Sunday, July 26, 2015

Won't get fooled again!!

The Saturday paper often has interesting stories about topics that require more in depth coverage than the usual "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How."Yesterday's Star Tribune included this one: Consumer angst at forefront of GMO labeling debate. Most of the opening paragraphs focus on how safe GMO foods are and demeaning assessments by Minnesota's 7th District Congressman, Collin Peterson, about how little his constituents know about what a GMO is. Both the majority of the article and the Congressman's opinion, I believe, woefully miss the point. [UPDATE: a farmer's view on GMOs and politicians]

monarch butterflies
monarch butterflies
Photo by J. Harrington

Perhaps both the Congressman and the article's author have been overly influenced by H. L. Menken's observation that "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Perhaps it's time to give credit where it's due. Most of the folks I know are concerned about GMOs because they know that it gives global corporations and global, industrial, ag way more control than is healthy for the average American. Perhaps American consumers are aware that GMO's help support a war on our pollinators. Perhaps consumers can see beyond next week's paycheck and next quarter's profits.

honeybees
honeybees
Photo by J. Harrington

The Supreme Court might have (misguidedly) found that corporations are "persons," but that doesn't make them people. They don't show a lot of concern for the next generation. For that matter, with their overwhelming interest in protecting their corporate intellectual property, they don't show a hell-of-a-lot of concern for this generation. That surprises me since most successful parasites have learned to not kill their hosts. Perhaps consumers are concerned about the lawsuits Monsanto continues to file (and win) against farmers as a means of protecting GMO patents and products. Perhaps consumers remember the days when they knew where their food came from and what they were eating. It's even possible, I suppose, consumers might be tired of being told that the government and big ag know what's best for them and they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads.

Perhaps corporate credibility suffers because we're celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Enbridge Kalamazoo tar sands spill, and parts of the river are still contaminated. Perhaps more and more Americans are discovering that neither big government nor big corporations are trustworthy. How secure are your cell phone communications? When's the next time the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency citizen's board will meet? How will PolyMet treat contaminated sulfate-mining waters for 200 to 500 years?

field corn
field corn
Photo by J. Harrington

We aren't talking about occasional missteps here. Even before Citizens United, too many politicians paid more attention to those who paid for their elections than to those who cast the votes. Since that satanic decision, things keep getting worse. We're just trying like hell to not get fooled again, as the Who so advisedly sang. Remember, you can also vote with your wallet or purse. Stay away from processed foods, soft drinks and pandering politicians.

Coming to This

By Mark Strand 
We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry   
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.   
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.   
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.   
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.


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