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Why Politicians Need A Judging Team

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TTrumphis year’s political season, at its high points, has been nothing short of a comical farce and, at its low points, downright terrifying. From the circus of 16 potential candidates in the Republican party to watching an aged socialist take on the Democratic party’s leading wench, the state of politics in America has become the joke of the world. But there is hope and a sure fix – they all just need a year on a livestock or horse judging team.

Miles of highway in close quarters with guys and gals from different places and different backgrounds can serve as a true proving ground for someone will real mettle, so let’s dive in.

As a a livestock or horse judging student, one of the first caveats drummed into your tiny mind (or so the coach thinks)  is to clearly understand the purpose for the animal, whether that be for food or performance, and applying the ideal to each animal you see. In horses, it’s famously called Form to Function and if the horse’s structure or conformation does not fit its function, it will not be able to perform well. The same with government – if the function of government and its purpose, as defined by the Constitution, is not well understood and RESPECTED by its leaders, it will fail to perform its purpose. When you begin to understand how fat is not always good and depth of heart is extremely valuable, then you might be able to understand how government should also work.

With growing regularity, the candidates we have left to vote for, including the oft touted savior Libertarian Gary Johnson, have no connection to the land. While this is not surprising as urban blight continues to sweep across America, the fact is, food has to come from somewhere and there is a dwindling appreciation and understanding for the American farmer and rancher. Most of America’s forefathers came from the land, 17 of them were either farmers or plantation owners; only 15 were full-time lawyers. With their year on a judging team, they’ll become familiar with the smell of cow pie on the boots of their teammates, as well as the ruminations of the threat of drought, lost calves, colic, the cost of feed and how much fuel they’re burning taking care of their animals.

Traveling in a 10 or 12-passenger van is also a great lesson in cooperative effort and responsibility. Donald and Hillary would both benefit from being taped to their seat and having Skittles stuck up their nose, but more importantly, the close quarters they would share with people who are their teammates would require them to listen more closely and begin to develop an appreciation for other opinions and viewpoints that come from a common goal. Not everyone fattens a steer the exact same way, but the goal is still the same. And certainly, there is no discrimination when it comes to men or women. Scores are scores when it comes to contests and it’s clear cut on how to win the competition. Plus, if romance happens to bloom between teammates and then goes bust during the season, the art of diplomacy is quickly learned.

Then there is the actual purpose of the team – competitively judging livestock and orally defending the placing of one animal over another. As independent as America is, we are still ONE Nation UNDER God, INDIVISIBLE, with liberty and justice for all. When you’re on a judging team, one of your jobs is to support your teammates during your workouts, offer constructive criticism to one another and, at a contest, slip those clandestine attaboys (not notes; that would be cheating) to one another when it looks like a tough class. When leading a country, the President should always remember he is the leader of a team, and not the King of the World. By surrounding him or herself with intelligence born of wisdom, the chances that he or she will be able to make sound decisions is even greater, but more importantly, he or she will have the support of others who share a common burden and goal – to be successful and, at the end of the day, top the competition.

The team also has to have a good Coach. There is no real rocket science to judging livestock or horses, but there is a real science in understanding the student and what motivates them to think clearly and orally defend their choices. Some coaches intimidate, some coaches motivate and some coaches let things work out for themselves, but a good Coach sometimes does all three,  because not every student is the same. The President would do well to remember that he or she is coaching the Cabinet to do their best to grow this nation, Congress to do their best in representing its citizens and as Commander in Chief, is responsible for motivating a vast network of people to defend our nation. One coach I had told my team to always remember that when we are at a contest, we should never embarrass ourselves, our school and most importantly, the Coach. That should also be a caveat in government, as the President is called upon to remember that the OFFICE of the President should never be embarrassed by the PERSON of the President.

Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of judging, is learning to orally defend your placings. The prerequisite to developing a strong set of oral reasons is the ability to think clearly on your feet and stay focused on the PURPOSE of the class. There are very clear guidelines that outline what is considered the ideal, i.e. The Constitution, and when things line up well against the ideal, it is relatively easy to formulate a solid set of oral reasons to defend the placing. However, when the placing does not line up well against the ideal, the argument quickly falls apart. With that said, there are some who are brilliant speakers and have the ability to make a poor placing sound somewhat impressive. Then, in order to ensure a correct score for that placing, it falls on the person, i.e. The Citizen, to closely listen to those reasons and filter the cow pie from the cut beef, placing the argument where it belongs, usually close to the bottom of the scoring range.

And finally, one of the most important aspects of being on the team is prayer. When you get up at 5 a.m. to get to the contest by 7 a.m., you need it. Prayer to stay awake. Prayer to stay focused. Prayer to get the placing right. Prayer to keep your lunch down when it’s time to give your reasons. And prayer to keep you act together when the coach decides to chew your a$# out and more prayer that he doesn’t let it fall out. As President, you’ll need that same prayer to get up early, face the challenges of an ever-changing and scary world, make honest, thoughtful decisions and then get back at it when things blow up in your face.

For many livestock and horse judging students, moving on to become a professional judge is often a goal. There they will find that judging and politics regularly meet in the same arena when that county’s most prominent stockman’s kid enters the ring or a novice rides in on a former world champion. Having the forbearance to withstand the pressure that comes from outside the ring is sometimes an innate gift, but more often is a learned trait that must be cultivated in order to maintain a good reputation for being a qualified judge or a good politician.

Now, who’s turn is it to drive?

 

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