As I promised last Tuesday, Emile and I returned to the United Church for the final movie in the “Think About It” movie series today. The movie was called “The World According to Monsanto”. It’s a documentary about Monsanto, one of – if not the largest – Agro/Biotech companies in the world. It had allegations of FDA/government/Monsanto collusion, scientist smear campaigns, worldwide food/farmer control and destruction of our natural specimens. If only half of the things in the movie were true, then it is horrifying.
The movie was presented by two gentlemen who care deeply about many issues the world. One was moderate, and I listened while he spoke. The other was a rabid protester who was practically foaming at the mouth just introducing the movie. “The most EVIL company on earth.” foam, foam. “Agent Orange!” drooling, foam. Emile and I were avoiding eye contact so we wouldn’t giggle. And what is funny about poisoning our world? Nothing. But it’s the messenger in this case. Get ahold of yourself, man!
See, there are a bunch of us in the middle – we care, we modify our behaviors when educated about the impact, but we just don’t care *that* much. So, when faced with an activist or protestor that seems to only see the Black and White of an issue, it turns us off. I start to think that this person doesn’t truly understand the complexities of the issues, hasn’t researched the problem and I really shouldn’t take anything they are saying as anything more than ranting. The hallmarks of such a protestor is someone who presents opinion as facts, whose conversations connect not through facts but instead unrelated “evil acts” by corporations/governments and who cannot see small marginal changes as improvements. So moderate types like me have difficulty relating to such a person and therefore we toss the message out with the messenger. That only harms the cause. You’re losing me – and I am the majority! The people in the middle who care, but just not as much as you do.
The “discussion” at the end of the movie was more of the same. Are all genetically modified foods harmful? I don’t know. Are there any pesticides that can be used in moderation without damaging our ecosystem? I don’t know. Is Monsanto the most evil corporate on earth? Well, heaven doesn’t seem the goal. But we didn’t discuss that. Instead, all the participants seemed to think it was more helpful to bring up all sorts of scandals, conspiracies, cover ups, corruptions, etc that have ever happened (or alleged to have happened, or even probably didn’t happen) that were unrelated to the movie or the issue. Then an activist stood up to invite us all to a “peace picnic” on Sunday evening in the park. She then used it as an opportunity to brag about all the protests she has been involved in. “That was me!” echoed through the church. Get me out of here.
I occasionally wonder what is wrong with me – why don’t I care enough? I do try. I buy organic when I can afford to, I avoid GMOs in soybeans, I drive a small fuel efficient car, I buy natural and organic health and cleaning products. I am doing okay. But I am not suddenly going to move into a yurt and shun all corporations, screaming “Kill the corporate pigs!” while banging on a hand-made drum. Let’s be real here.
So, you want my heart? When speaking to me, bring a coherent unbiased presentation of the facts, speak about one issue at a time, tell me your ultimate goal in this protest and then tell me what I could do in my every day life to make a difference. I will listen, I will think about it, I might support you and I may even make the suggested changes in my life.
Because right now? I am thinking you are all a bunch of wackos – and that you should be avoided – along with your message.
May 15th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Giggling in the sanctuary with my husband about the lack of grey in some people’s worlds.
Maintenance May Day 15:
Left my quarter in my shopping cart for the next person. (soul)
Attending the movie as noted above to learn more about BioTech and GMOs. (knowledge)