For those new to our little family here, I live in North Dakota. We have a legislative session every two years. Unfortunately, this is one of them.
The last few weeks has been extremely taxing. Laws that are extremely polarizing are being passed and our quiet little corner of paradise is getting more attention, and not for the right reasons.
Regardless of my opinion, there are a few lessons learned here that could greatly benefit other organizations, so let me give you a few of my take-away lessons:
To dismantle agriculture, simply plant ideas, rumors and falsehoods. All you need to do is plant the idea, you do not need to give any proof. Human nature will take over from there, and no one will be able to rise above it. Mud will be slung, the issue will be forgotten and compromise will become impossible.
To dismantle agriculture, simply pit one occupation against another. Farmers vs. ranchers, organic vs. conventional, no-till vs. full-tillage, cows vs. sheep, soybeans vs. corn. It doesn’t matter how you break it down, just make sure they feel it’s us vs. them. Competitive natures will take over from there, and no one will be able to rise above it. Personal attacks will ensue, the issue will be forgotten and compromise will become impossible.
To dismantle agriculture, simply make a few well-placed phone calls. Insinuate that leadership is sleeping with the enemy. Who is the enemy? Doesn’t matter, let them make up those decisions on their own. Vengeful natures will take over from there, and no one will be able to rise above it. Membership outcry will ensue, the issue will be forgotten and compromise will become impossible.
To dismantle agriculture, simply make the issue about the procedure, not the outcome. Focus on who will do what, not how it will affect the people or things its meant to protect. Make them so wrapped up on who’s right and who’s wrong, that no one even remembers what the original intent may have been. Self-righteous natures will take over from there, and no one will be able to rise above it. Verbal attacks will take place, the issue will be forgotten and compromise will become impossible.
To dismantle agriculture, simply make it personal. Forget the organization behind the name, call people out, pit friends against friends and neighbors against neighbors. Muddy the line of right and wrong, proper decorum and tact. Throw a few barbs in, just to stir things up. Unforgiving natures will take over from there, and no one will be able to rise above it. Anger and hurt feelings will continually surface, the issue will be forgotten and compromise will become impossible.
Well, that about wraps it up. But I’ll warn you, the above steps are EXTREMELY effective and should not be used lightly.
Pick one or two, maybe three. Start the ball rolling and watch the walls start to crumble.
Oh, and when in doubt, throw the phrase, “It’s just politics,” in the mix. Apparently that’s the miracle cure that excuses all previous behavior.
Disclaimer: The above work is a piece of fiction. It really wouldn’t be that easy, because agriculturalists are smarter than that. Any similarity to actual events is purely coincidental…and sad.
You’ve hit the nail on the head, Val. Sad, indeed.
I once had this problem with family members, until I began taking everybody to the carpet in the same room. None of them were happy about being exposed for their nasty agendas. I ended up becoming the ‘outsider’ with my very own crown, and a quiet phone. But life was much more sane, peaceful, smooth and productive! I can’t remember where I put that crown they tried giving me. But I do have something to show for my time. And trust me. It’s really not worth buying a ticket to watch the hamsters on the wheel over there, a few states away!
Never feel bad about exposing the liars. They hate when God uses you for a tool to square them up.
Thank you for reminding me of all of this! Hmmm…my thoughts and fingers typing being used as a tool for God? I can get used to that! 🙂
Well said, Val.
Unfortunately it’s happening in Oregon as well.
It hurts my heart to see people that I care for being so reckless with their words and actions. I thought that I was interested in politics…but perhaps I don’t have the demeanor for it. Or maybe it’s just plain meanness.
Val, you’ve touched on more than how to dismantle agriculture. Your plan applies to so many facets of our society that are taking heat right now.
You’re right, Aimee. It’s kind of ironic how it all falls into the same pitfalls. You would think once we saw the pattern developing, we could change gears and combat it? I guess sometimes I’m too idealistic.
I agree with Aimee. While ag is what inspired the post, and I have my own very clear examples of how it has taken its toll on me, I think that this is exactly what is leading to such a major divide in the US. I try to rise above it but realize the mud slinging still seems to hit me, I can usually resist the urge to sling it right back but wow that can be hard!
Val, this is fantastic. I totally agree with your sentiments, tho I still remain hopeful we can all move toward a state and nation that can engage in CIVIL DISCOURSE. I’m just fine if someone disagrees with my policy positions, but I expect us both to have the facts and then respectfully engage. I’m lobbying for ND Farmers Union this year, and I’ve learned from the most effective and ethical lobbyists that the code is 1) Stick to your organization’s policies 2) Don’t ditch your friends 3) If you have to ditch your friends, tell them to their face and come up with a plan together with how to break up. Sometimes it’s hard when I get fired up to refrain from spewing epithets, but I I try to remind myself to live as consistently as possible with this code.
Yes, Kristi, I completely agree. We can, and will, work through this and move forward. I just wish it could have been done without all the excess baggage that came with. The majority of damage that has been done has been done to ourselves…by ourselves. It’s crazy to me. I don’t have as much of a quick temper as I have quick fingers. Sometimes I type a little quickly, and wish I would have refrained…although this is not one of those times. Thank you for all that you do, no matter which side of the issue you are on. And thank you for standing up for agriculture. 🙂