As I’ve made perfectly clear in the past, I am in favor of Measure 3, the North Dakota Constitutional amendment that would protect farming and ranching and modern practices employed by farmers and ranchers.
I want to address one of the concerns that is being brought up by the only vocal agricultural group in opposition to this measure…the North Dakota Farmer’s Union.
First of all, as a member of Farmer’s Union (I’m a member of Farm Bureau as well), let me tell you that I’m extremely disappointed and concerned regarding the stance they have on this measure. It’s becoming more of a school-ground bullying match than fact-sharing, and it’s not what being in agriculture is all about.
Enough about that, let’s get to the issue. Opponents of the measure keep declaring that the constitutional amendment is too vague. Practices aren’t specified and there are no restrictions for negligence.
Why did I highlight constitutional amendment? Because that’s what this is…a change to our state constitution, that would protect the heritage that makes North Dakota the great state that it is, that provides food, fiber and fuel for the world.
The amendment needs to be broad enough to stand the test of time, allowing society to advance and our state constitution to stay current, even when we can’t imagine what the next century may bring.
Let’s take a look at another constitutional amendment:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Wait a minute…how could that amendment have been passed? It doesn’t state that you can’t use weapons negligently. It doesn’t state that you are limited to muskets and cannons only. So, surely, it must have been voted down and didn’t stand the test of time, right?
How about another one:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Geez, that one didn’t pass either, did it? I mean, it doesn’t specifically state that I can’t call someone a few choice words in a newspaper ad that runs across the country. Oh, wait…but I can’t, can I? Not without the other person having legal recourse.
No, constitutional amendments are NOT about specifying exactly what it is you can or cannot do, it’s about upholding the wishes of the people of the state, for generations to come. It allows flexibility for growth and changes that are made by society, yet it protects the basic rights that we should be entitled to…and that includes our agricultural heritage.
With these rights come expectations, regulations and limitations, it does not, nor will it ever, trample on the rights and freedoms of others. It allows for the legal protection of our way of life and direction for those that are making the laws that will govern our future societies.
Please, do not tell me that Measure 3 is too vague in its wording, and needs to have specifics put in place.
Although, all I can do is ask, because there’s already an amendment that allows you that right.