Pardon my Latin; it’s one of those traits that has carried over from attending an all-boys Catholic high school. Although I can barely decline a noun such as amicus (friend) or conjugate a verb such as amare (love) anymore, I find myself slipping in a few Latin phrases from time to time.
Before my friends, candy makers and countrymen can say, “Et tu, Bernardus?” I’ll stop this flagrant flaunting of a long, lost language and get to the point.
But first, a little historical context. The “Quo tendimus?” reference is taken from “Quo vadis?” a popular legend believed by many Catholics to be true.
The term “Quo vadis?” actually means “Where are you going?” and is said to have been posed by Christ to Peter as he was leaving Rome, who had been urged by his followers to escape pending crucifixion. Upon hearing Christ tell him that he’s going to Rome to be crucified again, Peter quickly determines to go back to Rome to tend his flock and meet his fate.
My “Quo tendimus?” is a reference to the most recent election, one whereby Donald Trump is our new president-elect. It’s no secret that I live in Chicago, one of the most blue (read: Democratic) cities in the United States and home to President Obama.
And it’s no secret that my political leanings skew toward liberal and progressive candidates. At the same time, I have the greatest respect for the office of the president and duly elected officials. (I’ll tackle the Electoral College debate some other time). Heck, I remember almost getting into a bar fight with an ex-pat over respecting the office — and specifically President Bush — while attending the ISM show in Cologne many years ago.
During this past political campaign, I had a hard time understanding how people could vote for our president-elect. In digesting the results, it became clear that many people simply didn’t trust either candidate and felt that Trump represented the biggest opportunity to “reset” government.
I also believe, given the majority rule in the Congress and Senate by Republicans, that there’s an opportunity for the confectionery industry here, regardless of your political affiliation. If there’s ever a time to revamp our nation’s sugar policy, it’s now.
As the National Confectioners Association’s website points out, “The 113th Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, a five-year farm bill that imposes many import restrictions and other market-shorting schemes, including limits on growing allotments for farmers, tighter tariff rate quotas and a sugar for ethanol program. The result: U.S. sugar-using companies pay more for sugar than competitors in the global marketplace.
“The sugar program costs U.S. consumers and businesses up to $3.5 billion annually,” the NCA notes. “The Congressional Budget Office’s March 2015 Baseline for Farm Programs forecasts the U.S. sugar program will cost taxpayers $115 million over the next 10 years. There are 600,000 people employed in direct manufacturing in the sugar using industry that are negatively impacted by this program and 18,000 growers that are benefiting.”
Now, more than ever, is the time to redouble our efforts and enact legislation that reforms our antiquated U.S. sugar program. Simply put: Carpe diem; let’s seize the moment.
So while we may continue to debate the wisdom behind erecting walls (or is it just a fence now?) on the border, dismantling the Affordable Care Act, revamping our relationship with Russia or junking NAFTA, I think we can all agree on working together to make sugar sweet again in America.
So for those who were tempted to walk away from politics following this year’s election, I say “Quo vadis?” To those of you who are reveling in the results, I also say, “Quo tendimus?” We’re in this industry together, regardless of political affiliation.