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Run it Like the Ranch

Written by Jennifer Womack
Over the course of the past month and leading up to the election much attention has been devoted to our country and its future. You don’t have to look far to find frustration with the direction we’re heading, regardless of your political affiliations. I share in many of those frustrations, but think the discussion is best approached from an angle of, “What would you like our country to look like for your children?”
    While it may be an oversimplification of the situation, maybe it’s time we started running Washington, D.C. like many Wyoming families run their ranches and small businesses. A few thoughts come to mind…
If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
It’s cheaper to take care of it than it is to repair it.
A little innovation goes a long way.
Have a plan.
Move with the times.
Work hard.
Live by the Golden Rule.
    And I’m sure each of you can add to this list.
    As I write this, I can hear my mother saying, “Mind your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.” That thought also went through my mind this morning while I was cleaning those little bits of hay from the edges of the Hydrabed, but that’s a different story. Plus, those bits of hay are more synonymous with quarters than pennies this year.
    If we had that type of frugality present in Washington, D.C., a perceived need to increase taxes would be a much easier pill to swallow. For me the first question isn’t a matter of who is paying however much in taxes, but how are we spending the money we already have?
    As I look at the future of our country and what I’d like our children to experience, I envision ample opportunity. I’d like to see as much attention given to one’s potential to start a business as is devoted to the up and down movement of unemployment. I’d like them to experience national leadership that’s moving this country in a forward direction and not bogged down by the bickering that’s consuming our country today. There’s nothing wrong with a good debate, but to what end?
    I remember a few years back, a rancher who lives not too far from where I do today commented on the interactions of families on the ranch. “Most ranch families get along about as well as they make up their minds to.” I find that statement akin to today’s activities in our nation’s capitol. With so much focus on the fight, the “ranch” is floundering and in need of strong leadership. Perhaps it’s time we become devoted to Senator Enzi’s 80/20 rule!
    As we embark on 2013 and the years to come (assuming the Mayans are wrong), I hope we can find the common ground on which to form a vision of the America we want to leave to our kids and grandkids. I hope we can move back toward a nation of doers, leaders, movers and shakers.
    Jennifer Vineyard Womack is executive director of the Wyoming FFA Foundation and a freelance writer. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 307-351-0730.