Minnesota Farmer

Holding my nose is not enough
September 22, 2016, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Politicians, Politics, Vote | Tags:

In all of my 63 years I do not remember a presidential election like this.  I have in the past held my nose and voted for the least objectionable candidate, but I cannot this year.

Our presidential elections have moved steadily to mud slinging and over the top statements.  I think we are at the point where you cannot trust either major political party.  Yes, there are good points to both candidates, and to both political parties, but I shudder to think of either in office.  Both presidential candidates were elected by majorities of their party, but neither party is our country.  In poll after poll neither party can claim a majority of voters supporting them, and this may be the year in which it will be hard to find a majority of either Democrats or Republicans who really want to see their own candidate in office.  Me, I’m voting none of the above.

Oh yes, I will vote in the presidential election this year, but I will not vote for either of the major parties.  There are many who claim I am wasting my vote, but that is a fallacy put forth by the major parties to contain potential third party ascendence.  With the  current party problems, it’s time we have some new leadership from someone other than the main line parties.  It’s happened before, why not again?

Neither of our current political parties can claim they were there at the founding of our country.  Thomas Jefferson in 1804 was a Democratic-Republican.  The Whig party that provided several early presidents is no longer in existence.  It wasn’t until 1829 that Andrew Jackson was elected as a Democrat and in 1860 that Lincoln was elected as a Republican that we developed our current two party system.  (The Republican party had not even existed until a few years before Lincoln’s election.)  Even then parties with names like “Know-Nothing” and “Bull Moose” continued to capture the countries imagination.  Have these two feuding parties been around too long?

Many other countries have working elections with multi-party slates.  Usually one or two will dominate, but as time goes on they can and do shift who is in power.  It is not any more or less messy than what we have today in the U.S.  It may just take a wholesale abandonment of the major parties to wake up our politicians.  It seems that most politicians are more out for their own advancement than to help out the country.

So, yes, this year I am voting for a “third’ party candidate, at least it is not someone I have to hold my nose to vote for.


The blame game
July 1, 2014, 8:00 am
Filed under: Politicians, Politics, Vote | Tags: , , , , , ,

Politicians are out to stay in office.  In order to do that they need to drum up some support.  Usually they do that not by bringing people together, but by singling out a few amongst us as the enemy.  Usually it is those who are not well understood.  Those different from the voting base they are talking to.

Today another effort to separate came across my email feed.  The message talked about the decline of the U.S. and how that as a democracy our days may be numbered.  No other democracy has lasted over 200 years, and they were predicting a bad end for our blessed country.  They tried to blame the end of our nation on the immigrants coming into our land of opportunity.  That is where they are wrong.

Currently many of those newest workers in the U.S. are coming into the heartland of our nation.  Did you know that one-third of all immigrants to the U.S. are moving north up the I-35 corridor today?  These are people looking for work, for opportunity.  They are not the shiftless, seekers after an easy dollar that many would have you believe.   Many of these people are well-educated.  27% of our doctors in the U.S. are foreign-born, 24% of our health care workers are foreign-born, 18% of our countries small businesses are owned by recent immigrants. These are not people who are a burden on our society, but drivers of our economy.

We look at these others and see people we do not understand.  We tend to forget that we too are of immigrant stock.  My own family is only here since the mid 1800’s.  We have only been here for half of this country’s history.  Our ancestors came here for work just as these newest workers do.

Many of the newest workers in our society are willing to take jobs that our own children do not want.  They process our meat and pick our fruit.  They clean our hotels and take care of our children and grandparents.  They do the dirty, hard jobs so we can live well without thinking about all of that yucky stuff like blood and shit.

It is not these newest ones who are bringing our country down, it is our own children, and yes, the government we voted for that allows us a life of ease.  Americans have voted for the easy life and that would be our demise if it were not for the infusion of new hard working residents in our midst, most of them here legally, but a few of them illegally.  They are here not to take from those already here, but to feed themselves and their families.  Some flee a much harder life of poverty and war, of gangs and bad government.  If we give them jobs, they will stay and thrive as our ancestors did.  If we shut them out, then we are indeed headed for the downfall of democracy.

And now the work begins
November 6, 2012, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Politicians, Politics, Vote | Tags: , , , ,

The election is over.  It doesn’t matter now if your candidate won or lost, what matters is what you do with your time until the next election.  Will you moan and whine because you did not get your way?  Or perhaps you are celebrating because your candidate won!  Your work is just beginning.

