For some reason people think I'm supposed to know something about the farm bill. If you've kept up with the news lately, you know the new farm bill was defeated in the House and this is creating angst all over the agricultural sector.
"Are you for it or against it?" is the question, and it's supposed to be black and white, cut and dried, good or bad. And I'm supposed to have the knowledge and wisdom to tell people what to do.
In one day, I received information from Judith McGeary, legislative watchdog for the Weston A. Price Foundation telling me to hold my nose and be in favor of it. Within minutes, I had information from Cornucopia telling me under no circumstances should I be in favor of it. I respect and appreciate deeply both of these outfits, and yet within minutes their reach-outs were diametrically opposed.
Stephen Covey wrote a classic book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the principles is to stay within your sphere of influence. Each of us has things we can control, things we can influence, and things beyond our control. The more time we spend investing time and energy in things beyond our control, the smaller our sphere of influence. The more time we spend on things within our control, the larger our sphere of influence.
Many people assume I'm extremely politically active because I have fairly strong opinions about things. Actually, I'm not politically active at all. I remember well when Barak Obama was elected president; my liberal foodie friends thought everything would change. It didn't. He named the Monsanto chief of genetically modified organisms to be the new food safety chief and signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law which quickly put lots of local food businesses out of business. It was the same old same old. Why? Because 10 miles of USDA offices did not change.
Few things disinterest me as much as the farm bill. Nothing changes. And even when they pass things environmentalists want, it doesn't accomplish much that's actually meaningful, and actually keeps innovation from occurring. Not enough time to go into that right now; just realize that by the time the bureaucracy gets done with even sincere legislation, it's a hodge podge of assininity (I know that's not a word, but it sure sounds cool).
At the risk of being labeled a non-caring idiot, I just can't get worked up about the farm bill. It doesn't make any difference. It changed wording from subsidies to crop insurance. Big woop. It's the same thing, just different wording. The farm bill really doesn't matter. I've tried to testify on it for 20 years but nobody will have me. The closest I ever came was the socialist Senator Paul Wellstone from Minnesota, but he flaked out too. They don't want to hear what I have to say--it's too radical (or reasonable).
So I just keep inspiring farmers, encouraging consumers to vote with their food dollar, milling lumber, moving cows, and gathering eggs. That's what I can control, and so far, it's given me a decent sphere of influence. That's enough. If all of us would do that, the farm bill players could go play their game but it wouldn't make any difference. We wouldn't buy their factory animals, their GMO grain, or their chemicalized food. They would find themselves irrelevant, and we the citizens would have done it without passing a single law; just by investing in what is right.
How did you dis-empower the dark side this week?