Too Much Monkey Bid-ness

Published 6:54 pm Sunday, March 24, 2024

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I know what you’re thinking as you read this title. I’m going to jump on the bandwagon of opposition to the idea of a monkey farm here in Decatur County. I will give my two-cents on that, but this column will touch on another subject as well.

            First, the monkey business here in town. Chuck Berry, one of rock and roll’s pioneers, wrote and recorded a song by the name “Too Much Monkey Business,” although the business word might have been “bid-ness.” It was released in 1956 and very popular. That was long before Safer Human Medicine, the name of the company that proposed this town and county for its monkey business.

            The first I heard was during my lead-up to surgery for my shoulder. I was sort of out of it, but I heard someone refer to Bainbridge, pejoratively, as Monkey Town. Curious, I finally called some friends and asked them, “What’s going on?” Then it was explained to me and I began to sense the local opposition.

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            I have, since, read many words on the situation, including an article in USA Today, which was very detailed. Imagine, our fine, little town making the big-time, national news of USA Today. Plus, all the signs about town. The opposition to the deal seems to have had a galvanizing effect on our county.

            Although Safer Human Medicine, according to the USA Today article, seems to be intent on moving forward, I don’t know.  A little daylight on the deal wouldn’t have been a bad idea. When things are done in secret and, then, simply foisted upon the unexpected, the backlash can be quite vocal. Particularly from those who seem to be most affected. I guess we will see.

            Which brings me to another situation that is questionable and bothersome. It’s the Tyson Foods decision to decimate the economy of a small, Midwest town by the name of Perry, Iowa. The population is about 8,200 and the driver of its economy for the last 23 years has been the Tyson Pork Plant. The plant employs over 1200, about 15 % of the residents of Perry.

            Those 1200 employees, however, affect many families and the resulting economic distress can be devastating to Perry, Iowa. It turns a prosperous and healthy town into a ghost town.

            Tyson Foods has been successful in the meat industry for decades. I have bought and enjoyed their products for years and understand that our capitalistic system depends upon reputable companies making appropriate business decisions. Tyson may be able to explain the closing of this plant and I have read that they are going to help the workers find other employment in other areas of the company.

            At the same time, it is alleged by some that Tyson Foods would like to take advantage of the influx of millions of asylum seeking immigrants. The company claims that it hires only legal citizens of the United States, but is willing to help those who might be seeking permanent status in our nation. There is nothing wrong with that.

            Unless, the bottom line is taking advantage of immigrants by paying lower wages, while shuttering plants that are already employing lifelong American citizens. That is morally indefensible.

            They claim that they only want to help those who are here, illegally, to become American citizens and they are willing to spend millions to do that. Again, a company as large and prosperous as Tyson Foods should strive to be successful and, as the saying goes, “what’s good for General Motors (or Tyson Foods) is good for the nation.”

            But not at the expense of small town America, like Perry, Iowa, or Bainbridge, Ga. For me, that’s too much monkey bid-ness!