your car, in Wisconsin?Maybe it’s the cows they steal. Maybe Canadian cattle rustlers attach the cows to pontoons and float them back up north. Or perhaps they just engage in regular raids, sailing down from Ontario in dragon-headed ships, burning the seaside farms, slaughtering cattle and carrying off the Wisconsin dairy maids as chattels. It could be that they they dump inferior Canadian cattle into the pasture to mate with the cows and produce weak offspring.
Maybe Canadian and Wisconsin ranchers keep getting into spats about which cows get to graze on the surface of Lake Superior, and Canadians have subtle ways of changing the brand on American cattle in order to claim them as their own. Perhaps Canadian dairy farmers hire women to stand on the shore of Lake Superior and Kuln at American cows until they wander into the lake and are drowned.
These are the things that ran through my own stream of consciousness, as I attempted to decipher the president’s tweet.
I googled around for awhile and finally found something about a Canadian tariff– Canada has high tariffs on dairy imports, and that’s probably what the president was trying to say. But I can’t see that in this age of refrigerated transport it makes much difference whether milk comes from a ‘border state” or farther south. The Canadian Prime Minister insists that global dairy overproduction, is the real problem with America’s dairy farms, but then again that’s just what a cattle rustler would say.
So, as far as I can tell, it seems Canada is not actively meddling with Wisconsin dairy farmers after all, just declining to buy even more milk it doesn’t need from the whole United States. I suppose Trump is going to sign an executive order intended to force Canadians to buy unwanted milk from “border states” just as he’s going to force coal to become profitable again and force consumers to buy and hire American. And all this force will no doubt be viewed as a restoring of free trade, so unlike the meddlesome, regulation-loving Democrats.
Perhaps he’s going to send the military across the Great Lakes and forcibly sell Wisconsin’s surplus dairy products to Canadians. Perhaps the next naval monument on the Great Lakes will be built on the Canada side, commemorating that day when a brave Canadian commodore sunk a marauding fleet of milk-laden ships from the dreaded ports of Wisconsin, and all the waters of Lake Superior turned creamy white. Perhaps the Canadians will stage an uprising and raid the American ships, throwing milk into the harbor. Perhaps, within our lifetime, we’ll be using our brooms to repel actual, human Canadian soldiers from our summer cottages on the shores of Lake Erie.
I certainly hope not. But wars have been fought for less.
As the president himself so eloquently stated: watch!
(image via Pixabay)