How are genetically modified Salmon related to anti-incumbent fever? And how do they both relate to the topic at hand – marketing, media and childhood? Two items in the news today got me thinking.
The Washington Post reports that the first genetically modified animal – Atlantic salmon – has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for people to eat. The decision, apparently based on much closed-door discussion and confidential industry research, could have far-reaching long term effects on the American food supply.
In the meantime, The Wall Street Journal published a story about its Labor Day poll finding that voters that blame Democrats for economic gloom are fired up to vote, but those who are more or less happy with the Democrats are less passionate and so may not vote.
Here’s the connection: Apathy. Lack of interest in the policy-making process.
Every few years it seems, voter passions flair and incumbents face a rising chorus of “Throw the bums out.” And the turnover yields a new collection of representatives essentially the same as the last, some engaged and interested in serving the public good, some mostly self-interested, some highly ethically challenged, and little resulting difference in a lobbyist-driven policy-making environment.
So what would make a difference? Public involvement in government.
In Europe, the public refused to accept genetically-modified food. The people were engaged, and public policy followed. In the United States, a fairly radical change to our food supply is taking place with little public input or debate.
The People’s responsibility in a Democracy doesn’t end at the polling place exit door.
What do you care about? Marketers exploiting your kids? Salty, sugary, fatty school lunches? The safety of GMO food? Financial industry shenanigans destabilizing our economy? Speak out.
By the way, these two articles came to my attention via Citizen Cartwright, who seeks to raise public engagement in government. You can find out there how to comment on proposed government regulations.