Monterey County Farm Bureau


Reflections: How Far We Have Come

Written by: Norm Groot, Executive Director, Monterey County Farm Bureau

And we’re off and running in 2021 … and the first week was a doozie!  After a relaxing holiday season where we did very little except hunker down at home, the early days of 2021 challenged all our sensibilities as citizens and residents of the greatest nation of the world.

What unfolded on January 6th was no doubt horrifying to the majority of us … especially those of us familiar with Washington, D.C., and in particular, the Capitol building.  To watch as doors and windows were crashed in, selfies taken at the desks of our elected leaders, and furniture being looted out of the building was very disturbing.  As one who has had numerous opportunities to visit our nation’s Capital, and even had the opportunity to not only observe Congress in session but to be provided a tour that included access to the House of Representatives Chamber floor, the reverence for our national landmark cannot and should not be understated.  Watching the protesters casually sit where they wanted, take photos of documents on desks, high-five each other, and wave flags of dubious distinctions in the Chambers was unsettling.

While many inquiries are sure to take place over how, when and where all the security failed to protect our Capitol building, the images will live on in our minds for quite some time.  Some are comparing this to the sacking and burning of the building by the British in 1814 during the War of 1812 … I’m not sure I would go that far in my own comparisons, but it was disturbing that the mob mentality took hold in so many people that afternoon.

And what can we learn from all this?  That politics are becoming much more volatile?  That if we don’t get what we want we can just go out and take it?  That’s not the American democracy that I was raised with, nor is it what our Founding Fathers would condone.  An election was held and the outcome should be respected, no matter who won or lost.  We are not a nation of sore losers and we are above violence as a solution to any of our political ill wills, no matter how impactful.

Just imagine how frightening this afternoon must have been not only for our elected Representatives and Senators, but the staff members who work in the Capital as well as the surrounding office buildings.  The images that we see from that afternoon show the desperate looks of many who simply did not fully understand the extent of the security breach or the amount of violence they might be subjected to.  And that a security officer had to die for doing his job is beyond comprehension.

We are a nation of fairness to all … what transpired that afternoon was the reaction of a mob bent on getting their way by stopping a historically traditional procedure that advances the leadership of our nation to a smooth transition of power.  No one should call disruptive behavior acceptable, from children in our schools to adults who know better.

And now we tread on another pathway to punitive actions.  I submit that it may not be productive for our national agenda to carry on with blame finding and, indeed, even impeachment, as it will detract from the nation’s business and setting the agenda of a new administration in their earliest days.  It will only serve to divide the political factions even further, instead of taking steps to unify us all under a new political structure.  With a matter of days remaining before a leadership change, this is a distraction we don’t need, no matter how one perceives the actions involved.

I may not have the most popular of attitudes here, but my concern is expressed from a desire to find common ground, indeed compromise, to get back on track to solving our most critical political and policy issues of the day.

I invite your comments: email me at