Of Note

Things That Are Important to Me

From Debra Stark

With all the turmoil in the world, all the violence, all the hatred, I was thinking about life in general, and how to make the world a better place. I was thinking about things that are important to me, remembering former Massachusetts resident, Speaker of the United States House, Tip O’Neill, who said that all politics is local, that change starts on our street, in our communities.

Can each of us, by talking to our neighbors and co-workers, be a catalyst to affect change? Our voices are powerful, and I think we sometimes forget that. Instead of cynicism, let’s remember that we elect our legislators (I know you vote….), and for the most part, they do want to hear from us. They want to know what we think, how they can serve all of us.

I know this is an oversimplification. Do-gooding won’t stop violence, but if we don’t speak up, behave differently, then there truly is no hope. Here are things I want to work on. What’s on your list?

  1. Civility in human discourse. I want lots of face-to-face conversation about all manner of subjects from politics to gardening to food and why there are so many allergies today. I want us to discuss how to parent, and how to conduct a good life. In every case, I want our words to be thoughtful, and for us to treat one another with kindness, respect and a true enjoyment of our differences.
  2. I’d like more laughter. I want to laugh with you, not at you. I want to sing with you, to support the arts, theatre, and all manner of entertainment because they enrich our lives and our community. There’s no language barrier when listening to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony!
  3. Anyone who eats has the right to know what’s in their food. I believe labels should state whether our food contains genetically-modified ingredients, just as they state that a food contains sugar, salt or spice.

More than 75% of Massachusetts lawmakers support the GMO Labeling Bill H4156. However, it has to be moved to the floor and come up for a vote before July 31st. If that doesn’t happen, this right-to-know bill simply dies, and we have to start over next year.

The three legislators who have the power to bring this bill to the floor for a vote? Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), 617-722-2500; Rep. Brian Dempsey, Chairman of House Ways & Means (D-Haverhill), 617-722-2990; and House Majority Leader Ron Mariano (D-Quincy), 617-722-2300

I’ve called (yes, you get a message machine, but that’s okay because someone is tracking how many calls come in). Make your call today. You’ll feel like a good citizen, feel empowered.

  1. We the people. This country was founded for us, and by us. We the people, not corporations. I believe the Supreme Court decision for Citizens United, which gave corporations the same rights as human beings and allowed corporations to pour huge amounts of money into hijacking politics and overpowering human rights, is not only wrong, but has made us second class citizens.

Jeff Clements, local attorney, has founded an organization called “American Promise,” a grass-roots group to pass a 28th Amendment to return control of our elections and government to we the people. There are 28th Amendment initiatives on the ballots in many states. This November, hundreds of communities are passing resolutions. Want to get involved? http://www.americanpromise.net. Email is info@americanpromise.net.

  1. I can’t remember which study found that most Americans prefer dining at home, but lack cooking skills. I guess that’s one reason we started Eat Well Be Happy, our cooking show. It’s our mission to persuade you that cooking can be simple and fun. Together, let’s bring back the pleasures of the table. Let’s make food without fuss and enjoy it around a table with family and friends. It’s a great opportunity to nourish body and soul, to discuss the issues of the day together!
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