This year has started out like last year ended. Political parties seem more interested in political victories than in seeking solutions for our nation. The economy remains stagnate, especially in rural America, the county’s debt appears to be growing uncontrollably, there seems to be almost no backbone among our elected officials to deal with our deficit, the Second Amendment remains under attack in the name of safety, and dealing with immigration is more about potential votes than the actual problem. While there are dedicated public servants putting forth some interesting solutions, they are routinely demonized by their opponents.
We are also seeing dangerous traits in the America public: intolerance toward those who disagree by refusing to discuss the issue; smearing the name and reputation of those who oppose your ideas, beliefs, or actions; and a disregard for the rule of law.
These traits are also being seen throughout America, in our churches, our civic organizations, and even in our Grange. It isn’t vested in our politicians; it’s due to the American people neglecting to follow the principles and values of our nation.
It is an American and Grange principle that we discuss the issues of the day and not take offense when others disagree with our own views. In the Grange, we debate and argue the issues before us and then take a vote. Afterward, we sit down together, laugh, share a meal, and remember that friendship isn’t about marching in lockstep. Grange ritual teaches and reminds us that we must always keep an open mind and be willing to debate and discuss in order to learn and grow.
It may be a normal human reaction to attack someone personally when they disagree with you, but in the Grange and America, we believe in a higher power that teaches us to become better people and to rise above basic instinct. It seems normal in American politics to attempt to destroy the character of your opponent, but it isn’t right. In our country, everyone is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence. Our Grange teachings and symbolism repeat the lesson that we should treat all with respect, especially within our Order. We are charged with protecting the rights of all members and ensure that due process is given to every member.
A disregard of some or particular laws governing our country has always led to an attitude that only the laws we like deserve to be obeyed. Our nation does have a problem with writing law after law, regulation after regulation, until there are so many layers of laws that everyone is, in some way, a lawbreaker. America should take a lesson from the Grange and try to keep regulations simple and strait forward. Grange members and officers are repeatedly promising to follow the rules of the Grange and the laws of our nation. Maybe such a refreshing action is needed by many of our fellow citizens.
It is time that Americans come together to start solving the challenges facing our nation. It must begin at the community level as when we unite there, our elected officials at the state and national levels will listen. Join your local Grange, another civic organization, a church, a recreational organization and more. Share the values of America and the Grange and cross-pollinate these core principles and values throughout your local community. Let’s listen to each other, treat all with respect and dignity, and follow the rules until we can change those rules through the appropriate processes.