Monsanto, Kraft, and their agribusiness cohorts dumped millions of dollars into defeating Oregon’s Measure 92, an initiative that would require labeling of GMO products. When, on election day, the measure was trailing narrowly but still “too close to call” CNBC and other major news media were quick to pronounce it dead and bury it quickly, out of the public’s mind.
Not so fast. The majority of the uncounted returns were from Multonomah County, which heavily favored 92. When those returns were counted, 92’s margin of defeat was under 10,000. (over a million and a half cast) It then came to light that 13,000 ballots had been rejected for lack of signatures. According to state law, Yes on 92 could count those ballots if they were able to canvass door to door and verify the identity of the voters. AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE. Which they did. At the end of the counting deadline yesterday (Nov. 24) Measure 92 was behind by only 809 votes. This is triggering an automatic recount the first week in December.
In reality, Measure 92 may well still lose. It is rare that recounts, even in an election this close, change the outcome. But even if they lose, the ridiculously narrow margin of defeat proves that Measure 92, or its equivalent can come back and readily win in 2016. Several points worth drawing from this:
1) Every vote counts! All you cynical and lazy idiots who didn’t exercise your rights in this democracy go to the great effort of filling out your ballot and dropping it in the mailbox next time.
2) A lot more education is needed. Let me address a few of the misconceptions I’ve heard about GMO labeling–
a) Mixing up GMOs and hybrids. Look at it this way. A labradoodle is a hybrid. A poodle and a Labrador retriever are purposely bred to make labradoodles but left to their own devices, if put together in a room, they would mate anyway. They are both dogs. A labradoodle is a hybrid. A dog and a cat put together in a room would not mate, as they are different species. A pussydog would be a GMO. Similarly, a tangelo is a hybrid, a Flavr Savr tomato with a fish gene is a GMO. A hybrid manipulates the rules of nature. A GMO violates the rules of nature.
b) GMO’s haven’t been proven to do any harm. Well, neither had atomic explosions when residents of southern Nevada ran out to witness them, or DDT when children ran excitedly after the “fog trucks”. Why wait twenty years for the ill effects to become evident? As I stated in a) GMO’s violate the rules of nature. This isn’t historically a good thing. Plus, in that they change the genetic code, damage done by GMO’s cannot be reversed.
c) Why bother with a law? I only buy organic food. This is perhaps the most insidious argument. Folks, outside the Portland bubble not everyone has access to WHole Foods and New Seasons. Besides, one of the main reasons for GMOS is that they make crops resistant to pesticides. GMO crops are pesticide drenched crops. Why do you think Monsanto is in this game? To sell pesticides, and the crops that require them. To make the world’s agriculture their own profit center. Pesticide pollution and the patenting of life forms, affects EVERYONE. Studies show that eighty percent of consumers, even those regular Joes at Walmart, won’t buy GMO crops when so labeled. Again, why do you think these corporations are running so scared? Not because GMO labeling will raise prices for consumers, but because it will trash their corporate bottom line.
d) Even if after listening to al these arguments you still elect to buy wheat that’s been crossed with a fruit fly, Measure 92 won’t stop you, any more than fat labeling stops you from buying a bacon cheeseburger. It is a LABELING LAW. Consumer’s right to know. But Monsanto doesn’t want you to know. They don’t want you to know they may lose this election, either.