Democracy Soup

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‘Vote Democratic in 2008, vote for safe fruits and vegetables’

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Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Tue, 06/10/2008 – 9:33am

Is the only way to keep spinach and tomatoes free from illness to elect Democrats?

I love it when I talk to someone who says, “Ah, it doesn’t matter who is in charge of the government. It’s all the same.”

I usually reply with something like, “Oh, but it does matter. It may not be obvious, but it does matter.”

The people of New Orleans found out during Katrina that it does matter who is in charge. And they watched how the people of Mississippi got better treatment. After all, Mississippi votes Republican and New Orleans votes Democratic. And splitting off people from New Orleans to other areas increases the chances of Republicans doing better in Louisiana.

But Republicans eat spinach that they prefer not have e-coli and Republicans eat tomatoes that they prefer not have salmonella. They may not eat as much spinach and as many tomatoes as Democrats do, but Republicans do eat vegetables.

McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Burger King are among the many chain restaurants that have pulled tomatoes from its locations. They are even pulling off U.S. tomatoes in Canadian restaurants.

What I found amazing about the spinach/e-coli crisis and the current tomato/salmonella saga is that people get upset and outraged, but don’t make the correlation between food that can hurt you (or in the case of a Texas man, may kill you) and who is responsible.

So how is government involved in the process? From the Houston Chronicle:

Typical of the problems, the FDA contends, is that the Department of Agriculture, which gets most of the food safety dollars, regulates only about 20 percent of the food supply, notably meat, poultry and eggs.

The FDA, which regulates 80 percent of the food supply, gets only about 24 percent of available funds.

We have a Food and Drug Administration. We have an U.S. Department of Agriculture. But are they doing their jobs well enough?

What is also prevalent, thanks to 12 years of Congressional Republican rule, is the lax attitude among factory farms and other businesses in the food chain. After all, the e-coli on the spinach came from runoff from factory farms.

The laissez-faire mentality on food purity and food safety is one of the troubling chapters of the 12 years of the Republican rule. It’s also issues such as calling foods organic when they aren’t, RGB hormones in milk that doesn’t have to be identified, and countless other areas of concern.

I think I have some libertarian views, but when it comes to food purity and safety, I’m as far left as they come. We have let the playing field get so tilted toward “business” that consumers are now risking their health to eat something that is good for them. Funny how e-coli or salmonella isn’t affecting high-fructose corn syrup.

Democrats have to spell this out, that competent government can be a good thing. The average non-political consumer needs to see the correlation between incompetent government and food safety. Sometimes it takes a visible sign such as a head of spinach or a handful of Roma tomatoes.

If you are a Democrat running in 2008, your slogan could easily be “Vote Democratic in 2008, vote for safe fruits and vegetables.”

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Written by democracysoup

June 10, 2008 at 9:33 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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