This morning the main headline in the local newspaper is “Amendment on ballot: opposition drive begins SENATE VOTES TO PUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BAN BEFORE VOTERS.” A smaller headline, beginning at the fold says “Poverty hits record high, Number now 46.2 million.” So, at a time of huge problems in this country and this state, the legislature wants to address a subtle issue in a ham-fisted manner.
What’s subtle about gay marriage? I think explaining to voters who want the ban on same-sex marriage the facts that there already is a ban, that a ban may well be unconstitutional because it defines a group of citizens and singles them out for a lower status of treatment, and that regardless of one’s personal prejudices, a new set of Jim Crow laws is a bad idea, is just a task that is too tough for our legislators. I watched some of the speeches on Monday in the house and I don’t think that our legislators do “subtle” well. So, sorry gay North Carolinians, you are the whipping boy of convenience this week. You join a long line of groups that have had and some that continue to have this distinction.
This is in direct contradiction to yogic principles which would try to ensure security to all animals and plants, the guarantee of purchasing power to all people, and fundamental human rights, rights that include spiritual self-development. Having one set of rights for one group and another set for another group is not just. Explaining this is subtle.
The green smoothie diet uses fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are not included. Why? Over the past thirty years, GMOs have taken over much of the soybeans, corn, canola, sugar beets, and now alfalfa grown in this country and Canada and they are being pushed worldwide by the corporations that created and sell them. Some of them have traits that make them immune to herbicides. Some have genes that help them generate pesticides. They are not tested for human safety and the companies that have made them have blocked such testing saying that they are “substantially the same” as conventional foods. There is evidence that GMO foods contain new proteins that are not digestible, have less food value, have higher herbicide residues, and continue to generate pesticides in your gut.
The green smoothies avoid this by choosing real foods that have been available for some time and that our grandparents would recognize as food. This does mean rejecting any processed food. If it was fried, and put in a bag, then the cooking oil has a high probability of being GMO. If it is in a can, bottle, or other package, it has a high probability of having some GMO additive such as high fructose corn syrup or other derivative from a GMO plant. Processing this stuff turns the liver into a tired, fat, lazy organ that cannot keep up. Who needs this?
So what is to be done about it? Do we, as yoga practitioners, simply restrict our diet to green smoothies forever and stop thinking about this? What about our fellow human beings? Should we try to encourage them to also restrict their diet, or can we also help to change the food supply?
A number of good people are working to get GMO foods labelled. This is done in other countries and allows the consumer a choice of GMO or no. It is not done here due to the money and influence of powerful corporations that feel like we would not buy their frankenfoods if they were labelled. I find that this issue is subtle. If I were to tell most people that I have no fear of walking into the middle of a grocery store away from the produce and into the processed foods, but I feel no need to because I am convinced that eating what is in those cans, boxes, bottles, and bags means a slow lingering death, I would need a while to explain and justify why this might be true. This is subtle.
Fixing the food supply requires action by our legislature. We need their help. And remember, they don’t do subtle.
The answer? We need you. We need each of you to be subtle. We need you to meditate. We need you to understand rights issues and stick up for equal treatment under the law for everyone. We need you to eat food that nourishes you and push away GMO to the extent that you can. We need you to show your subtlety to all until our legislators reflect that. Whatever they are reflecting, that I saw on Monday, it has a streak of mean ugly right through the middle. There were also speeches that were beautiful, invoking Martin Luther King and civil rights. But the majority was mean ugly. Become subtle and we can overcome mean ugly.