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Common Threads

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HAY MAKER

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Common Threads
by
Terry A. Stevenson

Sometimes we have a much easier time understanding something when we can
make connections or associations with something else. Then when we have a
better understanding, we can be more effective in our efforts. Looking out
for our own self interests can dangerously lead us into a myopic
ineffectiveness. One of the best ways to broaden our understanding of the
problems we face is to look for the common threads that bind these things
together with the problems others face.

We have been focused for quite some time on issues that affect the
agricultural markets. And while don’t want to lose our focus, we need to see
the common threads with other issues. They may help us in our battle.

Efforts to get Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)implemented have been
frustrated repeatedly for quite some time. It is difficult to see the reason
so many oppose it because they don’t always tell what really is on their
mind. The first delay came about when opponents touted the USDA’s
implementation cost analysis and literally scared many into opposition. They
used other tactics as well. But none of these tactics clearly revealed what
the fight was all about.

It is very difficult to go into a store anywhere in America and find
something that does not have a Country of Origin label. That is, unless you
go into a grocery store. Do we Americans care less about the origin of what
we eat than what we wear? I don’t think so. So what’s behind this reluctance
to institute COOL?

When the CAFTA battle heated up, the misdirected debate hit new lows. Was
CAFTA all about sugar? Was it all about beef? Was this just a battle unto
itself or was there more to it than that?
Meanwhile another issue that has been barely on the fringes of agricultural
concern continues to boil – the issue of illegal immigration. We were told
as part of the argument in favor of NAFTA that it would help solve the
illegal immigration problem. Instead it got worse. Even before that was the
law that gave amnesty to those already here, and concurrently stiffened
penalties against those who hired undocumented workers. The law has only
been enforced sporadically, and the flood continues.

The sheer size of the House Immigration Reform Caucus shows the magnitude of
the problem. The Governor of California wants to take action against illegal
aliens to stem the continuing fiscal hemorrhage in his state. Other states
and localities are enacting or newly enforcing laws with the aim of
alleviating their burgeoning problems with illegal immigration.

The problem seems immense. But not too long ago a small group of volunteers
gathered along a hot spot on the border to nonviolently assist the Border
Patrol in doing their job of border enforcement. They called themselves the
“Minutemen.” Because of the success of their efforts they are planning
another endeavor of the same kind.


At first glance these issues seem to have little in common. But there is one
common thread that runs through them all. Each and every one of these issues
addresses a problem of the diminishing
of our national identity. Every patriotic American ought to clearly see the
importance of maintaining our national identity.

While thousands of undocumented foreign nationals have streamed into our
country and merged into our population untraceable and unidentifiable, the
same has been true of many foreign food
products – most notably beef. The impact differs, but the common thread is
the reduction of the significance of our borders to nothing more than a
dotted line on a map.

While we focus on the specific issues that are most important to us, we
should be aware of the bigger picture. Observing these common threads should
help us more effectively communicate with others and to convince them that
our issues have some fundamental similarity to theirs. TS
 

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