Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Now That It’s Over, It’s Time to Exercise Our ‘True Power’

The best thing about the 2016 election, a contest between two of the most unpopular candidates in history, is that it’s over.

Now, we get back to work. Back to our radical roots (it’s never been lost on me that the word radical originates from the Latin word for root).

With this divisive and toxic election behind us, we can now get back to the grassroots work of regenerating our food and farming system, our health—even our democracy. Assuming, that is, we can set aside our differences long enough to focus on the root of our problems—corporate control over every aspect of our lives, including our political system.

As Dr. Joe Mercola wrote in an article that appeared just before the election, it’s time to recognize where our “true power” lies. It lies in the choices we make every time we make a purchase, especially a food purchase.

Every consumer choice we make either supports the corporations that are writing the laws we oppose. Or doesn’t. It’s that simple.

It’s interesting, and encouraging, that when we analyze OCA’s supporter base, we find that it’s almost evenly split three ways—among Democrats, Republicans and Independents. These numbers tell us that the issues we focus on—food, farming, health, climate change, social and economic justice, how our democracy functions—resonate across party lines.

That’s a good thing. Because it will take all of us, working together, to address these issues—regardless of who hangs his, or her, hat in the White House.

We’ve fought hard over the years to advance policies that reflect your values and protect you, not corporations. We’ll continue to do that. We believe our best hope to achieve policy change lies in active participation at the local level.
 
But as long as corporations rule the hallowed halls of Congress, we will face an uphill challenge in the policy arena, especially at the national and global levels. If we want change, we will have to exercise our “true power.” And that’s something we can do no matter who wears the presidential mantle, as Dr. Mercola writes:

Remember, the industries that are currently buying our politicians and writing their own laws cannot maintain power without your ongoing financial SUPPORT. While we may not have a significant choice in how our tax contributions are distributed to these industries through subsidies and contracts, we do have a very powerful influence by making responsible purchases each and every day.

Let’s face it. Given our choices this election year, no matter which way the election went, we knew that the food, farming and regeneration movement wouldn’t have a friend in the White House.

Days before the election, an article in Sustainable Pulse revealed even more details about Hillary Clinton’s already widely acknowledged deep ties to Monsanto.

Donald Trump, our new Climate-Denier-in-Chief, took a typically political approach to handling the Monsanto and GMO issue. After firing off a tweet aimed at insulting then-Republican primary opponent Ben Carson, implying that “too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain,” Trump promptly deleted the tweet when it caused him to dip in the polls.

As Dr. Mercola wrote:

Politicians say what is necessary to get elected, based on the polling of talking points. A politician’s public talking points constantly “evolve” and are rarely consistent with their actions that benefit their corporate sponsors.

We know this to be true. Because the same day Sustainable Pulse published the article about Hillary-is-pro-Monsanto piece, we got a call from the Trump campaign. If they put out a press release stating that Trump was anti-GMO, would we push it out to our networks they asked?

Recognizing the suggestion as a publicity tactic, not necessarily a genuine reflection of Trump’s actual position on genetic engineering, we declined. The angry Trump PR operative angrily hung up on us—after announcing that it was obvious why we’d lost the GMO labeling fight. “You don’t have any brains,” he said.

In the end, Trump didn’t need us to push out his phony press release. He won without it.

And in the end, we don’t need Trump—or any other politician—to advance our agenda. What we need is people power.

We agree with Dr. Mercola. It’s time to withdraw our support from the corporations that are polluting our environment, poisoning our food, corrupting our democracy. When—not if—we do that, we will redistribute financial power to the businesses aligned with our core principles.

We can do this. We must do this. Our survival depends on it.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association.

 

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