It is incredibly easy to be overwhelmed by the political news of the day, and the thoughts tend to be followed by yearning for bipartisanship. Outside of a doing a full analysis of the definition, a well-known display of bipartisanship will show the process of colliding ideas and reconciliation for a path forward.
The Great Compromise of 1787 might be the most recognizable display of bipartisanship. Our young nation had gained independence and made its first attempt at a governance system with The Articles of Confederation, but it was viewed as unsatisfactory. As a result, the Constitutional Convention of 1787 convened to debate a new model of government. At the center of the debate was congressional representation. Under the Articles of Confederation there was equal representation and the small states were not willing to concede to some states’ desire for proportional representation.
The debate was as hot as the summer that year, but in the midst of it, Roger Sherman proposed a proportional House of Representatives and equal representation Senate. This proposal harnessed the ideas from both sides of the issue and was still met with opposition because it was a compromise. Ultimately the question was called and by a margin of one vote the Sherman’s proposal was adopted, and the United States was ushered into the next generation of the government.
This illustrates the delicate process of democracy. Often the bipartisanship solution seems outrageous and is initially dismissed because it upsets all of the major parties. Then, as the idea gets debated, compromise leads the way as the political parties prioritize making the best decision possible, and sometimes years later the final decision is accepted as being undisputable.
Today, this scene plays out every five years with the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and many times in between with stand-alone bills. Limited public resources and differing theories fuel debate and unsettle our rural communities and agriculture. This governance process through our elected leaders impacts decisions in our homes and businesses, and is reflected in the Farm Credit System and GreenStone approach to legislative engagement. It is recognized that change does not belong to any one party and instead bipartisan involvement is the key.
As a result, the Farm Credit PAC, MI GreenStone PAC, and WI Farm Credit PAC provide financial support to legislators regardless of political affiliation. Focus is placed on providing direct financial support to elected officials that have demonstrated support for rural communities, agriculture, and Farm Credit. The dollar amounts contributed reflect the positions of elected officials and their influence.
Our rural communities and agriculture have much to share with our nation and world, but public policy impacts that ability. The United States has a long history of bipartisanship and today it is no different. Bipartisanship is essential to engagement and education prior to, and during, policy development. Continue to expect dynamic bipartisanship, and be involved in educating those that are determining the priorities for rural communities, agriculture, and Farm Credit.
To view the article in the online 2021 Winter Partners Magazine, click here.