To the Editor,

The thoughts of a humble cattleman:

Dear Speaker Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell,

I am sitting in my study on the evening of Dec. 22, contemplating the news just published on the Drudge Report that you and the House of Representatives have agreed to capitulate on your stance against the proposed two month payroll tax cut extension offered by the Senate and endorsed by the President.

Now, I am a simple rancher and certainly the intricacies of politics are above my pay grade. That fact notwithstanding, I do understand animal behavior very well after many years raising livestock. Knowing that there are certain, unchanging truisms in Mother Nature leaves me puzzled by both (Boehner and McConnell) your decisions during the past week and this evening. Let me clarify my understanding, if I may, by example.

The future of my little enterprise depends upon many factors; but primary among those are my cows and my bull. I will skip the requirements of the cows for now as their desired traits are not germane to this discussion. The bull, however, is pivotal.

Not only must my bull be strong and virile; but he must be focused. I have chosen my particular bull because he gets the job done for which he was chosen.  When the neighbor’s bull jumps our enjoining fence, he tackles the problem head on. He will die before failing to protect his herd. You might say that once he takes a stand, you can’t budge him. Not without the fight of your life. My neighbor’s bull is bigger than mine; but I have never seen my bull back down. I have never seen my bull lose his herd to the guy next door.

Even though I have often worried for my bull while watching some of these titanic battles, secretly, I have been proud of his tenacity and courage. It appears to me that he has certain principles; which are unwavering and for which he is willing to indefatigably fight. It is his focus on those principles that I admire and value the most. It is that resolve that keeps my enterprise going. A bull is picked from many other male animals when young. His capabilities and potential are easily spotted. It is his confirmation, the way he carries himself, his presence and his early dominance within the entire herd. It is upon these perceived traits that the future success of my enterprise depends.

The other males soon become steers. I do not expect any more from these males than to become fat, happy, docile and compliant. It would be a great source of embarrassment for me to make the mistake of sending in a steer to do a bull’s job. Kind of like the folks in Ohio and Kentucky must feel tonight.

A Texas Son.

Larry Burden,