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Luttrell: Discussion of Big Issues Including Global Warming
 

By National Grange Blog (6/3/10)

  JUNE 5, 2010 --

The Grange is an organization that encourages our members to discuss, debate, and even to disagree on issues in order to find common ground and solutions to real problems. Policies of the Community, State, and National Grange are the result of our grassroots based concept of setting the official view of our organization through a democratic, collective decision making process. The end result is that the issues that we set policy on are not always the same. A Community Grange policy may differ from their State Grange's policy on the same topic. Any State may have an opposing view from the National Grange's policies.

In reality the only members who are required to publicly support any of the policies of the Grange are the leaders at each level that has policy on that issue. Our support comes from the discussion of our membership during the adoption progress.

Issues such as global warming or climate change, are huge issues that have the potential to divide any group. I am aware of many members of our organization that believe strongly that we are the sole cause of this problem, while many others question just how much change is happening and do not believe that mankind has the power to change climate.

Many groups have taken "politically correct" positions so that they don't have to take the heat. Some groups have ignored the issue and a few have taken the opportunity to have open discussion. On the issue of global warming, all possible positions have danger, at least in a political sense.

Our stand is that each member must follow their own conscience on each issue. Where they disagree with official policy, they should advocate for its change internally and work for their point of view outside the organization. Calling names or implying that leaders are wrong for carrying out the policies of the Grange at that level are not actions based upon the high standards of Grange principles.

The Grange position on global warming is rather brief. We are opposed to the current various incarnations of the "Cap and Trade" bill as they are more about revenue generation than impacting any global warming. We are also opposed to increasing legislation or regulation to restrict greenhouse gasses as governmental intervention seldom solves the problem.

We have a long history of 142 years, during which we have consistently advocated for good stewardship of our land and environment. We don't always agree with particular pieces of legislation or specific rules from agencies, but we do believe that good stewardship must be part of our lifestyle, regardless of whether we live in a rural area or an urban environment. During our traditional initiation process each new member is left with the goal that we should leave the world a better place than we found it.

The Grange remains one of the few organizations where open discussion of the big issues is not only possible, but encouraged. Tempers may occasionally flare, passions may erupt, but the end goal is a civil discussion where all learn something and we search together for common ground.

The Grange Declaration of Purposes, written by the Founders of the Grange and still part of the Constitution of the National Grange, anticipated that there would be conflicts of opinion and philosophy as part of the Grange policy development process. Through the Declaration of Purposes, the Founders teach us that as Grange members, we collectively believe that "....difference of opinion is not a crime...." I would also add that neither is difference of opinion per se evidence of a failure of process or procedure in either developing our policy or implementing that policy. The Founders also teach us in the same section of the Declaration of Purposes that ....the fault lies in the bitterness of the controversy", meaning that disagreements on issues are only problems when we can not accept that our Brother and Sister Grange members, of good faith and honest character can have opinions or perspectives other than those we are comfortable with, including opinions that challenge our core values and ideas of who WE are as individual Grange members and what OUR Grange "stands for."

None of the big issues facing our society will be solved with "bumper sticker" solutions. We understand that complex problems often require solutions that require patience, time, and the ability to change and adapt as we learn. I am confident that Grange policies will continue to change and adapt without losing the fundamental principles that our organization has. The principle of open discussion of the big issues of the day is alive and well.

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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