We’re Not Talking About Politics By Bridget White

Like many, many other people, I never mix politics and business. Yes, I have a party affiliation. Yes, I keep abreast of current events. Yes, I vote in every election. Yes, I often have strong feelings about the candidates. I just make it a point never to talk about politics when I’m in a business situation — you never know when someone’s views are going to be radically different from yours and a business associate ends up mad.

So, if I never talk about politics, why am I bringing up the subject now? It’s not so I can espouse a certain platform or convince you to vote for either of the candidates. It’s to remind you that there are real issues in the upcoming election that need to be addressed — for your personal life, your business and our industry.

On the ballot

There are more regulatory and governmental concerns for floriculture and small business than perhaps ever before, and the commander-in-chief will set the tone for how these issues are to be handled over the next four years.

Greenhouses are treated like any other “small” business when it comes to some governmental classifications, and there are a number of issues right now that will affect all small businesses, including yours — issues such as whether or not to permanently repeal the inheritance tax; whether we should give more tax rebates or use the money to pay off the rising national debt; and how to enact and enforce do-not-call, do-not-fax and anti-spam lists.

What about the issues that are specific to floriculture/agriculture? I’m talking about things like the trend to be more aggressive with invasive species lists, whether or not we will ever get the guest worker situation taken care of, what’s going to happen to Q 37, and how we’re going to continue shipping from offshore with new disease pressures and the bioterrorism scare.

And I won’t even get into the topics that might be of personal significance to you. These will be the easiest to deal with because it’s mostly what the candidates are talking about. Just don’t forget about these issues while considering everything else.

do you matter?

I obviously think the above issues are important and encourage everyone to do some research and decide which candidate you think best represents your needs, but the most important reason for writing about the upcoming election is just to remind everyone to vote.

Our country has the lowest voter turnout of any country in the world. The first time South Africa held a free election, its 90-percent voter turnout was the result of people walking miles and standing in line for days to vote. We will be lucky to get 35-40 percent turnout, and this is a presidential election. Think one little vote doesn’t matter? Ask all those Floridians who didn’t vote in the 2000 election how they feel about their vote counting.

I’m not trying to get political or to turn a business-to-business trade publication into my own political forum, but with so many floriculture-related issues on the table right now you’re vote is more important than ever. Don’t waste it.

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