A recent post on a Star Journal (stars meaning the planets and constellations, not the entertainment kind) stated that the 2010-2011 cycle of heavenly movements were similar in nature to those of 1917. For people who pay attention to more than "E" TV, 1917 was a great year of social revolution throughout the globe. One of the more tragic outcomes of this revolutionary mode was the onslaught of darkness that enveloped Eastern Europe. While the people correctly rose up to challenge the great inequalities of the day and sought to dismantle the monarchies at that time, much of what filled the vacuum we are still recovering. One of the most tragic consequences of this "un-recovering" is that many of the inequalities of the past in terms of monarchies and secret societies have been replaced with economic entities that are creating similar tensions that inspired past revolutions.
The United States of America is unique in that it's founding was actually quite well planned. The heroes of that day were scholars, professionals and farmers. They studied culture, history, their environment and tried to redress their injustice with civil discourse and reason. When they were repeatedly rebuffed, they took to civil disobedience, protest and ultimately violence. After the war, they filled in the power vacuum with a well thought, consensus driven, researched and astute document that we now call our constitution. For the first time in human history, a power structure of the elite was overthrown and replaced by a democratic one based on reason and equality of the common man, for the good of the community a commonwealth.
Democracy has always been quite tedious at best, and certainly a hindrance for those who wish to come about power in unscrupulous ways. The pervading ideal in America is that we are all equal and have an equal chance to be the best we can be. Freedom, Equality and Fraternity are the core values of The American Revolution and Republic. I equate the word "fraternity" to community. Creating a community of free and equal human beings is the constant experiment in America. We are actually the model for all other modern democracies on Earth, for the deepest stirring of the human heart regardless of geography, culture or race is to be free, equal, and living within a community. The only way to actually bring the values of freedom, equality and community is through deep respect and caring, and high moral principles. I would add two other qualities, empathy and compassion for the other as the way to deep Democracy.
Human nature such that it is can often be tempted to value only freedom of self at the expense of others. Freedom to consume regardless of the consequence to resources, other human beings, institutions and community, freedom to act, express and take, these are seen as freedom in many people. We witness this throughout history with tired repetitiveness. We are witnessing it now, but with a new tact of endless media and web coverage, (often funded by those who only value freedom but not equality or community,) but with the benefit of being able to access documented history as no generation has ever before. We need laws and policies mainly because we lack moral courage. We would not need laws and policies if our moral development had kept pace with our intellectual development as a civilization.
It is stunning to witness an entire propaganda machine that parades itself behind so called bastions of religious morality. We hear cries for a "moral values presidency" that will adhere to so called "Christian Values." As one moderator declared, "do you want a moral upright person or do you want a Christian as your President?" I think we can have both, but I would like to see the morality of such a Christian President to adhere to the Sermon on the Mount in his or her policy, to ask the question each and every day, "How will this affect the least of my brethren if I enact this policy?"
Our budget priorities reflect us as a people, they reflect our values. Under the guise of freedom, (I would add freedom from responsibility to anything other than continued campaign coffers) a super committee has been nominated to decide where to cut expenses in order to balance our federal budget. Of course, living within our means as a nation is vital to our security and health. But we were founded on principles of consensus that will create a union of free and equal beings within a community. It is always an amazing event to witness how quickly we can rally around war (mechanized slaughter of the other and maiming of our own) never a question or a blink of an eye as to how to fund such endeavours, but argue endlessly and cut mercilessly food from the mouths of our children, education for our youth, care for our elderly, and preservation of our air, land and water. Where is real security? Is it through the murder of people on foreign soil, or the feeding, education and health of future generations? Is is through stockpiling of weapons or ensuring we have continued harvests, and access to clean water for generations to come?
We are in this budget mess because our priorities are immoral, they do not reflect the core triune values of our nation. We raced into two wars without a shred of credible evidence, mainly to keep our petroleum access going for the benefit of the very very few in our nation. Remember weapons of mass destruction? We found out in less than a year that there were none, but still we wage on, 4 trillion dollars later, and the welfare mothers are apparently to blame for the budget deficit. We have to pay for that now, and those who have profited mightily pay no taxes, shelter their incomes off shore, either fire their workers or pay them substandard wages with no benefits, and pirate their pensions for the corporate bonuses of the few. The party that lied us into these wars, that did not put the price in our budget, now wants to take away all aspects of our culture that make life good: education, infrastructure, clean air and water because "we spend too much we need to live within our means." Pretty undemocratic if you ask me, and downright immoral. Kicker is, most of those who are profiting from budget priorities are probably Christian heterosexuals in heterosexual marriages, making sure that the rest of us (through their media domination and bought for politicians) are focused on gay Muslims trying to get married so they can collect welfare benefits .
