In the food world, change from the ground up is all well and good. We desperately need cooks, gardeners, farmers and teachers. But we also need legislation. The recently passed and almost uniformly abysmal Farm Bill is a lesson in how legislation affects those of us working to change the chaotic so-called food “system.” Pittances were tossed at supporters of local and organic food, fortunes’ worth of agribusiness subsidies were maintained, and much-needed support for the country’s least well-off was slashed. That’s a Republican-led Congress at work, but when it comes to supporting Big Ag and Big Food, most of the Democratic representatives from states where farm income matters most are not much better: While the majority of Big Ag’s financial support for candidates goes to Republicans, Democrats are close behind. For big-time change on a national scale, we need representatives who put the needs of a sustainable food system and all that goes with it ahead of those of the chemical and processed food manufacturers who are currently running the show.
The Republican-appointed majority of the Supreme Court probably doesn’t consider these issues when making decisions that affect the election system, but there’s nothing about that majority that indicates that it believes elections should be decided on a one-person-one-vote basis. The first indication of this was Citizens United, in which the court ruled that when it comes to campaign contributions, corporations can act as people. More recently, we’ve seen the Shelby v. Holder case, which gutted the Voting Rights Act and is allowing Republican-dominated states to try to restrict the ability of African-Americans, Latinos, students and the poor — most of whom vote Democratic — to access and vote at the polls.
Then there’s the McCutcheon decision of three weeks ago, another setback for campaign reform at a time when we need it most. In case you missed it:Shaun McCutcheon is a wealthy Alabamian who made his money in coal and spends some of it in support of political candidates. He felt it unfair that he could spend only $123,000 per two-year election cycle and, with the Republican National Committee, sued the Federal Election Commission to change that, claiming it was a violation of his First Amendment (free speech) rights.
Full Article: Why Care About McCutcheon? – NYTimes.com.