Next week the Democratic Party will have their convention in North Carolina. Just like the Republican convention in Florida this week, this is an opportunity for both parties to express their values to the American people and renew their promises to their respective parties and potential voters.
Both conventions come at a time of increasingly bitter partisanship across the country. Accusations, recriminations and political insults are already in full swing this campaign season.
The good news is that there’s one issue that both Democrats and Republicans are in near unanimous agreement about – labeling of genetically engineered foods! That’s right! A poll conducted earlier this year by the Mellman Group found that 91% of Americans favor labeling of food that contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms), including 93% of Democrats, 90% of Independents and 89% of Republicans.
In the lead up to the Democratic Convention, Food Democracy Now! and our allies are calling on the First Lady to encourage President Obama to renew his promise that he made on the campaign trail in 2007 to label genetically modified foods.
In the past four years, First Lady Michelle Obama has become a strong advocate for healthier food for kids and families. Millions of Americans have been inspired by the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign to encourage healthy food and healthy lifestyle for America’s children.
Here at Food Democracy Now!, we couldn’t agree more and we’re inviting First Lady Michelle Obama to join us in the stand for a healthy democracy by encouraging her husband to renew his campaign promise to label GMOs, which is why we’re launching Let’s Move on GMO Labeling! to encourage President Obama to do what no other issue has accomplished — unite the country!
While campaigning in Iowa, then Senator, now President Barack Obama, famously made a pledge to Iowa farmers to promote local foods, sustainable agriculture and the labeling of GMO foods if elected.
Half way into his speech, Obama said:
“Here’s what I’ll do as President: I’ll immediately implement Country of Origin Labeling because Americans should know where their food comes from. And we’ll let folks know whether their food has been genetically modified because Americans should know what they’re buying,” promised Obama.
Inspiring words! Now's the time: Let's Move on GMO Labeling!
Senator Obama’s promise was remarkable because it took place in Iowa, a state dominated by industrial, commodity style agriculture that produces the most corn and soybeans in the country, including 91% of corn and 94% of soybeans that have been genetically engineered.
Today, President Obama’s promise to label GMOs resonates with millions of Americans across the country who have awakened to the fact that for the past 20 years they’ve been denied the basic right to know what’s in their food as the result of a politically engineered loophole created in a backroom deal by a Monsanto attorney and bureaucrats in the first Bush administration.
In the past year alone, 20 states attempted to pass legislation to require labeling of GMO foods, unfortunately they were thwarted at every turn by the biotech industry’s lobbying power. And now, voters in California are gearing up to vote on a ballot proposition, Yes on 37, to label genetically engineered foods.
Prop 37 is universally popular, garnering widespread support from rank and file members of both parties, but last week the opposition, led by Monsanto, Dow Chemical and Big Food companies like Coke, Pepsi and Nestlé dumped more than $25 million to defeat voters Right to Know what’s in their food.
But just last month the California Democratic Party endorsed the labeling of genetically engineered foods, specifically Yes on 37, which would require companies to label GMOs foods in that state within 18 months of passing. Also this year, the Texas Republican Party endorsed labeling of genetically engineered foods in their party platform.
If there’s something that Democrats in California and Republicans in Texas can agree on, it’s the fact that foods that contain GMOs should be labeled! At the same time, this year Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Barbra Boxer (D-CA) put forward an amendment to clarify state’s rights to allow GMO labeling, which followed the introduction of a bill last year by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to ban genetically engineered salmon.
Holy political odd bedfellows Unite!
Now, more than ever, American voters need an issue and a leader that they can count on to bring them together.
Americans are waiting to be united! If not now, when?
Thanks for participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! team