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Speak Your Piece: The Road to Fort Collins

[imgbelt img=WaltonOriginal528.jpg]This Friday, thousands of ranchers, farmers and feed lot owners will be in Fort Collins for “the most important day in the history of the U.S. cattle industry and in rural America.”


Fort Collins mixes up our politics.

Think of it. You have thousands of lizard-booted ranchers and Deere-owning farmers, mostly from red states, driving hundreds of miles to support a big government solution proposed by a Democratic president.

Oh, and another thing — the ranchers and farmers are supported by a labor union, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, which represents more than a third of the people employed in the meat-packing plants. Mark Lauritsen, a vice president of the United Food & Commercial Workers union, is slated to be on a panel Friday afternoon.

We have farmers linking arms with labor in Fort Collins, the Scarecrow walking with the Tin Man. It’s right out of The Wizard of Oz.

The old definitions of left and right don’t matter here. This isn’t an issue that either political party champions. No politician has stepped up to make antitrust his or her issue because nobody is sure how this will play out. 

And since this story isn’t about gay marriage or where to build a mosque or whether or not the President is a Christian, journalists don’t know what to write. It just doesn’t fit.

For the past 30 years, the country has been divided between red and blue. Friday, the National Farmers Union asked everyone attending the Fort Collins hearing to wear the same color shirt. 

Which color? Green.

Fort Collins is about economics and morality.

You don’t have to listen to the people pushing the antitrust message for long to be overwhelmed by the mixture of economics and morality. 

At the meeting in mid-August of the Organization for Competitive Markets, Randy Stevenson told the group of farmers and ranchers that “the market does not produce its own virtue or happiness Virtue must be imposed on it.”

Competition and open markets aren’t just good for the economy, these folks will tell you. They promote morality and virtue.

Fort Collins could be just the beginning.

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