Sunday, September 30, 2007

What to do?

I am in an organization that sometimes has different official views than I do. I can accept these differing view points, as long as I get a chance to express mine in hopes of persuading the group toward my beliefs. Of course, this can cause some tensions, but I try to keep it above water and not let things get personal.

However, a recent online discussion among some members and myself has led me to believe that the leadership of this organization does not really care about free discussion, but rather personal attacks and partisan allegiance.

I was recently told by a fellow board member that I was greedy for wanting to see some CRP land released to crop/pasture/hay production, that I wanted to rape the environment, and that I was a Republican asshole. I replied that I didn't see how this helped the discussion and asked for an apology. He insisted I apologize for him, and later, told me to "go to hell".

If an organization has a person on the board that cannot control his anger and lacks the ability to debate the merits of a topic, then what good is that organization if that person stays on the board? It tells me that the organization is not looking for the best possible answer but rather wants to lie in bed with one political organization at all costs. It tells me that dissent, the very reason our country was created, cannot be allowed in the organization.

So, should I keep putting up with this BS? If my views are not respected in the organization, why should I spend time and money going to board meetings in Ames and get slammed by others? I thought our goals were the same; to help the family farm. But apparently, one board member, and possibly the rest, think that my views and beliefs are dirt and shouldn't be paid attention to.

I joined this organization because my wife worked there, and I had similar beliefs in it at the time. I became a board member because I thought it would give me a chance to develop leadership skills. But, if I'm going to be told that I'm an asshole for holding the beliefs I do and that I should go to hell, then what benefit am I getting?

What do you think?


Blogger Tamara said...

People are jerks and often times have their own agendas. If you quit, he wins! Is that what you want?

11:53 AM, October 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said you feel like your views are not respected. I have come to find that there are two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Ask yourself this, and please try to answer it honestly. Do you feel you have respected the other board members' opinions?

5:10 PM, October 01, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Anonymous 5:10: Good question. I have thought about this as well. I know there were times when I didn't fully understand why a person took a certain stand, and I asked them further about it to understand. This questioning may have been perceived as attacking their position; why question something if it is perfectly true?

I never attacked anyone personally; now, if someone takes their politics a little too seriously, they might have thought I was attacking them directly. I never called them greedy or lazy or something else to personally run them down.

I'll think about this more, however.

Tamara - Good point, but I'm not sure him "winning" is such a great thing, anyway. All he gets to say is that he told a conservative to go to hell. Big whoop.

6:11 PM, October 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

accept the things you cannot change,,,or change the things you cannot accept

8:40 PM, October 01, 2007  
Blogger Jim said...

'Debate' in our society is increasingly becoming nothing more than a contest to see who can think up the worst name for the other guy first. Moderate viewpoints are consistently shoved to the side, although they tend to be the ones that actually work...compromise is an art that is rapidly becoming lost in the Republican and Democratic noise machines.

I think opposing viewpoints are good to have around, although from a personal level, it's no fun to play devil's advocate all the time. If you're not happy, and you don't feel like you can accomplish the goals that you had when deciding to become a board member, than contemplating an exit strategy may be in order.

There's a lot of CRP ground that could be farmed or pastured quite successfully, without 'raping the environment'. When I drive though far southern Iowa, I'm always rather depressed at how much land is just sitting completely idle...yeah, it may be too erosive to row crop, but it would be great for grazing or haying. I would think that someone sitting on the board of a farming organization would be able to look at such issues objectively...guess not.

9:33 PM, October 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On one hand I'm sure you would like to stay on to influence the organization and to defend your honor in such a situation but on the other hand if this view and attitude is becoming more common the old adage "you are judged by the company you keep." comes into play. Do you really want to be associated with this group? If it is becoming obvious that there is an intransigence as far as reforming their views or accepting any sort of criticism or altering their official views then you have to look at whether it is wise to be associating with them at all. In the end you're just damaging your own reputation and causing yourself personal aggravation for no reason.

12:01 AM, October 03, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Thanks everyone for your input. You have a lot of wisdom out there.

I've decided to resign my position effectively immediately.

I was beginning to feel like Sisyphus.

7:19 AM, October 03, 2007  
Anonymous Dorf said...

