Recently, I had the great joy of coming upon a group of wonderful ladies at my house that had gotten together to host a wedding shower for a niece of mine. They had answered a set of questions and were offering advice to the bride-to-be. Nearly all the ladies agreed that for a happy marriage the bride should never go to bed angry. When I was posed with what makes a happy marriage, I offered up a different thought, never go to bed angry is an unattainable ideal that will only lead to disappointment. I believe that a good debate, even a fight is OK. It is when you no longer care to get angry and stop being engaged that the cracks start to show. A fight in a marriage as long as it is respectful and out of love means that each partner is committed to the betterment of the other.
What does this have to do with politics and elections?
As we are clearly seeing there is a lot of negative discourse across the country. There is a lot of angst among many as the November elections approach. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Board of Directors has not endorsed a presidential candidate, yet I get emails asking why WFBF members have been hosting and attending Trump campaign events. The reason is quite simple – it is because the campaign reached out and asked for our participation. Farm Bureau is a bipartisan organization and we would make the same effort to assist the Biden campaign or any other elected official that reaches out.
I want to highlight that these farm visits and events are valuable because campaign officials are asking us to engage in conversations about how farmers and the agriculture industry are being impacted by various factors and what future needs are to address today’s challenges. This goes to show the value the administration places on farmers, rural residents and Farm Bureau members.
Additionally, I was brought to tears as I proudly listened to WFBF member Cris Peterson, a dairy farmer, speak at the virtual Republican National Convention. She had an opportunity to reach beyond the traditional agriculture audience to speak directly to elected officials and others who have probably never stepped foot on a farm. She talked with great pride about dairy farming, her family and their heritage. Farmers’ voices need to be heard at all levels and this was an important platform.
At the time of publication, I am not aware of the Biden campaign reaching out to WFBF to request a farm tour or farmer representatives at an event. We would welcome the opportunity to have the same meaningful dialog and we would be proud of it.
Let’s be honest, at this point you may very well be feeling frustrated as we discuss politics. I have tried to walk a fine line of staying bipartisan yet being open and honest about the experiences WFBF members are having. The same can be said within marriage. I can’t say that my wonderful wife Noel and I don’t disagree sometimes and she isn’t always impressed by the thoughts I share.
I can’t say that as Farm Bureau members we never disagree during policy debates, and I certainly can’t say that I’ve never gone to bed angry because of that. What I can promise you is that just like in a marriage, we may disagree on political candidates or organizational policy but we all have a common goal of standing up for farmers and doing what is best for agriculture.
Regardless of your political views, please get out and vote on Nov. 3. This is a right that many have fought for and we must not take this opportunity for granted.
Joe Bragger serves as the WFBF President and is a dairy farmer from Independence. The Bragger family was selected as the 2010 Wisconsin Leopold award recipient.
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