The initiative, to require labeling of genetically modified foods, is similar to ones already defeated in neighboring California and Washington. All three started with polls indicating some 80% of the voters approve of labeling, but support dwindled under a crush of TV ads financed by the likes of Coca-Cola. The ads are following a well-worn, successful script. And it's aimed right at liberals.
If it was aimed at conservatives, many of whom might not care one way or the other about GMOs, there'd be a lot about "government overreach." There might be a suggestion that GMO labeling is a threat, somehow, to job creation, or personal liberty. And that it would be horribly expensive.
|Home Grown Arugula|
Point number two, for the liberals: this measure is "poorly worded." Liberals will respond to that. Some of us devote hours every week to correcting other people's apostrophe use. Let's see, says the liberal: I like this measure, but could it be worded differently? Might there be unforeseen consequences from the way it's worded now? Things that only a very thoughtful person might anticipate? I'm a thoughtful person...maybe it's the right idea, but the wrong measure. The liberal's pencil hovers over the "no" column.
Hmm. The ads seem sincere and reasonable. They don't shout TOO EXTREME FOR OREGON, which would be a red flag. A soupcon of doubt has been introduced. Liberals even know what soupcon means in French.
Point number three: the straw man, dressed up in professorial tweed. "This will introduce needless anxiety about GMOs that is not based on science." Liberals love science! If it is true that studies show GMOs don't endanger health (ignoring, for the moment, the catastrophic rise in diabetes, asthma, allergies, heart disease, and the like that neatly coincides with the advent of GMO food, and trusting that Monsanto's scientists have it right), then it is unreasonable to ask those big corporations to label their food.
But. There are legions of us liberals who have no problem polluting our own bodies on a daily basis with pizza and beer, but still care about things beyond our own skin. Maybe we are concerned that organic farmers cannot protect their crops from windblown GMO seed. Maybe we are concerned that the ubiquitous Round-Up Ready GMO crops have resulted in soaring pesticide use that pollutes the watersheds and destroys the soil and harms the biosphere, including our pollinators. Maybe we feel helpless to dismantle an agro-industrial complex that is capable of producing a shitload of Cheetos--which we will totally eat--but is not in any way sustainable. And maybe we realize we can only get movement on the big issues, like GMOs and climate change, issues that have proved intractable on a national level, by using a local lever.
But some of us liberals are actually conservative. Some of us would prefer to run a thorough credit check on Pandora before letting her open her box. Pandora's a slut.