Gracias, por frijoles, la olla, agua, ajo, y sal. Gracias, por mi madre, mis abuelas, las memorias de cocinas, mesas, platos, las manos.
Preparing a pot of beans never fails to surface good, good memories. I feel in company with my mother, and her mother. I am in my Tia Ventura's yard, thirty years ago, and she's cleaning beans. She holds a small bowl, flicks it deftly, the beans fly up. She blows away loose bits, debris, and the beans spill back into the bowl. She repeats this. It's a beautiful rhythm, and the arc of the beans, holding in the air, is alluring. They come down, like a pattering rainfall on a tin roof.
Thank you, for beans, the pot, water, garlic, and salt. Thank you for my mother, my grandmothers, memories of kitchens, tables, plates, and hands.
Recently, I was realizing that I have always believed in a most basic assertion... that seeds belong to the Earth and to the people who save them, plant them, share them, and plant them again. We depend on continuity... of our collective knowledge, the seasons, regeneration... one seed, begets the next. I am thankful for this tradition, but I fear this basic truth, this essential balance, is in jeopardy. As a nation, the United States, has prided itself on the independence of the individual, on our manifest assertion that we govern ourselves, choose our destinies, hold the right to pursue our happiness, but we have slowly, catastrophically, relinquished control over these assertions.
It confounds me that we are risking the seed, our food, our choices, the most basic components and symbols of our independence, our strengths, our health, our collective knowledge and traditions, and handing over all control and power to private corporations. Throughout history humans have struggled with power, who has it, who wields it. We have gained great strides in understanding that in a healthy, vibrant, just society no single entity, or body of people, can have supreme control or power over the same resources that are needed by all people for life, for health, for trust.
We do not accept totalitarian government. We do not accept subjugation for all, under one religion. We do not settle for one political party, or even one channel television programming. We demand the right to know, in countless arenas, and yet tomorrow, in California, we are being asked to vote, to choose between, labeling GMOs, genetically modified organisms in our food, or allowing food companies, pesticide, fertilizer, and chemical corporations to make the choices for us, and to leave us ignorant of their choices.
Why? Why are we having to make the case for labeling? What blundering nonsense has brought us to the point when we have to seek permission to hold private corporations accountable, and ask them to 'please let me know what you have done to my food, where did it come from, how have you altered it?' And why are these corporations fighting, spending, protesting our interest in being informed consumers?
Monsanto, you are not my religion. You are not my elected government. You are not my grandmother, my guardian, you are not my God, and I relinquish you from power over our traditions, our health, our future, our harvest, our choices, our beans!
I am voting Yes for California Proposition 37: "A YES vote on this measure means: Genetically engineered foods sold in California would have to be specifically labeled as being genetically engineered."
"Proposition 37 gives us the right to know what is in the food we eat and feed to our families. It simply requires labeling of food produced using genetic engineering, so we can choose whether to buy those products or not. We have a right to know."