Dear Mr. President – How could you sign the Monsanto Protection Act?

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Dear President Obama,

With LOVE and a sense of disbelief I ask, “How much pressure must have been put on you, Mr. President, to sign the Monsanto Protection Act? Did they make threats? What could possibly be worse than protecting the food supply of the American people, and eventually the world?”

I ask with LOVE, “has being the “leader of the free world” warped your perception about what was right to do in this situation? Or did the alternative to signing this bill pose some challenge we may never know of as a public, because Monsanto is mean… a bully.  Just ask any farmer on whose land their seeds have naturally migrated through wind or birds.

I ask these questions, Mr. President, because I canvassed for you, voted for you, celebrated with you, have even cried with you, and today, I am disappointed in you. People are starving and don’t even know it as GMOs are now given a free pass, and the medical industry continues to profit from our folly with food.

I know Washington has been unimaginably difficult, and I can’t even begin to imagine putting myself in your shoes, dealing with daily congressional opposition, but this is a NO PASS, Mr. President… a NO PASS, and you signed it.  Four letters, V-E-T-O, are what put the responsibility on your desk for this one.  You could have used your power of VETO to protect our food from big business.

My heart feels sad in this moment to imagine what you might have been struggling with to actually sign a bill that I can’t image you would ethically support, and I have to wonder how Michelle is dealing with this since she is such an advocate for health and the growing of own’s own food.

We all make mistakes, Mr. President, and THIS is a BIG ONE. But you can still make this right. Somehow. Please BE the man I know you are, and stay strong for what is truly best for the people who elected you.

Do I sound like a naive, Pollyanna? Good! Optimism is more powerful than darkness, and I do still believe you can make better choices, just as I believe this for myself and all people. I believe, in part, because you had me hold a big, giant banner reading HOPE with your image shining as a symbol of goodness.

I believe, because I saw you up close in that March 21st, 2008 press conference in Portland, Oregon, the day Bill Richardson announced his endorsement of you as a presidential candidate.  After concluding answering questions and walking away from the podium, you were stopped in your tracks by a passionate question from the press core, about supporting the Dali Lama in Tibet.  That question came from my lips, my heart pounding as I asked it, and you came back to answer me, ten feet or so from the podium, you walked back to the microphone, and I felt individually heard by you, President Obama.  I could feel your concern for Darfur, Tibet, and other nations challenged by tyranny as you answered, and something in my heart opened to support you in a way I had yet to support any candidate, ever, for anything.

Forgiveness is Freedom, Mr. President, and if this really is the land of the free, we must all find ways to forgive, even as we March for what is fair and just in the world, so I forgive you, for this grave mistake President Barack.  And I will also be marching on May 25th, standing for the good of humanity.

With Love and a Belief in the Greater Good,

Leela

PS  Readers can learn more about the Monsanto Protection Act, which was signed into law March 26, 2013, “ignoring the scientific evidence GMOs have on human health,”  and the upcoming march on May 25th.

One thing I invite all of those concerned and/or marching to consider is this:  Instead of marching “against” Monsanto, place your focus on what you are marching “for” for greater impact.  “Against” has little power compared to the power of “for.”  I’ll be marching for a pure food supply, the freedom of farmers, and the health of all people everywhere.  For what are you marching?

Love to Everybody, yes even the folks at Monsanto –

Leela

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8 thoughts on “Dear Mr. President – How could you sign the Monsanto Protection Act?

  1. Yes, this is appalling – but not for the reasons we think. The Facebook and general community of public opinion has been duped into an unbalanced attack on Obama. First let me say, yes this provision it totally insane and needs to be reversed and we need to speak up and demand as much!

    Now let’s understand how we got here: Indeed the alternative (to signing the bill) was unpleasant. The actual bill that Obama signed was not a “Monsanto Protection Bill” as it has been mis-represented in the public sphere…rather, it was a bill that initiated the federal spending cuts, required by the sequester (a whole other topic of concern). So the alternative to signing this bill would have been a massive government shut down. As for the “Monsanto protection clause” – this provision was slipped into the spending cut bill at the last moment – by a republican senator (this would be the more appalling part). The provision never even went to the floor for debate or through committee – just tacked on at the end! So, indeed, the President did not have “a choice”

    So what we have is a growing public perception and Facebook blasting of the President “being in bed with big bad Monsanto” and doing “terrible evil things” – When in fact he’s taking the fall for yet another rather despicable display of public service by a member of the GOP.

    Which brings me to the much more troubling and concerning issue in our midst: The GOP has no desire to see Obama succeed on any level – even if it means flip flopping on their own issues so that they can be “against him” when he embraces “their ideas.” Now, I’m not calling the GOP “evil” – but the complete disregard for public service in favor of opposing the President at every turn and resorting to sneaky last minute deals like this one – where they know that he’ll take the heat for – is truly appalling.

