After a three-day weekend of laying new carpet in my living room, I was in my bedroom getting ready to take my 4-year-old Cindy to McDonald’s, sort of in celebration of our job well-done. I sat in front of the mirror on my vanity smoothing cold cream on my face, when in walked Cindy.
“What are you doing?” she asked, sounding anxious to be on our way.
“Just trying to make myself pretty,” I replied, removing the cream with a tissue.
“Mommy, wait,” she cried. “Don’t give up.”
—Janett L. Grady
I’m tired of the partisan bickering in Washington and political grandstanding by both sides. I’d like to see some real leadership.
In the 1970s, Mike Mansfield, D-Mont., and Hugh Scott, R-Pa., led their respective parties in the U.S. Senate in debating the thorniest issues. They were tough, but respectful, competitors.
They understood that government works best when elected representatives bring their convictions to the table and, with equal conviction to cooperation and collaboration, commit their full intellect and energy to solving America’s problems.
“When you become majority leader, you become subordinate to your colleagues in the Senate,” said Mansfield in a 1977 interview. “All 100 senators are equal in my view…so I have tried to operate on the golden rule—Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
His theory of leadership may seem quaint and old-fashioned to some, but I think we could use the Mansfield brand of civility in our leaders today.
Too often elected officials walk in lockstep with party ideology rather than using their own best judgment to arrive at a consensus on the issues. They stick to the extreme right or left of the political road and expect us to view them as leaders. For them, all problems can be solved easily; the choices are always “either/or.”
Some say politicians who consider themselves middle-of-the-roaders are “wishy-washy.”
But the middle of the road is usually the highest point. It’s built that way so rainwater will run off quickly. So when standing in the middle of the road, we can see our surroundings and evaluate them carefully.
The middle of the road exposes us to a bigger picture than we might see from one side or the other. The narrow path on either side often does not allow proper perspective on issues we sometimes find too complex or inconvenient.
Those who walk on the edge of the political roadway too often represent a limited view of the world. Most of the time the issues facing America do not lend themselves to easy resolution.
The best solutions are not found using a black-and-white, “either/or” approach; they are most likely to be crafted from a “both/and” approach. That would be the guiding philosophy of Scott and Mansfield if they were in the U.S. Senate today. You would very likely find them leading from the high ground in the middle of the road.
Paul Wood is president and CEO of the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, that state’s organization for electric cooperatives.
Mark and Chriss Mitchell of Reno, Nevada, marked a milestone when they took delivery of a 2007 Velocity Yellow Corvette at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green on September 7. The couple was the 5,000th customer to use a special R8C program that started in 1996. That odd name is a General Motors code for a feature that allows the buyer to pick up their Corvette where it is on display in the Corvette Museum, then get a VIP tour of the museum and manufacturing plant. Gary Cockriel, R8C Museum delivery manager, says so many people are willing to pay extra for the R8C option “because this is a Mecca for Corvette owners. It gives them a chance to come to the plant and see their car on display in the museum.” There were 1,172 new Corvettes delivered at the museum for the 2006 model year and the program continues to grow with approximately eight deliveries taking place each day. More information on the R8C Museum Delivery Program is available at: www.corvettemuseum.com/ncm_delivery/index.shtml or by calling (800) 205-4248.
Two years ago, U.S. Army veterinarians recognized a need to help Afghanistan and Iraq rebuild their animal health infrastructure. University of Kentucky epidemiology professor Craig Carter was part of that group, and he wanted the result of his participation to be effective disease prevention and control in animals and a more abundant source of protein for the people of both countries.
Carter works in the UK College of Agriculture’s Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center and also in the UK College of Public Health. His active and reserve military career spans four decades, including service in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Afghanistan. Carter was one of six key individuals brought together to conduct workshops aimed at helping Iraqi veterinarians plan and implement a National Animal Health Program, similar to programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first workshop was held in Kuwait City in September 2004.
That workshop identified long- and short-term needs and facilitated a concerted effort to rebuild animal health programs in the two countries. Carter said enormous progress was made in Afghanistan through subsequent workshops held by technical experts. The group was able to gather again in July 2005 at the World Veterinary Congress in Minnesota.
Carter says that from the beginning, Iraqis wanted to hold workshops in their own country, but it was difficult for them to get travel visas and approval from the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture.
Finally in August 2006, with U.S. Army reconstruction funding, more than 80 veterinarians came together in Erbil, Iraq. The group included eight female veterinarians, with representation from the central governments of Iraq and Kurdistan, and most universities, laboratories, and private practices from 16 of the 18 Iraq governorates.
The workshop’s purpose was to develop a framework for enhancing national animal health capacity through integration of government, academic, and private sector veterinary capabilities.
“This process was definitely not encouraged under the regime of Saddam Hussein,” Carter says. “The participants related repeatedly how much they wanted a better life and for their profession to play a significant role in the recovery of the Iraqi economy and quality of life. Indeed, they literally risked their lives to attend the workshop.”
Some of the conference outcomes included beginning plans for an Iraqi veterinary scientific conference; starting plans for a new Iraqi Animal Health Organization, patterned after the U.S. Animal Health Association; and developing training sessions for each veterinary discipline supporting the new National Animal Health Program.
Carter says many challenges lie ahead before the conference goals are carried out.
“Iraqi agriculture has many challenges, with security and funding right at the top,” he says. “But beyond that, the Iraqi veterinary profession will have to work hard to organize their efforts toward building an effective animal health program that will build and protect their herds from endemic and exotic diseases. In the past, everyone turned to Baghdad to solve all their problems. This mindset needs to change such that the Iraqis take charge of their own destiny.”
Iraq has great potential for a viable and competitive agricultural economy if certain diseases are eliminated, Carter says.
“There are many opportunities to improve the quality of life for Iraqis via agricultural recovery and improvement,” he explains. “For example, brucellosis is a common disease in sheep and goats that easily infects people, and it can be fatal. It is estimated that about 3 percent of Iraqis have clinical brucellosis at any one point in time. Most of the United States has eradicated brucellosis and it has had a huge positive effect on public health. The same thing is possible for Iraq.”
Carter added that establishing programs to improve animal health will improve overall productivity and a healthier protein source for the populace.
“Iraq has the potential to become strong marketers of cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, and other species,” he says.
—Aimee Nielson, UK Extension Service