In one week, Americans will vote in the U.S. Presidential election, and this may arguably be the most important vote of our nation’s history.
We aren’t simply voting for Biden or Trump.
We are choosing between very two different ideologies, political agendas and the foundation for which America will stand on as we move forward into 2021 and beyond. The implications of this election will last generations, and some might argue, depending on the outcome, the America we know and love may be lost forever.
Now I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, nor am I making any assumptions that every BEEF reader sees this election the same way as I do. This post isn’t intended to make an official endorsement, nor do I seek to sway you to change your vote to align with my own.
In today’s cancel culture, someone in my inner circle often reminds me that I am one single blog post away from being “canceled” as irrelevant. And perhaps this blog post will be the trigger that gets me canceled. However, I’m willing to the roll the dice and take my chances because this important.
When we look at cancel culture, we see a greater weight placed on words we use in society. After all, words have meaning, but the goal post of what is deemed acceptable to say or not to say is constantly changing. As a blogger, I’m very aware of the risk of voicing my opinion four days each week, and yet, if voices are silenced and only one side of a three-sided coin is being considered, we no longer have a healthy dialogue. Without a variety of opinions to consider, our society simply has a chorus that sings the same tune.
So at the risk of being canceled, with just seven days from a critical election, I would be remiss not to urge you to really study these two candidates’ platforms and determine which administration would best protect the interests of all Americans.
While there are many issues we could zero in on in this election, allow me to address just one. It’s one that impacts all of us, no matter our race, creed, color, economic status or political affiliation.
It’s national security, and it starts with one simple thing — FOOD.
One of the primary ways we can protect the freedoms and liberties of all citizens in this country is through national security. Protecting U.S. citizens from violence, tyranny, destruction and invasion starts with the very foundation of our survival — the fruitfulness of American agriculture.
In short, we must be able to eat to survive.
Now you may scoff and think, but Amanda, we live in the land where food is plentiful and it’s cheap. But let me ask you as a consumer — did you like seeing meat and toilet paper shortages earlier this year? How did it feel to wonder if the stores would have what you need or if you would have to go without? What if that issue became ongoing and long-term? How would Americans react?
As producers, we have experienced burdensome regulations, overreaching government restrictions and political agendas that seek to undercut, undermine and derail the American food producer. We have also seen the benefits of these regulations being cut and rolled back.
Sure, one party may be promising to prop up certain industries, but instead of payouts and incentives, wouldn’t it be more exciting and fulfilling to have the government get out of our way and allow the free market enterprise and hard-working entrepreneurs find success without interference?
Infer what you like about these statements. I can handle the heat and the criticism. I simply ask that you think critically about how we can protect our national security, our food security and our sovereignty as a country and as free citizens.
If I haven’t lost you yet, let me urge you to do one more critical thing before you head to the voting polls on Nov. 3.
This year has slowed us down in a lot of ways. And despite the many cancelations of our social events, farmers and ranchers continue to social distance like we always have, working the land, tending to our livestock while trying to keep a pulse of the policies that will dictate how we are able to operate in the future.
On Nov. 3, I will be voting for individuals on every level — local, state and national — who will protect my freedom to farm, my freedom to own land, my freedom to raise livestock and my freedom to have sovereignty over my own body, which includes making health and dietary decisions that are best for me, and not mandated by a politician in Washington, D.C.
I also believe now is a great time to audit the memberships we carry and the involvement in various organizations that seek to represent us. That includes churches, community clubs and even agricultural commodity groups. How have they operated during this pandemic? What shortcomings have been revealed and laid bare this year?
Perhaps you have been a loyal member of XYZ for 30+ years. Are you continually asking these groups to earn your membership dollars? Do you know how these groups have shifted over time and who their allegiances are currently with? Are these groups working for you in name only while collaborating with those who seek to end agriculture or control it from the outside?
At the beginning of my career, I made the conscious decision to not belong to any membership organization within the agricultural industry. I wanted to be able to evaluate each one individually, without bias. With this vantage point, I have been able to study the initiatives and priorities of all groups and organizations, and frankly, I can find flaws with every single one. No group is perfect, but we must seek to hold these groups accountable and continually improve as we move forward in this industry.
As we vote for the America we want to see stand true in the years to come, let’s also “vote” with our membership dollars on what type of American agriculture we want to see moving forward, as well.
Call up your leadership in your chosen organization and ask some very pointed questions to determine if they truly represent you and your best interests. After your call, you might be relieved to know these folks are on the same page as you, or you might be shocked to realize their priorities have shifted over time in a direction you don’t want to see agriculture go.
What I’m saying is simple. Give these groups a fitness test and see if they pass your evaluation. If not, consider getting more active within the organization to influence change or move independently in a different direction that best benefits your ranch, the American beef producer and the overall future of animal agriculture.
Lest I get too verbose, let me end on this note. After your audit of the candidates on the ballot and after your audit of the groups and organizations you are a part of, remember this — you and your strong voice are what’s needed to make positive changes in this country and in this agricultural industry.
We cannot solely rely on external parties to do the talking and the fighting for us.
If we are to protect our freedoms to farm, our freedoms to own land, our freedoms to raise livestock and our freedoms to keep meat, dairy and eggs on the dinner table, then our voices must not be muzzled in this fight.
Stand courageously in your convictions and get in the arena to fight for what is right. Every single voice is needed and welcome at the table.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.