    A morale failure of personal integrity combined with a overgrown consciousness of “us vs them” has seized our democracy like a dis-ease and is choking it to death. Gratefully I rest in the knowing that Principle is stronger than personality. The Principles of Democracy will outlast the flawed personalities that attempt to manipulate it for their own “good.” Let us continue to raise our voices and consciousness to a higher standard – and speak up for a world that works for everyone!

    1. Thank you, David. I’m in agreement. I know the President has been facing an uphill battle since he was elected.

      I may be mistaken, but it is my understanding, that the President is now empowered to enforce a line item veto.

      If so, it would protect us from this kind of sneaky, “piggy-back provision.”

      I know he’s been derailed at every turn by congress, but there has to be a way to bring sanity back to our government.

  2. I’m totally with you on this one, Leela. Even though that line-item veto bill never made it out of the Senate, and even though the GOP in Congress is, without question, intent on subverting Obama’s presidency, once the President signs a bill the responsibility lies with him, because – to paraphrase President Truman – that’s where the buck stops.

    Obama has blamed the continuing horrors at Guantanamo on Congress, just as he blames this atrocity of a bill on Congress. I’m sorry. That’s bullshit. He is The President. If he honestly has ethical issues about enacting a provision given him by Congress he needs to use his bully pulpit to call the American people’s attention to what is being done in their name. He needs to implore US to contact our representatives and explain that with his veto some less than ideal consequences may arise, but if WE demand action from Congress, they WILL work in our better interests. He hasn’t done this (except on gun control).

    David, while I’m sympathetic to the view that our President is simply hog-tied by a petty and vindictive congress (and surely they are that!), I’m afraid that that approach doesn’t give the President credit for the myriad ways he has to enlist public action and support, much less to use the Executive Branch’s enforcement powers to better serve the public interest! Because, the fact is, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Monsanto has been violating anti-trust provisions with respect to independent farmers, just as there is OVERWHELMING evidence of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction in the banking industry. Obama could instruct the Justice Department to investigate these industries and bring charges where charges are due. He has failed to utilize this aspect of his authority. His administration’s refusal to exercise their enforcement powers is these and many other situations where the interests of the public are being trampled by private, corporate interests tells us all we need to know about where the power truly rests.

    To my mind, the utter lack of advocacy for greater public good coming from this White House (with the lone exception of gun control), not to mention the expansion of unilateral drone strikes on civilian populations and the continuation of Gitmo, is an indication that it is, more than anyone else, Barack Obama who is suffering “a moral failure of personal integrity”.

    And, this is a failure of integrity even if he is being threatened behind closed doors – perhaps, especially if he is literally under threat! His oath is to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States, and by not holding Big Business accountable to the rule of law, and by continuing to act outside the rule of law globally, he is – quite literally – subverting the Constitution. There’s no “us vs. them” to these choices. They rest firmly at the feet of the President.

    1. Thank you for the comment,Brian. I am not a political expert, and have much to learn about how things really work in D.C., as evidenced by my misunderstanding about the line item veto. I just know that what has been happening lately with the drones, Gitmo, and now Monsanto, just feels plain icky. This isn’t new for our Government and in Truth it still feels less icky than with our last president, but I felt it important to address the sense of disillusionment I was feeling this morning, because I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling.

      Because I do love Barack Obama so much; love the promise of the man I elected, I’ve only been choosing to see him in the purest light. And I still do, really. I still believe he can find a way to stand up for what is just for the American people. That’s part of why I’m choosing to march. He told us that WE the people would be the ones to effect change, and he was correct. Maybe that’s part of what his presidency is teaching us. I am more awake and engaged today than yesterday. There is a gift in this for all of us.

  3. Yes. and…

    To me, the promise that he held and, more importantly, the rhetoric he chose and the values he expressed in his time leading up to election cause me to judge him far more harshly the I do Bush II. Either Obama was lying about those values to begin with, or he doesn’t have the moral courage to adhere to them. I believe Bush believed torture et al was the proper course, and he made no bones about it. Obama claims he doesn’t agree with such tactics, but does very little to reverse course and, in fact, expands many of the horrific practices started under Bush II.

    I fully agree that We The People need to take action and lead our politicians to correct action. Surely that is true! Sadly, this belief doesn’t cause me to remain optimistic about our current president. It doesn’t absolve him of the responsibility to promote the general welfare and establish justice and insure domestic tranquility. When he has called on the people to act, it seems to me that it has always and only been after the fact as damage control — a way to pass the buck (he blames both us and congress for his inability to do what he promised). But, let’s face it: the Bush administration did whatever the fuck it wanted and got away with all of it. The modern presidency is simply not a weak office. The Bush doctrine of the Unitary Executive has become the model, and certainly in foreign affairs Obama continues in this vein. In terms of domestic policy, Obama has repeatedly given away the store (always to Corporate interest’s gain) in the name of bi-partisanship before any work has even begun (the guarantees to Big Pharma during the lead up to the healthcare debate being the most obvious, but not only, example).

