THE BLOG

Let's (Not) Be Blunt

04/29/2013 11:50 am ET | Updated Jun 29, 2013

With the various legislative wins cropping up for agricultural business giants like Monsanto, a small amount of scrutiny has been given to the elected officials who have played a part in allowing such developments to take place. I just read one such story about Roy Blunt, a senator from Missouri, who has claimed credit for helping Monsanto to craft a rider to an appropriations bill that allows their genetically-modified crops to be made available in the marketplace without substantial agency review. These are the types of crops that, rather than be grown organically, rely upon genetic manipulation to resist vulnerability to natural occurrences like weeds and insects. They also require massive doses of chemicals to do so.

This is the direction that American government often goes in: that elected officials make decisions about how to legislate this country based not on the public's health and well-being, but rather the interests of business. If, for example, a rider is placed in legislation so as to rush genetically-modified crops to market, business will be better for the company that produces those crops.

Now, I'd like you to consider a scenario. What do you think would happen if your car's transmission was about to go and you (carefully) drove it to your local plumber's house and asked him to fix it? What might happen next? Would the plumber give you a confident smile, break out his toolbox, and get your car back into drivable shape with his monkey wrench and plunger? No. What is more likely to happen is that he would first look at you, then look around for the hidden cameras hiding in his hydrangea bushes, and then come back to you and say something to the effect of, "You know I'm a plumber and not an auto mechanic, right?"

This scenario is, of course, absurd. And it is also what we are doing by electing people to represent us in government even when they don't exercise knowledge of health and how to best ensure the prosperity of individuals.

We know that the decisions that are being made for the sake of protecting the interest of big business have not led to the greater good, for we are now faced with staggering rates of obesity, cancer, and other diseases. The headlines are filled with corporate scandals and one public disaster after another. By going up to a plumber and asking him to fix our car, we are asking someone to complete a task even though they haven't demonstrated any expertise in their capacity to do so, don't have the right tools to do so, and are not likely to have ever taken up the task at hand. When we elect someone to lead us in regulating what products come to market and they align themselves with companies that seek to provide food substances that have been found to adversely affect our health, we make ourselves victims of an inexpert service.

Consider the alternative. Imagine bringing your car to the mechanic to fix your transmission, calling the plumber when your toilet breaks, and seeking out an electrician to install your electricity. Let us take the people who are the greatest examples of health and put them in charge of the regulations that affect our own health. Let us take the most eco-friendly minds and put them in charge of managing the country's relationship to the environment. And let us take the most peaceful people and make them our leaders. Imagine if these leaders advocated for the production of whole foods instead of cancer-inducing products and placed focus on education and well-being instead of regulatory loopholes for companies.

The legislation passed by the government can be of use. It can help promote eco-friendliness, healthier food choices, and greater peace. But as stories like those about Senator Blunt's advocacy for the distribution of GMO foods continue to emerge in the media, we're reminded of how vulnerable we are to those who try to fix cars with plungers. When it's time to elect someone to make decisions for this country, consider their interests and consider their spirit.

Consider whether they have the tools that will help the people of this world reach their highest potential.