Categorized | Faith, Leadership, Life, Politics

Like Agriculture Fields Require Rest – So Do Our Leaders in Washington

Posted on 31 December 2014 by Scott Cooper

This morning I did my exercises walking the perimeter of a field we hope to incorporate into our Grass Fed Beef operation, Lord willing, around 2020.  Several things transpired during my brisk walk.

First, I looked onto a portion of a field that we have basically allowed to be dormant for close to two years.  Even though it is in a prominent, highly visible location, we intentionally have done virtually nothing to it, except allow the cows to graze it 4 times this year and hand pull some of the undesired plant life that naturally came back into the field when fertilizer and pesticides weren’t added.  We also cut it for hay twice during the first year.  It has been fascinating to watch what happens naturally, when nature’s system is left alone.  I am a novice at agriculture, but the more I study, the more I become convinced that all of God’s creation needs rest and healing – not just our bodies!

During my brisk walk, I also called my oldest son, who lives in another state. With the exception of discussions and a couple of weeks work at the very beginning, he has had very little involvement in our farm operation.  We spoke about the farm, some of the plans over the next several years.  Then we spoke about real estate – his passion – and some of the goals and projects he is focused on.  Then we spoke about other business opportunities, concluding by speaking about one specific entrepreneur who has used what God had blessed him with to bless countless other organizations, all of which have done great work in the civic arena.  This particular entrepreneur passed away in 2014 – and we briefly discussed how the philanthropic work this man has done over the last several decades will likely change as his foundations are passing to the next generation.

After hanging up with my son, I was at a different vantage point, looking back at the field that is coming out of two years of rest, yet still walking in the field that we hope to incorporate in 2020 – likely to place in its own 2 years of rest, which it will come out of in 2022, Lord willing!

For some reason, my mind went to Congress – and I thought – what if Congress and Washington simply took a rest – and did nothing for two years?  What would our world look like, after watching the effects of what they have done already – without doing anything new – no new additives, no tweaking – just a rest to observe the nature of what those who have been in Washington the last 2 – 4 decades have created?

Then I wondered, when they (those in Washington) look at and vote on their 2,000 page bills – do they contemplate what stages their “comprehensive” reforms will be in 5 years out from passage?  Do they contemplate the effects and the unintended consequences of their “comprehensive” reforms which often include hundreds of changes for things that have nothing to do with what the title the legislation indicates?  Then I wondered, are they building relationships with those who they hope will come behind them to manage the work they are so passionate about?  Do they listen to their viewpoints – as different generations do see things differently?

Yes – those are rhetorical questions – and if you got this far in my writing – you likely have the same conclusion I do.

Congress

In December of 2009, five years ago, I had the privilege of sitting at a large Conference Table in the U.S. Senate Russell Office building, which is where Virginia U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s office is, to discuss The Affordable Care Act Legislation.  That day we started in a Small Conference room – but because the number of people that ended up showing up at what we thought would be a small meeting was exponentially larger – we had to move to a room that would accommodate 150 or so people.

That was an infuriating meeting, because while Senator Warner’s Chief of Staff and a Legislative Aide did provide the public service their constituents are entitled to, and met with us – it was clear they were not open to any of the comments that came from their constituents – which included one passionate couple who had escaped the tyranny of Eastern Europe and an individual who had escaped Cuba.  One individual who had previously experienced socialized medicine, through her tears began to pound on the table out of anger and frustration – and others began to do the same.  I was angry that day as well – but I was also fearful for my country – because while there might be such a thing as righteous anger – what was being displayed would accomplish nothing, except end the discussion, which it did.

Well – we now know that The American Public was lied to in order to pass that “comprehensive” reform.  We know the answers to the rhetorical questions I asked above – because we are living through them – and it is painful.  And the pain is likely going to become more and more intense before it gets better.

The reason I share my experience in December 2009 in that Conference Room on Capitol Hill in conjunction with my walk this morning, five years later, is because I am convinced that just like our Bermuda grass fields, which have experienced a mono-culture for decades, require a rest – I believe the leadership in Washington requires a rest as well.  While I believe many of those in Washington were well intentioned when they arrived in DC, it is clear they have lived in the mono-culture of the beltway for far too long – and it is time for them to return home, take a rest and manage their own fields.

In my idealism, I would love to see a groundswell of patriotic action by those who have served us in Washington in elected office for the last 2 – 4 decades, and see them to return into an industry they have spent their lives legislating and regulating.  I would love to see them become entrepreneurs in the economy they have created vs. spending their final days on K Street.  That would be patriotism, in my humble opinion.  And if they achieve success in business, they would have opportunity to be benevolent with the wealth they create.  That is an American value.

In conclusion, before I began my walk this morning I read two articles about John McCain working to purge conservatives from the Arizona GOP.  This causes me to grieve.  Senator McCain has served his country nobly in war, as a prisoner of war and in public office – serving in Congress since 1983.  Even though there are policies I disagree with Senator McCain on, I believe that at 78, he has such an opportunity to leave Washington as a Statesman.  However rather than investing his energy encouraging conservatives and mentoring a replacement, my prediction is he continues to stiffen against the current trends within his party, will leave Washington like Eric Cantor – and the Arizona GOP will experience continued renewal much like RPV did this year.

Something happens inside the beltway to the vast majority of those who go there to serve.  Let us pray that the Dave Brat’s of this generation, and I predict many, many more in 2016 and 2018 – will learn from this time period – stay grounded – and remember that after a season or two – everything needs a rest.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. laura sterling Says:

    A man can dream and one day the dream can become real.

  2. Reese Boyd Says:

    Sometimes we’ve all heard people complain about a “do-noting” Congress. I would pay good money for a really “do-nothing” Congress!

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