I’m Afraid I’ll Lose My Healthcare
I work as an after school teacher and a personal care assistant in the city of Burlington. I love my jobs — I spend my time caring for people and making their lives easier. Unfortunately, this care work is not paid well and I do not receive benefits. If I didn’t have Medicaid, I would not have health insurance. I’m young and healthy — I eat vegetables, don’t smoke, and get lots of exercise. When I started getting heart palpitations a few months ago, I was terrified. Luckily it turned out to be nothing, but it was a chilling reminder that I won’t be young forever, and my good health and therefore my ability to work and support myself could vanish in an instant.
Healthcare isn’t just a moral imperative, but an economic one. If one of my heart palpitations had turned out to be a symptom of something more serious, and I had racked up medical bills or been out of work, I would not have been able to pay rent. I would have become destitute, which aside from being a state no human should have to experience, would have cost the State of Vermont money. No one wins when people get too sick to work. Universal healthcare is economically, morally, and logically superior to the patchwork system we have now. Everyone should get the same access to quality healthcare regardless of income or pre-existing conditions. This is why I am a member of the Healthcare is a Human Right campaign. We are not strong as a nation until we are caring for every American.
Thank you for the opportunity to let my voice be heard. I appreciate the work you do in spreading the stories of real Americans.
Madeiros Plows Ahead but Misses The Mark
I realize that everyone wants to put a positive spin on any issue, but I found the Madeiros/GMO article to be, however innocent, a serious misrepresentation of the GMO debate and its consequences. However much Vermont wants to promote the “Pure Food/Vermont Seal of Quality” image, the fact is Vermont food politics has always been money-centered.
Madeiros states that Vermont was “the first state to pass the historic ‘GMO Food Labeling law’ [that] forever changed the way Americans eat. Even though the law was nullified, Vermont still plows ahead continuing to use the best agricultural practices with a strong emphasis on non-GMO.” Because of my own grassroots activism to BAN (not label) GMO foods, I can say that the above comment does not match contemporary reality.
The GMO labeling law changed nothing. The determination of Vermont local organic farmers to literally “plow ahead” was an old impulse that resurfaced in the 1960s/1970s in an effort to go against the grain of destructive agribusiness practices. Oddly, the efficiency of local agriculture and the incredible waste of subsidized export agribiz is now rarely discussed despite our claim to be concerned about global warming. GMOs have become a great focal point of negative opinion, but GMOs did not create the energy-wasteful agribiz model. Conventional agriculture, which we still subsidize and upon which Vermont relies heavily, deserves that honor.
As for Vermont’s leadership role, it was a complete scam. Despite years of secrecy, by 1999 the negative publicity forced the GMOs boosters to come out of the laboratory. From 2000 onward our Vermont technocrats promoted the positive potential of GMOs while purposefully avoiding any negative science-based criticisms.
When July 4th of 2016 rolled around, normally silent politicians jumped on the band wagon of GMO independance. I believe these cowardly politicians came out of their janitorial closet only long enough to sweep the issue under the rug. They had to have known within a few days the Vermont law would be nullified.
Labeled or not, there is nothing to protect organics from contamination. It is impossible to have a “strong emphasis on non-GMO” when contamination could affect anything (of a similar species), while at the same time the high-priced food community does not want to bring attention to this fact. If the public realized how bad regulation is, and how likely crop contamination may be, and how disingenuous the food profiteers have been, the “Vermont Pure” image would mean little.
GMO contamination is merely a new dishonesty with an old history. Vermont’s economic dependency on pricey food image and the willingness to deceive the public is the real issue. This is the opposite of what “the best agricultural practices” of early food politics was about.
Gerard Renfro, Montpelier
Do Farm Animals Merit Our Compassion and Respect?
We are a nation of special observances. There is even a World Day for Farm Animals, observed on October 2nd (Gandhi’s birthday). Apparently it’s intended to memorialize the tens of billions of animals abused and killed for food. Like most others, I always thought of farm animals as “food on the hoof.” But when a friend sent me an amazing, endearing Facebook video (www.facebook.com/LeoJuniorBulldogFrench/videos/1198548160234565/), it dawned on me that farm animals are much like our family dog, fully deserving of our compassion and respect.
My internet search showed that they get neither. Male baby chicks are routinely suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground up alive. Laying hens are crowded into small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding sows are kept pregnant in tiny metal crates. Dairy cows have their babies snatched away immediately upon birth, so we can drink their milk. It was enough to drive someone to drink. Instead, it drove me to replace the animal products in my diet with a rich variety of plant-based meats and dairy items offered by my grocery store. I have since learned that a cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.
Moses Belinie, Montpelier
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