What does all this have to do with food you may ask......... A lot actually. In addition to gutting environmental and educational programs, medicare and veteran benefits, Agriculture is on the chopping block for the super committee. This super committee that was formed at gunpoint by the Republican dominated House of Representatives, as basically an abdication of responsibility by the entire legislative branch of government. They either did not want the responsibility of completely devastating the welfare of the nation, or to stand up to protect it. The Republicans on the committee are committed to non- negotiation under any circumstances, (ie non American principles,) and the Democrats are insisting on a combination of cuts and tax revenues.
We in the Food Movement would like to suggest the following to the super committee: Lets keep programs in Agriculture that are focused on health of humans, land and animals. Lets gut what makes land, humans and animals sick. The amazing thing is that cutting what makes us sick is actually where all the waste is going in terms of Agricultural subsidies.
Our current Agriculture program was born out of many impulses. The dust bowl and depression, and subsequent social unrest that followed created an atmosphere where legislators rightfully wanted to prevent any sort of repeat of those catastrophes. Another impulse was to view nature and her crops as "Commodities" A majority of farm subsidies goes to the top five "commodity" crops, surprisingly the leading two are corn and soy. These two crops are used for live stock feed, fuel, and are ubiquitous in processed foods (mostly junk if you ask me) they are also the most genetically modified crops on our land, both of which have been rejected by foreign trading partners in both seeds and exports due to fears of "Genetic Contamination." 14 - 25 BILLION dollars goes annually to corn and soy commodities subsidies. Less that one percent of federal subsidies, that 1% folks, goes to fruits and vegetables.
What makes us sick as a people? We are the fattest people on earth. Junk food aka corn and soy make us sick. What makes us healthy? Fruits and vegetables make us healthy. Most money goes to foods that make us fat and sick, because they are cheap to the end consumer, but very very very expensive in terms of tax subsidies, destruction of land and waste pollution of water. Where are our priorities? If fruits and vegetables were less expensive to the end consumer, what would we all look like? I would wage a bit thinner.
A large portion of our federal agriculture subsidies go to permanent disaster relief. Crop failures due to drought and flood are considered in such relief. What is not discussed is that most of the crop disasters occur on "marginal land." We keep paving and developing our prime farm land in order to build houses and strip malls, and pushing our farms to land that actually should not be farmed. We should subsidize farms on good land.
The super committee also wants to cut land preservation, school lunches, conservation and sustainable ranching practices. Simply put these are the things that make our nation healthy. A blip in the national media was that the last of our chemical stockpile weapons were destroyed in Oregon last week, but sadly, jobs were lost keeping these agents of destruction in store. Again, where are the priorities? A community economy that is based on chemical weapons is a non-sustainable one, let alone immoral. Weapons kill people, chemical weapons maim and destroy for generations by polluting the land and water. What kind of moral people spend money on that? Why not put those people to work preserving the land, tending the harvests, feeding our nation?
These are great times of Revolution. The stars are in alignment and the people are in the streets demanding justice. We are different than our ancestors in 1917. We know history, we have technologies and education as they did not, and our youth are passionate, college trained, tech savvy and informed. We all want the community that our founding fathers drafted a few centuries ago, a community of free and equal human beings, based on respect, compassion and morality. Such a community, such a truly American Community needs a commonwealth approach to how we structure our civilization. Throughout history, the health of the land and agriculture meant a healthy nation state. Let the super committee know how you want Agriculture to be funded. Let your legislator know (The Republicans have slated about 10 days of work on the hill next year, so you should be able to talk with your Republican representative since he or she won't be in Congress much) how you want our national priorities to be shaped. True morality, true values, true Christian values are beliefs and practices that create healthy communities for all including the least of our brethren. Our priorities as a nation must be our land and our food. If you cant go to occupy something, then write a letter, make a phone call, write an editorial, Facebook, twitter, what ever you can. For more information go to www.slowfoodusa.org/recipe4change sign the pledge and pass it on. Our future, our security, the status of our very souls are at stake.