November 25, 2022
I’ve always had an interest in politics. Even as a kid, I used to watch results from midterm or presidential elections on TV with lots of excitement. Let me tell you, the news channels do a good job of making things exciting.
But the past couple of election cycles have really turned me off. Maybe I’m getting old — I’m only 43, by the way — but I remember the days when people could sit down, talk about politics and not get into a shouting match with each other.
I remember my days covering politics on Maryland’s Eastern Shore when candidates from both sides would be more than willing to share their views with me, a young reporter. I felt a sense of duty asking a candidate for office, no matter if they were running for senator, governor or for the local school board, what their plans were for being elected and why a person should vote for them.
I never let my personal feelings affect my reporting. I was there to gather facts, get quotes and report what I found to the public. My job, at least at that time, felt important.
These days, it’s become cool for candidates to not even talk to reporters, or even answer questions that might challenge what they’re saying. And when they do talk to reporters, as in the case of one candidate who just lost the gubernatorial race in Pennsylvania, they’ll berate them and accuse them of being unfair, being a liar, or rooting for the other candidate. Sort of sounds like a guy who berated reporters in 2016 and 2020, calling them out for being “fake news” reporters, liars and other names.
Heck, candidates won’t even make the time to debate their opponent unless they decide what questions will be asked and what moderators will be used. It’s like they want to just speak into a tunnel and hear themselves the whole time and not be challenged. In a country that prides itself on being a free and open democracy, I don’t see anything free or open about this kind of behavior by our political candidates.
Thankfully, though, we all had our say. I don’t know what your impression of the midterms were, but my impression was clear: People have had enough.
We’ve had enough of the extremes in our politics, on both sides. We want our elected officials to present coherent and realistic ideas, and to speak to everyone they want to get votes from, not just their small base of supporters.
Most of all, we all want some sanity brought back into the process. Enough of the conspiracy theories, the lies, the name-calling and just plain meanness that has become acceptable in our politics, especially our national politics.
For agriculture, it’s all too important. We have a farm bill that needs to be negotiated and passed in Congress, bills dealing with livestock markets reform and dairy marketing, among others.
And the fact that immigration reform, which has been an ongoing issue for 20 years, has not been dealt with is a symptom of the bad politics that have hijacked our elections. Most farmers have said, loud and clear, that they need workers. They want elected leaders to compromise on this issue.
I’m not naïve to think that everything will “return to normal” after this election. But I’m hopeful that we’ve sent a clear message to our leaders: It’s time for sanity to return.
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