By John Moore, President, Kern County Farm Bureau
This author had a difficult time deciding between writing about current events effecting the federal government or writing about agricultural issues in this month’s President’s Message. The Valley Ag Voice ft. the Kern County Farm Bureau is an agricultural specific publication and writing about federal political disasters outside of ag would be an act of self-indulgence. That being said, please allow for a bit of self-indulgence. As political power shifts in the U.S. government, the plurality of American people must recognize that the most important facet of workable government is an orderly, consistent institutional framework. Otherwise, fellow countrymen should prepare to suffer immeasurably because of the self-aggrandizing nature of individuals within government and the totalitarian compulsions of socially driven technology companies. As long as the institution is operating on a moral and just basis, its strength far outweighs the political impulses of individual actors and/or their empowered parties.
The occurrences in Washington D.C. are hard to ignore. The racially charged riots over the summer and attacks the American Democratic at our nation’s capitol on January 6th are both morally reprehensible. The right to gather and peacefully protest is just that, a right. Alternatively, political violence is wrong and needs to be called out on both sides; consistency is vital and to pretend that the violent demonstrations over the summer of 2020 to the winter of 2021 are random outbreaks is a farce. Tensions have been coming to a boil over many years. Voices who have not been heard are lashing out. Distrust in our institutions is as high as it has been since the 60s. Some of the nation’s political leaders have taken the easy route by simply exacerbating tensions for political gain, which is obstructive and intellectually dishonest. This goes for both sides. Nevertheless, hypocrisy channeled through a left leaning media and politicians needed to be called out. But the disrespectful nature in which our political leaders lash at one another has clearly spread to the populace. In the history of human events political conflict is nothing new but is difficult to digest such blatant manipulation when it happens before one’s very eyes and in the greatest nation in world. Additionally, the onslaught of de-platforming by tech company bros is in not only concerning to free speech advocates but will do nothing more than embroil frustrated citizens further. It’s time to stop the trolling and begin the collaborating. The strong assumption is that a large margin of the American people feels this way, and the hope is that leaders within government and technology begin acting like responsible adults.
This disrespectful nature of argumentation paired with an inability to recognize opponents as even mildly benevolent forces directly relates to many of the conflicts seen in the agricultural industry over the past few years. The debate on the floor of the assembly during AB 1066 is the pinnacle of disrespectful politics and if one is able to research a recording, it’s worth a view. The antithetical nature of past relationships between leaders representing the disadvantaged communities, environmental justice, resource management and agricultural industries needs to end. As stated in previous articles, the basis of strong relationships is trust. The agricultural industry is ready to perform, and the industry should anticipate respect when it gives respect. Repairing a level of trust will not happen overnight nor will it be easy. Tim Quinn’s favorite line is “War is Easy, Collaboration is Hell.” Obviously, this has nothing to do with actual military conflict, but the essence of the quote is true. And just because one seeks to build upon relationships does not mean that one is kowtowing to unrealistic or damaging demands. Rather, being firm, respectful, and brutally honest with one’s perspective is necessary and should be expected in any civil society.
As the nation and ag industry navigate through a tense era in U.S. history, the most someone can do is concentrate on day-to-day manageable successes and continue to build for a better future for the next generation. This little advocacy group will be here to help members meet that success. As distracting as the news can be the lives and responsibility of all people is in their own hands. And who better to control one’s destiny than oneself?