Take A Stand and Be Counted

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The Issues

When the little town of LeRoy, New York was put in the spotlight, Americans were inundated with news stories hashing and rehashing the few known facts about the case of the 15 stricken children. There was a loud cry of shock, disbelief, and certainly outrage against those deemed irresponsible for their actions or inaction. The failure of officials to keep a steady stream of information flowing continues to make people suspicious about the nature of the information. Why were there no reports made public? Why were results of testing (claimed to be carried out) not posted where the public could examine them and satisfy their need to know?

Americans have been exposed to toxic substances for decades. There are over 40,000 Superfund sites in the United States. Some have met their targeted goal for remediation, while others have not been started at all. Most Americans aren't aware of the severity of the threat made by 40,000 toxic sites. Unless they are one of the population immediately affected by a specific site, the average American is clueless about detailed health implications brought on by exposure to toxins in the environment.

And I'm not just talking about chemical waste burial sites. There are toxins in soil, air, and water, put there by manufacturers who cared little for the human lives to be affected, instead choosing to optimize corporate profits by cutting corners. While there have been advances in holding these slugs responsible for their actions, the going has been slow and arduous. Why is that?

The answer is not a simple one. We know the tired old story about the 1% who are raping the other 99% in an effort to keep building indecent profits, but it's not just them. Politics are usually one of the culprits for the damming of information flow. Many of our political leaders have personal financial stakes in the corporations doing the polluting, it's true, but there's the issue of economic stability. When local officials are faced with the task of protecting their constituents, they are not just responsible for health safety. Sometimes there is the question of economics. What will happen if information leads to a major employer in the area being forced to shell out money they can't afford? Will the entity shut down? Will they cut jobs? Will they simply move out of the area altogether?

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A Voice That Can Be Heard

These are just some of the issues officials may be faced with in dealing with environmental topics. I'm not advocating that the American public should be accepting of decisions that choose profits over health. I'm merely pointing out that the judgment of those making decisions is affected by other factors. What has the largest and most forceful impact on situations such as these, is the response of the residents. By speaking up, by demanding information and action, the American public can control the direction of any issue. It's really a matter of numbers. The more pressure placed by people exercising their rights, the louder the voice. The louder we make our voice, the more noise we generate. Everyone knows, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

But how do we get our one tiny voice heard? Most Americans feel as though there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs done in order to merely survive. We don't have time for calling our officials, knowing that we will most likely be put on hold for a lengthy wait just to speak to them. Most of us don't have time for picketing and letter writing. We count on those who do such things for a living. We expect the “activists” to handle the problem. They are the ones who write the articles, who mob the officials on the steps of the capitol buildings. They are the ones making television appearances. We cross our fingers that they will be able to make a difference, though we're pretty sure they don't stand a chance in the face of so much corporate money.

Here's a funny thing: for all the time Americans claim they don't have for exercising their political right to speak, we spend hours and hours engaged in participation of social media apps. We belong to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Digg, etc. We read what others have posted and we take the time to comment. We even pass on some of what we read on one friend's page by posting it on our own, or sending it off to our friends and followers. Usually what we're passing on is more of a personal social message designed to tell our friends what we did over the weekend or who we bumped into at grocery store. So, about that lack of time.....

This is a call to all who believe in their right to speak out, to all who want to have their tiny voice heard, to all who want to have their demands for justice met. Social media is a wonderful weapon against injustice. When people come together for a cause, great things can happen. It's now easier than ever before in history, to be heard by joining with others. And we don't even have to leave our homes to do it.

More and more people are getting their news from internet sources. We read articles from mass media news sites, from blogs, from websites of professionals and government agencies, from web magazines, etc. Most of these sites have buttons to facilitate easy posting to social media sites. When you read an article you find important, interesting, or informative, make a point of clicking the “like”, “tweet”, or “+1”. It takes but a split second to do so. By clicking these buttons, you are adding your voice to the issue in question. That one action of clicking can get your voice out to thousands more.

Take a stand, then stand up and be counted! (Now, go click that Like button!)

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Comments 16 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Gosh I've not heard of what you are referring to in New York. I, of course, do NOT watch television or read mass media newspapers at all.

Of course I'll share this link around - but (if you don't mind me asking) - could you provide some more links or video in the body or the comments?


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

okay silly guy, I'll see if I can put more links in the hub http://terrimeredith.hubpages.com/hub/The-Mysterio... Seriously, this was meant to target so many people who say they are for or against something, then proceed to read about it, but don't bother to pass it on. I'm hoping we'll see more activity of sharing across all hub topics. Incidentally, I don't watch mass television or read newspapers either. I wouldn't have known about the LeRoy, NY incident if someone hadn't told me a little about it. Thanks for your input, buddy! :D


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Terri...I am following this closely. I live about 2 hrs. from LeRoy. In fact, a couple of friends and I are planning to drive out there within the next 2 weeks to do some serious up close and personal investigating. With a bit of luck and some connections, our real goal is to meet one or a few of the kids effected by this. I have a deep interest in this. "Mysterious," doesn't begin to cover it! EXCELLENT HUB!


