Wenonah Hauter

Hold Politicians Accountable

I’ve been doing social change work for more than 40 years, and I know that organizing people to hold our elected officials accountable is the only thing that actually makes change. Ninety-five percent of politicians don’t take action on an issue because they are “our friend” or even because it’s the right thing to do.

At my organization, Food & Water Watch, we are committed to building the political power necessary to pressure decision makers to act on behalf of people and the environment — on the issues that are key to life. We don’t think it’s okay for leaders in either political party to take marching orders from corporations, so we hold them accountable just like we would any politician that gets way too cozy with industry.

Elections in our nation are held hostage in a system of legalized bribery, enabling corporations to become more powerful and more influential in US politics than ever before. And both political parties are to blame for this. Because both the Democrats and Republicans depend on large sums of corporate money to stay in office. Even well meaning politicians often cow to selfish interests during election year politics. In the end, it’s going to take everyone fighting to get money out of politics.

On the federal level, a lot of what’s going wrong today with our food and water lies at the feet of President Obama’s administration, which has been giving a green light to fracking and exporting gas. President Obama also broke his campaign promise to help farmers fight large meat industry interests, and has done nothing to help curb food industry power when it comes to critical issues like labeling genetically engineered foods. Now, the White House is negotiating two secret trade deals — one with Europe and another one with 12 Pacific rim countries. These deals aren’t really about commerce; they are about trading away our nation’s independence and helping big corporations boost their profits.

It’s time to hold all of our elected representative responsible in both parties—no exceptions.

Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch (foodandwaterwatch.org) and author of Foodopoly: The Future of Food and Farming in America (Foodopoly.org). Distributed via OtherWords.org.

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2014


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