By Romeo Agbalog, Executive Director, Kern County Farm Bureau
This month marks 159 years since President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on that hallowed battlefield to dedicate it as a National Cemetery. Lincoln’s speech, though only a couple of minutes long, would have an everlasting impact on generations of Americans.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we may take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
I have written on matters specific to agriculture, economics, government, and politics before, and I feel compelled to share some thoughts from a political approach again for the reason that the words of Lincoln quoted above dovetails into a national activity that will occur on the second Tuesday in November – Election Day. Lincoln spoke about those who laid down their lives in the interest of freedom.
Today we enjoy many freedoms including the right to free speech. Here we can share political viewpoints and even critique our government, something that one may not dare do in other countries. Included with first amendment protections is the privilege to vote and participate in a democratic process that determines not just who will represent us in government, but also influence the priorities of the government. Remember that part in Lincoln’s address that says, “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
In Lincoln’s time, 90 percent of Americans lived on farms. Today, obviously that percentage is much less and sometimes it feels as though the input or influence of farmers and ranchers on matters of government and policy has waned along with that percentage. Farmers and ranchers around the country are struggling with the effects of inflation, higher costs on equipment, fertilizer, fuel, labor, seeds, trees, water, and other materials with costly and burdensome regulations to boot. Is it just me or does it feel like more government, by the government, for the government lately? On November 8th we will decide.