By Blaine Davis, Contributing Editor

I’m still hiding behind my “ranch gate,” and reeling from this country’s apparent shift to socialism with the results of the 2020 election. Looking into 2021, I’m not sure I want to open that gate and venture out. Combined with the travesty of the election and the accompanying political rhetoric, the COVID-19 paranoia continues to the point this may be the scariest time in my 60-plus-year lifetime.

Close to home, what should have been a very spiritual and communal holiday with the gathering of family and friends, Christmas was misplaced and turned upside down. Tammy, my wife, succumbed to the virus and was nearly incapacitated on Christmas Day to the point I drove her to a University of Colorado emergency care clinic. Having spent several days in close contact, our daughter, granddaughter and I never exhibited any symptoms and can’t be added to the numbers game being played throughout this ordeal. My wife, being a health professional and practicing all the safeguard protocols, only makes me second guess how she can contract COVID and the three of us didn’t?

Further questioning imposed protocols, a recent interview with Taylor Sheridan, creator of Paramount Network’s Yellowstone, which I liken to The Godfather on horseback, caught my attention. Being one of the first TV series to film during the pandemic and putting together a group of 200 people was very risky, but Taylor told them, “Trust me. The whole thing takes place on a ranch; it’s the safest place on Earth. At least from the virus standpoint.”

Sympathetic to those who have lost family and friends to COVID-related issues, I still question the numbers to why a mortality rate of 0.1 percent can essentially shackle the other 99.9 percent of the population?

Thinking back on 2020, a number usually associated with visual acuity, this election’s numbers were definitely blurred as, the first time in American history, an incumbent president receiving 10 million more votes than the previous election wasn’t re-elected. Adding to the myopia of the situation was, in several large metropolitan bastions of the Democratic party, the Biden/Harris ticket received significantly less of the vote than in Obama’s two victories and Clinton’s election loss.

Reviewing these numbers, makes me then ask, what can the number or year 2021 mean? Twenty-one is considered a winning hand in the card game Blackjack. But as we all know, games of chance or gambling are skewed to the point that the “house” has the advantage. As the old adage states, “Las Vegas wasn’t built on winners.”

Applying this logic to the year 2021 and the direction our nation’s capital is heading only scares me even more with one political party holding all the cards and the “house’s” advantage. Their socialist agenda attacks everything that makes America great.

Seemingly first on their agenda is the elimination of fossil fuels, which presently provides more than 80 percent of America’s energy needs and more than 10 million well-paying American jobs. On my family’s wheat and corn farm, we rely 100 percent on oil and gas to plow, plant and harvest these crops. Considering the agriculture industry as a whole, fossil fuels are integral in the production of the fertilizers needed to be more efficient on diminishing acres of arable land to feed the ever-increasing population.

Curtailing the production and use of fossil fuels would also cripple the ethanol industry, which could undermine market prices of corn and sorghum. Being a member of a self-regulated, farmer-owned gas supply network, our irrigation is totally dependent on this fuel to pump the crop-sustaining water to the Earth’s surface. In fact, to protect ourselves from the perceived “green” movement and its inevitable energy price increases, our network has purchased natural gas supply contracts through the 2025 crop year. Ironically, that would be the year that a new administration would take office in Washington, D.C.

Short term, I witnessed unleaded gasoline pump prices fluctuating as much as 50 cents per gallon in as few as 30 miles during my recent trip into Colorado. Conversely, at my favorite smoking lounge, one of my cigar connoisseurs from the petroleum industry stated the oil field was rebounding and there was a glut of unleaded gasoline, thus the price should be stable well into the spring of 2021, making me ask, “What gives?” With Washington holding the “house” advantage, just one card dealt could bust of our hand to over 21 and run the cost of gas up and furlough millions in the oil and gas workforce, crippling America’s energy independence.

In perusing Will Verboven’s last column, Canadians Have Election Anxiety (“The View from Up North,” Dec. 2020/Jan. 2021 CALF News), I believe I could amend his title to include Americans, meaning those from below the border have the same feeling. As Will wrote, “In Canada, we already have a federal liberal government that can be described as governed by eco-socialist ideology. It would seem from this foreign observer’s view that the new Biden administration may also harbor eco-socialist opinions on many issues, including agriculture and food production.”

In 2019, United States agriculture, food and related industries amounted to $1.09 trillion or 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), with farms accounting for $136.1 billion or .6 percent of the GDP. As maligned as agriculture, whether it be crop or livestock production, is in socialist “green” ideology this is a gamble in which the “house” again holds the advantage. Combined with the annual new available jobs just in this field amounting to 50,000, I shudder to think that these numbers can’t outweigh the “house” perceived odds.

Another number that has recently surfaced is 25, as in the 25th Amendment of U.S. Constitution. After a recent insurrection of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and the Democratic Party rise to control, they are demanding to invoke the 25th Amendment on the sitting president who has fewer than 10 days in office. I’m sure they don’t even know what is in four sections of the amendment that actually deals with the order of succession to the presidency, not the removal of the president.

Even grasping at straws, Section 4 procedures are limited and involve the vice president, a majority of cabinet secretaries and other officials. Congress must designate by law to provide a written statement to both the Senate and House of Representatives that the president is unable to fulfill his duties, not accuse him of perceived wrongs. I believe this and the intense hoopla over the march to and subsequent unlawful and unacceptable attack on the Capitol are smoke screens covering up the real issue that more than 70 million Americans have – that the election was wrought with fraud.

Still behind my “ranch gate” and staying safe, I shuffle my deck of cards to deal a hand of solitaire, thinking, “Are my odds of winning better than succeeding in what appears to be some trying and scary times for the next year and beyond?”