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Dear Editor: The Dairy Business Association’s planned Jan. 20 hosting of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should be scrutinized. It is an alarming sign that a Trump administration figure, whose PAC calls for “real Americans” to be “pipe hitters'' against a non-existent far-left agenda, is being granted a welcoming platform to espouse his antidemocratic views and authoritarianism.

In Pompeo we find the marriage of nationalism, corporatism, xenophobia and authoritarianism, which some warn could lead a populist electorate toward an embrace of fascism.

On climate, he is another disaster, a rapacious pro-polluter, anti-environmental regulation ideologue. He has even celebrated the polar ice caps melting as opening up new shipping routes. Pompeo is not a figure you want to ignore, but to challenge head-on before he exploits the country’s vulnerabilities to get back into national office.

But that's the big picture. For dairy, Pompeo has plenty to answer for. Members of the DBA audience should push back on the Trump administration’s touted achievements. Pompeo supported Trump’s stupid trade wars, which led to thousands more dairy farms going under.

Nothing was done to challenge multinational large agribusiness and CAFOs, which undercut the price of milk for our small Wisconsin dairy farms. Promises were made, and blame was deflected. But farmer suicides and fatal opioid overdoses continue to rise. For Pompeo, the enemy is never the corporate behemoths that destroy main streets, but a foreign government like China, whom he happens to have plenty of business dealings with anyway.

Pompeo should be allowed to speak when he appears at Monona Terrace, but make him answer what he would do to restore the control of farms to Wisconsinites, not corporate contracted-CAFOS. Corporate control isn’t just bad for farming, it subverts our democracy. As FDR warned Congress in 1938, when private power controls the government, that is fascism.

Heed his warning, and push back.

Richard McGowan


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