Happy Inauguration Day!
Whether or not you were a fan of Donald Trump the candidate, today marks a special occasion in our country. Amid the speeches, parades, balls, and parties is something that most people completely forget about when admiring our system of government — the peaceful exchange of power. For over 200 years our country has been spectators to this transfer of executive power from one person to the next without bloodshed or taking up arms. It might seem like such a small thing, but without it a democracy or a republic would fail to exist.
Of course, at least, I’m assuming there will be a peaceful transition of power as the day goes on.
I hope it goes well and I hope the day is lovely for the new first family. I know there is still a lot of anger, divisiveness, and disbelief following the election. The issues and topics that divided us as a nation did not just go away once it was all over. Today across the country many will be tuned into the festivities and happy to welcome a new administration, but there will also be protests and demonstrations for the very same reason.
I get it. Donald Trump was not my first pick for president (or second … or third … or fourth). Now that he is the president, I want him to be successful and lead our country with good and sound policies. While many of the demonstrations and protests seem to be more for political partisanship, fundraising, and gamesmanship, I know that some people are simply skeptical of the incoming administration. That is totally fine. In fact, we should all be vigilant, watchful, and critical of all levels of the government.
There are a lot of issues that this next administration will deal with directly impacting agriculture. We need to pass a new Farm Bill. The future of the Waters of the United States rule hangs in the balance. The regulations for the Food Safety and Modernization Act are still uncertain. The new mandatory GMO labeling laws will go into effect. In addition, President Trump has made trade and immigration pillars of his campaign. These issues are incredibly important for agriculture. We need adequate and available legal labor. Foreign markets are important to selling our products and keeping our farms profitable.
Regardless of the administration in power, it is important that farmers stay engaged in government affairs. We need to hold our elected officials accountable. We need to follow what they are doing, both the laws and the regulations being passed. We should be engaged on both the federal, state, and local levels. We cannot sit on the sidelines while laws and regulations are passed, and then complain about them afterward.
While we have some very awesome national organizations that watch and track these issues for us, we need to use that as a starting point, not the end of our interest. Show up to meetings with legislators. Call their offices. Comment on proposed rules. Take time to attend the meetings with regulatory agencies. Join an agriculture organization that does this type of work. Be active — this is your industry that is being impacted.
Rural Americans turned up in droves to support the Trump/Pence ticket. Today is the day that those voters will see the value of their vote as the President-elect becomes the President. But we should continue the passion that sent us to the voting booth and use it to now to hold the new administration to a pro-agriculture position. Hopefully that will mean more praise than criticism, but we need to stay vigilant and not fall asleep.
So, enjoy Inauguration Day and the significance of such a day, then get ready to get back to work.
Amanda Zaluckyj blogs under the name The Farmer’s Daughter USA. Her goal is to promote farmers and tackle the misinformation swirling around the U.S. food industry. Amanda’s website can be found here, and she’s on Facebook, and Twitter.