THE PILOT EDITORIAL - Catch more flies with taste of honey

Thursday, January 24, 2002

It is easy to appreciate the frustration of the farm community and rural Iowans in general, but now is not the time to let ugly behavior do the talking.

Based on the opinion of local state representative Russ Eddie, a group rallying against factory farms at the statehouse recently probably did more harm than good for their cause.

Arranged by the aggressive Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement group, many in the rally refused to remove their caps while they sat in on the governor's Condition of the State speech, made a lot of disrespectful noise to the governor, and in some cases had to be removed by State Patrol officers, even as they continued to antagonize members of the assembly.

Peaceful protest is an important part of our society, but there is a difference between making a point and the boorish behavior as Eddie describes it. Few lawmakers who have been annoyed by a lack of respect are going to go out of their way to listen to this group's ideas.

Indeed, they and other rural Iowan groups have points that need to be made. And for the first time in years, it seemed like the legislature was prepared to really listen and reexamine what could be done to help the small Iowa farmer survive.

It is the time for unity, clear heads and a strong voice to preserve what rural Iowa has been all about, and what has made the state strong. There is no time to waste squabbling. We had best take our hats off, so that we can get down to work while it is still possible.