Missouri’s local primary elections are coming and–hey, wake up! WAKE UP! Bear with me a second, yeesh! And besides all the candidates I know nothing about, there are a few proposed amendments to the Missouri constitution. Most notable is Amendment 1.
You can read the whole verbage by clicking here, but the short version is that, if passed, A1 (abbreviation is cool) will make farming a legal right in Missouri that nobody can take away. After reading it, plus all those “Keep Missouri Farming” signs, I thought, “Well, that’s nice. Give Missourians the right to farm their land and protect them from… from, uh… you know, the people who… uh…
“Wait, why do we need this amendment again?”
Missouri’s proposed Amendment 1 is getting a lot of flak from people who think that it will protect large corporations that own farming, but not the little guy. Oh, and Huffington Post said something about puppy mills, but I felt like I came in halfway through that conversation. Anyway, those aren’t the reasons I’m voting NO on A1. I’m voting no because the amendment wouldn’t do jack squat.
Who’s trying to make farming illegal? Who honestly wakes up and thinks, “You know, Missouri would be a better place if it weren’t for all them farmers”? Nobody says that. They’re saying “foreigners.” Anybody with half a brain knows that farming equals food. Even the most pampered, TV-educated, tofu-brain out there knows that losing farming means losing food. Even those evil corporations know it! So why do we need an amendment to make it legal?
It’s not like A1 actually gives any protections. There’s no promised government support if the farm fails, no special provisions to certain types of farmers, no sanctions against evil corporations. It’s just… farming will always be legal. That’s it. But if farming is necessary for survival, it doesn’t need legal protection merely to exist. Why do we need to enact a law that will do nothing?
Some say it’s about making farming an inalienable right, like freedom of speech, guns, and religion. But people are actually contesting those things! There are those who want to silence the opposition, those who want guns to be made totally illegal, and those who want to destroy some or all religions. I can’t think of a single anti-farming group, can you?
Besides, even constitutional rights can be taken away. Let’s look at free speech. If you shout “FIRE!” in a crowded theater when there isn’t one, you can go to jail. Sending out a threat to the president via Facebook will get you kicked off Facebook. And if you tell me what happens in Batman Arkham Knight before I play it, I will punch you in the voice box. A right does not imply no-holds-bar freedom.
And finally, a right to farm won’t help you if the farm goes down. If years of drought ravage your crops, your constitutional right won’t feed your family. If sickness claims your cows, A1 won’t bring them back. And if your generations-old family farm begins to die, no one can stop Monsanto from offering you a buy-out.
Our government has a real problem with waste. Outdated policies, mindless regulations, and dumb laws that show a terrible lack of priorities. The government doesn’t need more words stretching out its waistline. If this amendment had a practical purpose, if the protections were actually needed, then I’d vote for it in a heartbeat. Sadly, it doesn’t, so what’s the point?
I’m very much for farming. I think farmers are some of the hardest and most admirable workers. I’m indebted to them for the food I eat and, before I moved, I was a frequent shopper at the Soulard Farmer’s Market because farm-fresh food is far better than the supermarket. And I agree that farmers have a lot of troubles and could probably use some help. But this isn’t an ethical question for me; it’s a logical one. Will Amendment 1 actually do farmers any good or help them in the long run? I think not. That’s why I’m voting no, because the government has enough artificial ingredients as it is.
QUESTION: Do you disagree? Do you think Amendment 1 would be helpful, harmful, or neutral to Missouri farmers?