    In fact, having been following the Guantanamo hunger strike very closely, and seeing testimony before Congress by a Yemeni student effected by our drone strikes; having watched as NOTHING was done about rampant fraud and criminal activity in the banking industry; watching him appoint ONLY industry insiders to, literally, every cabinet post… It’s clear to me that Obama is actively undermining The Rule of Law at nearly every turn. There is a strong case to be made – from the Center, no less! – that Obama is every bit as deserving of impeachment as was Bush.

    I am terribly grateful for his excellent record on Gay Rights and his impassioned rhetoric in the wake of Sandy Hook. And, neither of those are small matters. But, if those are the only two areas where he lives up to that original promise, what sort of presidency will history remember? Unless something drastic changes in the next 18 months or so, I think history will remember him barely more favorably than it will Bush II. Clearly, the man is guilty of war crimes just as his predecessor is. War crimes. Think about that. I’m sorry, I cannot act as a compartmental apologist for the man I expected him to be in office.

    If The People truly do rise up to reclaim our Nation, it won’t be because Obama was some sort of great teacher leading us to a higher and better way of civic engagement. It will be in spite of him. It will be because he demonstrated that Washington is more broken than he imagined as a candidate, and when push came to shove he didn’t have the courage to do anything about it.

  4. Thank you so much for the conversation. I’m wrapping it all in Love, Brian. First, I’m not here to “judge” anyone. I’ve spent so much life in judgment of myself and others, I really am practicing release of judgment, which is not the same as discernment, which is very important.

    When I think of the many ways throughout out my Life when I have been out of integrity with my highest values, whether it be eating a sugary, wheat-filled dessert when I knew it would leave me in a gluten-intolerent-carb-coma, or avoiding really digging into my finances out of fear, I am acutely aware that we all have the potential to “fall from Grace.” The bigger the ideals, the harder the fall.

    My letter was not to scathe or berate the President, but to share my own heart’s disappointment in this thing called humanity. People, all people, are fallible. There is no hate, malice, or judgement of Barack Obama from me. I can never know what his life is really like, and would not want to do his job. I still send him Love and hold the highest Truth for him, AND… yesterday I was hurting.

    I grew up a little yesterday. I really got the concept that no one outside of myself is going to “rescue” the world. All I can really do is concentrate on my own sphere of humanity and on being a beneficial presence within that sphere. As the circle grows, my responsibility grows.

    Second, I see the issues you mentioned about Guantanamo Bay, the banking industry, and special appointments. These are deep disappointments too, and demonstrations of a greater need for claiming personal responsibility for America. Up till today, so many of us have been living in auto-pilot, just letting the machine run itself outside of the obligatory voting we do to feel like good citizens. WE THE PEOPLE created the Washington we have in place today. We allowed it to become an inclusive club in which most of us would not be welcome or valued, and I think we did it because it was easier than EACH ONE of us really rolling up our sleeves and asking, “What is mine to do today?”

    We have entered the age of personal responsibility. It has only just begun, but it has already started unfolding. President Obama did try to tell us that WE would need to change in order for him to accomplish what his ideals guided him to do as President. He asked us to CHANGE, and I ask, “How many of us have actually made changes that make a real, positive difference in the past 5 years?” Some have done so, yes! I honor myself and others for the personal development work I’ve seen demonstrated among us… AND… how many in the GREATER COLLECTIVE OF AMERICA have really stepped up to the plate of our own lives? How many of us are actually FINISHED with the game of playing small in the world?

    I love you, Brian. I love Barack Obama. I love the wounded little boys and girls in “grown-up suits” who pass for the leaders of our country, because somewhere beneath the asinine behavior is a child of God, worthy of Love. I love the prisoners of Gitmo and pray for BIG GHANGE in their experience. God Loves all equally. My heart is so open to Love in this moment that I can not find a single person I don’t Love. GWB, yep I Love him too. I can discern that I may not like, and can even be discussed a behavior, but Love, I do. The man who hurt me repeatedly as a little girl and did so much damage to my self esteem, the man I hated for decades and blamed for my “lot in life” yes, he gets my Love in this moment too, because, who am I to NOT Love us all? Myself included. It has taken many years to Love, Love, Love myself, which in this moment I do with a full heart.

    I say this to cool the fire unrest I created yesterday with my words, and still I’m glad I posted them. We need to talk about these things to shine a light in the dark places for healing. I think President Obama could use a prayer today, and that I can do. Change is happening.

    What is mine to do today? Love.

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