Hannah Doody – Staff Writer –
A glaringly obvious lesson from the 2012 election is the grotesque excessiveness of campaign spending. One example of this is the failure of Prop 37 in California. On Election Day, citizens voted no to labeling genetically modified foods. Merely months before, the proposition had nearly two-thirds of voters’ support. What happened?
Genetically modified organisms are prohibited in over 50 other countries including Europe, China, Japan and Russia. There are many reasons including unknown health risks and the impacts on the environment. Prop 37 isn’t calling to regulate or limit GMOs, but just to label them. With more transparency, consumers can make a more educated choice. Who doesn’t want that? Corporations—in one way or another—make a profit off of GMOs.
Supporters of Prop 37 raised $8.7 million dollars. Big food corporations, such as Monsanto, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Nestle, who oppose the bill, raised $46 million. Guess who won? The margin might have been narrow, but California voted no to labels with a 47% to 53% vote. Monsanto’s donation alone almost matched the supporter’s amount with a donation of $8.2 million. With an opposing force spending over five times the amount of advertising and campaigning, Prop 37 had little chance.
The power that money enables has corrupted our government. Prop 37 is a clear example of corporations raising extreme amounts of money to lobby against the public opinion; often using scare tactics and false information. For the time being, the best way to work against money in politics is to be involved in your local community. The food movement continues to grow at grass root levels. It is only with civic engagement that the role of money can be diminished.