"Before we go any further, let me try to explain a little bit about where I am coming from. I lean left on some issues and right on others while always staying focused on preserving liberty. I love America and the freedom it offers. Being one of the last independent commercial fishermen bolsters an already profound appreciation for freedom. Working as a fisheries advocate has provided unique insight as to how and why things are happening the way they are. Fellow fishermen have contributed greatly to my way of thinking. The first person who took me fishing to make money had some fingers that were not quite right. They had been blown apart by an anti-aircraft shell that landed in the airplane he was about to parachute out of during World War 2. He grabbed the shell and tossed it out of their plane just as it exploded. His heroic actions saved everyone onboard and engrained the price of freedom in a young boy. One wise captain I fished with for years shared a quote that always stuck with me. “When everybody thinks alike, nobody thinks.” Jesus was a fisherman who always knew right where to catch what was needed. He fed fish to multitudes of followers while teaching them things like the Golden Rule. That simple concept of treating others the way we want to be treated could bring peace on earth if we all practiced it."
Deep political divisions are tearing families and our nation apart. The two party political system leaves most of us voting for whatever party we think will do the least harm to the freedoms we hold dear. The most extreme voices seem to define both sides while most of us are somewhere in the middle where logic and reason resides. Most of us love America and want to stay free.
It is with a heavy heart that I talk about being one of the last commercial fishermen. Keeping this way of life alive is one of my goals as an advocate. Being on the water harvesting nature's bounty brings a freedom few other jobs can offer. Advocacy work and research reveals how corporations are working with public officials and environmental organizations to seize control of our fisheries and other public resources. Corporations pander to the left by funding environmental charities and the right by embracing capitalism. The problem with corporations that do this is that their sole goal is profit by any means necessary. We are left with corporate control of our public resources and crony capitalism that corrupts the free market.
Veteran's Day is a fitting time to talk about the old war vet with a wounded hand who taught me about much more than fishing and the price of freedom. He told stories of growing up during the Great Depression and the hardships it caused. Finding food was a constant concern for many living back then. He talked about how great the fishing was and what a blessing that fresh seafood was for hungry people. Tales of big fish and plenty of them made me wonder if it could ever be that way again. The reality is that science and technology can help us overcome decades of mismanagement and habitat degradation. Wise us of hatcheries and habitat enhancements can bring back the good-old-days of fishing as seafood stocks thrive at historically high levels even as we harvest more.
"When everybody thinks alike, nobody thinks" Group think creates a gang mentality in many cases that can lead people to support bad ideas. This often leaves us supporting something extreme or only opposing it without really looking for logical solutions that most reasonable people could support. Keeping an open mind is key to keeping freedom.
The Golden Rule is something most of us understand regardless of religious beliefs. Being kind cannot be compulsory. It must be done of our own free will. Remember that the rule is to treat others the way we want to be treated, not how they treat us. That isn't always easy and takes practice. I am happy to talk with anyone about my personal relationship with Jesus.