Without knowing the details of the organization and if they have a board member who talks like that, to me it sounds like a crap organization. You don't want to be a part of that.

Use your blog to get your opinions out about CRP and other similar stuff. Heck buy a domain name and some web hosting space, (My website costs me like $4 a month.. it's nothing.) Get argriculture folks together and start your own group blog about ag issues.

Heck, you can reach a lot more people online then that stuffy old group probably did.

9:48 AM, October 03, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Dorf, that's a great idea...except I'd rather spend my time polluting the environment by plowing up and down the hills of CRP fields while driving over endangered species with my John Deere. Plus, I'm a greedy SOB who'd charge $39.95/minute for access to my innovative and earth-shattering thoughts and commentary.

For those of you that are humor-handicapped, that's a joke. Didn't think such a disclaimer was necessary, but these days...

8:22 PM, October 03, 2007  
Blogger Stevencap said...

We’re looking for bloggers who can cover a national Town Hall meeting hosted by John Ratzenberger in Des Moines at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the Hy-Vee Hall of the Iowa Events Center (730 Third Street, Des Moines).

I’ve pasted some info on the event below. Please feel free to contact me if you might be interested in attending and/or blogging at the event. I’d also be very grateful if you could please post this notice or pass it along to anyone who might be interested in blogging.

Many thanks,
Steven Capozzola
Communications Director
Alliance for American Manufacturing
Phone: (202) 393-3430

A national Town Hall meeting, hosted by John Ratzenberger, will be held in Des Moines at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the Hy-Vee Hall of the Iowa Events Center (730 Third Street, Des Moines). Iowa bloggers are invited to attend and cover the event. A brief summary:
1. The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), a national, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC, is sponsoring the event.
2. The meeting will be hosted by TV’s John Ratzenberger (‘Cheers,’ The Travel Channel’s ‘Made in America’).
3. The event will focus on Iowa’s continuing loss of manufacturing jobs. Voters will be encouraged to ask candidates blunt questions about what they’ll do to help save U.S. manufacturing.
4. Attendance is free, and is open to the general public. Bloggers are encouraged to RSVP in order to reserve media seating and prime Internet access.
5. Post-show interviews with John Ratzenberger must be arranged via RSVP before the event.
To RSVP, or if you have any questions, please contact Steven Capozzola at:, 202-393-3430. Official website:

10:17 AM, October 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could also start the process of creating an alternative organization which isn't so marginalized philosophically or politically. If they're raving nutjobs start an alternative org that offers an viewpoint that differs from theirs and better yet exposes them for the whackjobs they are.

2:52 AM, October 07, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Anonymous 2:52 10/7/2007, maybe that's not a bad idea. I was giving this some thought tonight as I mowed the yard.

Why not an Iowa Independent Farmers Organization? Truely non-partisan (because we believe all political parties are suspect), representing real farmers (i.e. those who derive a large proportion of income from actually farming/ranching the land) and representing their views on issues that affect their livelyhoods (no positions on abortions, nuclear weapons, Iraq War, etc).

I'll expound on this further soon.

7:15 PM, October 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought all this time your fundamental values and beliefs sounded more like Farm Bureau than a farmers union. Maybe you need to open your eyes more towards their organization. They seem to be very strong towards promoting ag and a farmers bottom line. Just my thoughts.

9:32 PM, October 09, 2007  
Blogger bgunzy said...

I am a Farm Bureau member, primarily for the health insurance. Yeah, there are some good things about the Bureau. However, they appear to be top-down governing, even though they are called a grassroots organization.

Maybe I'll pay more attention to the FB stuff that comes through the mail.

6:12 PM, October 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farm Bureau definately is not top down governing. That is why every year you get a policy development sheet in the mail to fill out and send back. Policy is made by the members and members only. In fact if I understand correctly, only farmer members make policy for them.

7:06 AM, October 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto regarding the above comment and FB policy making. It is definitely from the grassroots UP.

Get involved! Ag needs a strong voice in DM

7:22 AM, October 11, 2007  
Anonymous okie53 said...

It's a shame that so many former "common man" organizations have been taken over by those with an extreme view that does not represent the original founder's intent, or the commonly held views of the country. (ASPCA, Audubon, etc.)

6:52 PM, October 25, 2007  

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