A common source of water-cooler conversations is the federal government shutdown in early October and the overall ineffectiveness of our federal legislative and executive branches.
If we - the American People – operated our households and businesses like key politicians in Washington, D.C. operate the government, then many of us would be out of work, divorced, homeless, hungry, bankrupt, and emotionally defeated.
The lack of statesmanship by too many top elected ‘leaders’ (a term used very loosely) in Washington is a shame. Many politicians brandish a one-way-pointing finger at the opposing party for 100 percent of the turmoil. A look in the mirror would offer a partial realistic view.
(Read an article on political statesmanship  written by Farm Press’ Editorial Director Hembree Brandon)
Here are several related ways to help Congress’ right its off-course, overturned, and sinking ship. One idea – of all things – is to copy the concept of a popular television show to help bring political leaders back to reality.
In the TV series “Undercover Boss,” leaders of large companies leave their plush offices and fancy lifestyles to go undercover inside their own operations to learn in the trenches what is right and wrong with their companies.
One episode featured the CEO of Frontier Airlines who worked as an airplane baggage handler, flight attendant, and the ‘envious’ person who emptied airplane toilets at the airport between flights. The CEO took his grass-root experiences back to the company’s board of directors for discussion and to surface ideas to improve the airline.
Congress also needs to go ‘undercover’ to learn the real priorities and challenges facing Americans.
Another stop in the undercover experience could be U.S. farms and ranches. Producers could provide a wealth of hands-on experience on the business of agriculture; its challenges to feed the growing world population and the tireless work by the entire food chain to produce more with less.
On the farm front, political leaders could visit producers’ offices to sift through file cabinets of paperwork and regulations which government seems so quick to dole out. While regulations are needed in agriculture, too many regulations can push a business…out of business.
Another farm stop could be a vineyard, for example, at harvest time. This could show firsthand that 100 percent of the grapes on the vine are not always harvested due to the lack of available farm workers. This could stress the necessity for political action to provide the needed labor for businesses, including the food chain.
In reality, the answer to the political stalemate in Washington is solvable. Politicians need to get back to their roots, roll up the sleeves, and visit one-on-one with their constituents in the trenches.
Congress already has the power to make things happen. They need to stop the political grandstanding and work for – not against - their bosses…the American people.