Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't Forget the Farmer!

There is nothing like going back in government history by watching old presidential campaign videos.  It's interesting to see what issues were important in the past, and sometimes which issues have yet to be tackled.  I was casually browsing The Living Room Candidate from the museum of the moving image, when one ad in particular gathered my attention.  The ad that caught my eye was "Don't Forget the Farmer" produced in the 1952 campaign by Governer Adlai Stevenson running against Eisenhower.  The light-hearted cartoon, and cheerful song of "Old Macdonald" does not quite give this issue the urgency it deserves. The particular ad I am speaking of comes in at 5:20:00 in the montage of ad's from the Stevenson Campaign.

 According to the message of this ad, farmland has been on the decline since 1931!  Not only that, but farming and food systems have not been a key issue in political campaigns since this time.  It is clear that even then this was not an issue that sparked American citizens to vote for Stevenson.  Eisenhower proceeded to win the election by a landslide, which may be a reason you don't remember hearing of President Stevenson.  How long will it take for food system issues to reach political campaign highlights?

Assuming that target issues highlighted in campaigns come from economic problems, perhaps theres a chance food could be a hot topic in the next generation.  According to The Economist's report of The World in 2013 festival in New York,
"As energy and food production becomes more complex and expensive... Western society will be forced into changing its diet to a more ecologically sustainable model... the high cost of cheap food will be one of the big drivers of change"  
Not only that, but perhaps the high rates of obesity will start to correlate with the high rates of debt in this country.  We can only hope that food issues simmer their way to the political stage, and then perhaps shape what we as Americans find important.  It is amazing the influence political campaigns can have on what citizens openly fight for.  Maybe if the topic of food systems comes to the campaign agenda, people will find a true voice and opinion about it.

NP 4/15

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