GMOs, Zealotry and Legislative Overreach

This is my first HFBF blog post, one that is overdue. I hope to be doing more of these.

What better occasion than the turning back of the GMO ban on Maui, the last of three? Like on Kauai and Hawaii Island, a federal judge invalidated the de-facto GMO crop ban on the grounds that growing these crops is already governed at state and federal levels. County attempts to regulate in this area are thereby preempted.

Never mind that the ballot initiative was flawed from the get-go. Never mind that the counties have no resources nor expertise to enforce these ordinances. Thankfully, our system of government with its three branches and built-in checks and balances protects us from zealots - or is at least designed to. The proponents of these measures never let the facts nor scientific evidence get in the way of their ideology. Lawmakers that supported these measures were wrong to pass flawed bills that overreached their authority- and that’s a shame.

When elected representatives follow, rather than lead it hurts the citizenry. I hope they realize that by supporting measures so extreme they essentially punted their legislative roles to the judiciary, eroding their own power and influence. Such a waste of time and resources, chasing paper tigers and strawmen. Imagine if this time and energy was applied to actual problems.

We saw what happens at the state house too, when two Big Island senators were relieved of their committee chairmanships by proposing and supporting measures so extreme that they were shown the door by their colleagues. They diminished their own influence, and thereby did a disservice to the citizens that employ them. Question: When is it OK for an Ag committee chair to oppose farmers? Answer: Never. And so it goes. Smart politicians understand the difference between campaigning and governing. Once elected they ought to remember they need to represent all of their constituents.

Well, this is a big win for farmers, not just in Hawaii, but across the globe. We’re sick of the uncertainty placed on our businesses by zealots. We’re tired of being demonized by demagogues armed with propaganda and driven by political and financial agendas that create nothing but hot air, wasted time and wasted opportunities.

Maybe now we can put distractions aside and focus more on what’s really important: raising and caring for the plants and animals that nourish a society.

Chris Manfredi