American politics, farming, charming visuals, and becoming recentered…
I think that one of my greatest frustrations with how the U.S. government works is that really awful riders can be attached to otherwise apparently-necessary bills, acts, laws, etc. Earlier this week, when many folks were consumed (pro or con) by the conversation surrounding same-sex marriage being debated in the Supreme Court, the Agricultural Appropriations Bill was signed into law by President Obama. In it was a rider that has been called “the Monsanto Protection Act” because it specifically protects that one giant chemical company — nearly single-handedly responsible for the chemicalization of American farming, and its resulting current and future destruction of environment and personal health — from litigation. It passed the Senate and the House with many legislators not even knowing such a rider was included. The way these giant bills frequently slip through the cracks is that a Senator might say, “Well, I agree with 80% of what is in this bill, so I will vote for it.” Or, a Representative might have his or her own “attachment” that they’ve managed to slip into a detailed, hundreds-of-pages bill, and that one attachment is specifically important to the rep’s corner of their own state. So, they say, “I can’t tell my people that I voted against this measure which is so vital to our state’s interests.” So, even if they disagree with 98% of the bill, if there is a tiny corner of that bill which is of specific significance to that Representative, they may vote to pass it.
And, so the Agricultural Appropriations Bill with its enclosed “Monsanto Protection Act” passed this week.
Here’s where my thoughts have been going:
In a way — a small way — I’m kind of pleased.
Not about the “Monsanto Act” in particular, which I find horrid, gut-wrenching, and worrisome, but because my Facebook feed has been abuzz with, “HOW COULD OBAMA DO THIS???”
I’ll admit: I’m a Republican. However, since issues of the environment, food production, health, and farming are near and dear to my heart, there are a number of political websites I frequent which are, shall we say, not friendly to the general Republican cause. I’m OK with that. I don’t need to identify with the entire Republican platform.
Actually, I’ve felt for quite a while that there is no political “slot” into which I neatly fit. Not the Republican Party, not the Democratic. Not Libertarian. Not Green. Not the Tea Party. No where, really, that I’ve been able to find. I’m too liberal for the Republicans. Too conservative for the Democrats. Too convinced by the general goodness of the rule of law for the Libertarians. I’m not angry enough — or Socialistic enough — for the Green Party. Not fearful enough for the Tea Party.*
And, to an extent, I’m pragmatic like the Legislators I vilified above: If I agree with, say, 60% of what the Republican Party generally stands for, I’ll often vote along with them… I do see the irony.
Anyhow, in the more liberal edges of politics, to which I pay at least some attention, the consensus seems to be general, heart-broken disappointment with our President.
And, I’m OK with that.
From the very, very beginning of his campaign, back in 2008, the thing that bothered me most — more than any political stance, more than any stated goal, more than his “Democrat-ness” — is that he set himself on a pedestal as the HOPE for our nation. It was his campaign slogan, for crying out loud!
Obama is not the hope of our nation.
Hope in a person routinely leads to disillusionment.
I’m OK with folks becoming disillusioned to the Obama administration.
I saw this, this morning in my Facebook feed:
Now, I’ll admit: If you put a grassy field, a blue sky, and some freshly shorn sheep on a picture, I’ll probably like it, no matter what the words attached may be.
But the verse — John 10:11 — brought me back to the main and plain, the core of my existence: My hope is in the Good Shepherd. And He’s a good leader who does not disappoint. He doesn’t do stuff that is 40% awful and heartbreaking and 60% good. HE IS GOODNESS ITSELF. And what’s more: He’s a peaceful, but powerful and sacrificial leader.
He’s the one whom I follow.
There are some practicalities with being involved in the political system; I’m not saying that I’m going to stick my head in the sand and never call my state Senator, never sign another petition (I favor real-life petitions, by the way), and quit voting. I’m not even going to stop speaking out about issues that are important to me.
But, since a bit of doom and gloom and fear for the future of my country has weaseled its way into my mind and heart this week, I did need the reminder this morning of my Good Shepherd. My GOOD Shepherd.
And may His peace, His goodness, His faithfulness, His wisdom be a comfort to you as well, my friends, as you contemplate your own future, and that of your own country.
*I’m sorry if this offends; it’s my opinion and perspective of each party as it relates to my own beliefs and convictions.