Our elected officials rarely hear from the general public.  They hear from lobbying groups all the time, and they do not want to believe what these groups tell them.  They want to hear from you.  Stay informed.  Write letters, send e-mails, make phone calls, tell your elected representatives what you believe.  Even if you did not vote for them, talk to them!  If enough people like you let them know what you want, they will listen.  If you do not stay in contact, you will get something you do not want.

The election is over, now the real work begins.

Take smaller bites
February 13, 2010, 10:28 am
Filed under: Politicians, Politics, time, Vote

I’ve watched politics and politicians almost all of my life.  In that time I’ve come to believe that politicians are basically gluttons.  They don’t know how to do anything small.

The recent health bill mess in D.C. is a case in point.  Instead of fixing a few small things that really need work, they tried to stuff the whole health care pie down our throats at once.  No wonder everyone rebelled.

Politicians seem to be addicted to the grand gesture.  Only a hail mary pass is good enough for them.  The folks in D.C. could learn something from football.  Yes, the big pass is dramatic, but football is a game of slugging it out in the trenches.  It takes a lot of little gains to win the game.  If they were content with a few 3 or 4 yard gains they could set things up for the big gain.  If they do not do the little things right they are going to continue to be 3 and out.


Lead with your pocket book

Agriculture is in a dilemma, do we continue as we have been or change for the consumer.  The demand of some consumers for niche products is hard for some farmers to handle.  After all we’ve gotten along just fine so far.

We on the farm like to think we do a bang up job.  We work hard to produce a product we think is great and are a little perplexed when the consumer says they want something different.  The problem for us comes when they want more for less.

Those who produce specialty products like organic milk, fruits, grains and veggies have to do quite a bit more work to produce their product and they need to get paid for that effort.  They are trading the ease of one or two trip weed control for eight or more trips across the field.  They must be better tuned to their animals so that they can catch disease problems sooner since organic remedies are slower to work.  They risk slower growth and  lost production for just a few dollars.  If the market cannot pay them enough they will have to fall back on cheaper methods.

That is where the consumer must lead.  If you truly want organic, or hormone free, or cage free you need to lead with your pocket book.  Legislation will not get the needed result.  It may get just the opposite.

In Denmark legislation was passed to outlaw the use of antibiotics in small doses to keep disease from happening in livestock.  Instead of reducing antibiotic use, it has increased it.  Now antibiotic doses must be elevated to treat the disease outbreak after it happens.  This has resulted in a large increase in antibiotic use.  Not the desired result.

Farmers are willing to produce antibiotic free livestock, but they take a greater risk.  They must be paid for that risk.  If you really think that is what you want, please pay for it.  The carrot is a much better way to get your hearts desire than the stick.


Political balance
January 20, 2010, 1:00 am
Filed under: Politicians, Politics, Vote

The election in Massachusetts confirms my belief in the independent voter.  For months now we have been hearing about how Massachusetts is a Democratic state.  Then what happens?  They fill the “Kennedy” seat with a Republican.  Interesting!  Why didn’t we see this coming?

We should have.  It’s a fact that every president loses seats from his party during his tenure, should Obama be any different.  Some presidents lose more seats and some lose less.  The American people like balance.  They believe in balance.  When ever one party gets too big for it’s britches the people pull the plug on them.  It’s just that the Democrats didn’t expect it to come this soon.

The Democrats have been behaving badly.  They have decided that the people have given them the right to do what ever they want.  I’m sure that they could write good and useful bills if they wanted to, but they have not.

Consider Obama Care.  It is a 3000+ page bill to give every American health care, unless you are from a favored Democratic district.  The Democrats could not even get their own people to go along with it unless they were bought off with favors.  To get the votes they needed they had to buy the votes of their own party by giving some states exemptions.  That tells you how good the bill is.

It happens all the time.  The American people do not trust the politicians that others send to D.C.  They like their own representatives.  But not the ones from other districts.  They seem to have good reason.

There have been very few “good” laws to come out of any government for a very long time.  The sausage making process that is modern politics is not pretty.  It involves favors and the trading of votes.  The process is at its worst when one party feels it has a mandate.

The problem is that modern politicians are too busy getting reelected to do the right thing.  They have to be able to tell their people that they voted their way.  The problem is that one persons yes is another persons no, and a third persons maybe.  One persons “special interest” is another persons “right” or “need.”

How do we solve it?  I don’t know.  Perhaps the best way is to keep politicians guessing.  A district that becomes too safe for one party will eventually shift around just to keep politicians on their toes.  The American people seem to be very good at that.

I’ve heard it said that government is the art of serving the people, and politics is the art of consolidating power.  The two come together, but not very often.  When the American people decide that their representative is too interested in consolidating power, they replace him.  It sure keeps politics interesting.