Oct 1, 2019
National ag group CEO: ‘We deserve better’ from politicians

The following is the National Council of Agricultural Employers’ column featured in the October 2019 issue of Vegetable Growers News — Spudman’s sister publication — written by NCAE President & CEO Michael Marsh.

Michael Marsh, National Council of Agricultural Employers CEO

The racket reminded me of the cacophony we hear from politicians every time an election nears. It’s probably a good thing I’m an early riser because if I weren’t, I would have been upset that I’d been roused so suddenly from my slumber. As it was, it was 5:15 a.m. in the morning and the alarm was just about to go off. I didn’t really mind beating the clock but was curious as to what on earth was happening outside my window. I pulled back the curtain and peered out, but it was still too dark to make out what was going on.

The noise didn’t abate as I made my way into the kitchen to get my coffee started. So, before I got there, I had to peer outside.

I put on my glasses and opened the door and the noise was amazing! It seemed to kind of whoosh in through the door with the heavy, warm morning air laden with moisture. It was so loud, I wondered how the sound would register at some of those sports arenas where they measure the decibels of the crowd cheering on the home team.

There, in the trees, and swooping in and out of them, was the biggest murder (flock) of crows I am sure I have ever seen. It looked as if every branch held several of the birds, kind of jostling back and forth. It also seemed that they were trying to outdo one another with their crowing.

As I looked from tree to tree to tree, I could now see through the slight mist of daybreak there were literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the noisy critters cawing at one another. I don’t know if it was a breeding spectacle or what, but their chorus was anything but melodious. My coffee could wait.

I grabbed my cell phone to record it and just as I did, and almost as one, the sound grew more boisterous and the sky filled with the birds. They flew off like a dark cloud together, likely to interrupt someone else’s sleep, as I watched and wondered about what I had just witnessed.

Back to the coffee.

As it was brewing, I thought about the birds and all the noise they made. One trying to be louder than the next. Or the other trying to dominate and get to the highest branch, flapping their wings madly to assert themselves over the others in their party. And none of them really getting much done.

And that’s what made me liken the crows to politicians at election time. This time around, it’s started early. We hear them on the radio or on the TV trying to outdo one another. We see the politicians running hard to their corners, to the right and to the left, seeing if they can wedge between themselves. They always seem ready to swoop in on the weaker ones, knocking them off their perch.

They push at each other trying to dredge up old scandals and other fodder to salve someone’s passion. They poise, should someone slip up, to make as much hay as they can for themselves, seeming to ignore the fact that the hay in that field was already cut and long ago baled.

But they keep after it.

I guess they hope if they are the loudest, they might win. Or maybe, if they can be more outrageous or more obnoxious than their peers, they’ll get top billing on the evening news. Perhaps it proves the old saying that birds of a feather flock together. And none of them really getting much done.

So, as I poured my second cup and stirred in a little cream, I thought out loud to myself, “We deserve better.”

I’m sure you think we do too.

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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