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thank you! One would think that after all these years of excuses given, of denials, and of just plain ignoring the seriousness of their actions, our government officials and the corporate entities responsible for the present unhealthy environment would finally understand that we, the people, are not quite as stupid as they would like to believe. It never ceases to amaze me that they just keep on trying to cover-up and convince us that we don't understand the scientific facts. There are times I think I could just go postal over the deceptions and fabrications. You'll have to let me know if you are able to hook up with any of the kids. And please make sure you pass on the info via social media whenever you find an article that reflects your concern or enlightens you regarding a social/political/health issue. We authors really need to be taking care of each other and helping to get the word out to everyone we can.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Eh, we've got to do a hell of a lot more screaming to force corporations to do anything about their sins.

Much better to prevent them from doing whatever they do in the first place....but here's some history of some corporate poisoning that isn't pretty to say the least.

http://www.chemicalindustryarchives.org/dirtysecre...


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Well, you know Wes, when there only a few thousand screaming at the top of their lungs, it still can come across as a pretty weak sounding blip on the radar. But if a million people are simply talking with a little force and heat, it will sound like a roar. That's the power of numbers. We can't have the numbers if we fail to go after the attention. Thanks for the link. Be looking at it right about now!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I started screaming in about 2006 on Myspace. People were positive that I was a lunatic. I didn't even know about Monsanto and the food issues then - but through the few that I did connect with, I learned.

In the time that has passed....OHMYGOD! Things have changed, and nowadays folks are really waking up to a lot of this stuff - so it'a all very encouraging to me.

Let's just do more of it!


mom101 profile image

mom101 4 years ago

I, like Wes, scream out about things, and get slapped in the face.

People look at you like, ooooh, maybe if I'm nice to her she will just go away. The majority of people have been re-programmed to not think for themselves.

There are issues every which way we turn, that range from mild to life threatening.

The time has looooong passed that we need to be heard. We have seen too many times our vote does not count, it is time, we be heard. It is time, and it will cost us a little extra money, we stop patronizing the very people who are attacking us. That is just plain ole simple how it is.

Thanks for the hub, maybe it will get folks to open their eyes to the truth of what is happening.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

If you have read any of my hubs, it's pretty clear where I stand on some of these very life-threatening issues. However, I'm a firm believer in spreading the news and information as far as I can. I become a bit agitated by people who spout off about the ills of this world, but don't even pass information on to others. I believe we can make a great deal of difference just by informing people, giving them hard facts with sources to back up those facts. We, activists, need to take care of each other. And we need to be urging our readers to pass our work on in an effort to enlighten the uninformed. Thanks for commenting and doing your part to make this a better world for our children to inherit!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

WES..TERRI & MOM 101....I love it when anyone sort of looks cockeyed at me or seems confused and taken aback.....It is especially interesting to be considered an "upstart", "instigator," "rebel," "oddball,""loner"....."weirdo," "trouble maker!!" I know sure as hell, while these labels may not have been shouted out at us, written down in black & white.....they have surely been whispered and/or suggested, while everyone ponders "what the HELL to do with people like us!!" lol I ALSO know I needn't assure any of you that THESE ARE COMPLIMENTS AND HONORS BESTOWED UPON US, UNBEKNOWNST TO THE SHEEP WHO LABEL us and others like us. I take it all, quite well. I don't mind being one of the sane.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

fpherj48: Thank you for such wonderful accolades! I have to admit, I don't often get those kind of responses here on Hubpages. Wes once described me as being more calm and patient with people than he is capable of being. I got a full belly-laugh out of that one. My true personality and my writing persona are completely opposite. I can get pretty fired up in a verbal debate, but somehow I'm able to use tact and diplomacy when dealing in the written word. Thank God for small favors!


Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 4 years ago from Atlanta Ga

You said,and did it well. Many blessings.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Terri this a great follow up to Mysterious Illness. Boy have i seen things on FB that are of the utmost importance but nary a comment or like. But on the other hand I suspect a lot more people pay attention, just don't want it known. Terri, did you hear about Stoneyfield Organics caving in under massive pressure from Big M to take their GMO alfalfa seeds, all still organic under the USDA FDA. Whats the hub name about supporting others?


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thank you very much, Apostle Jack!

Alastar: Yes, I'd heard about Stoneyfield but I haven't made a decision about whether I believe they caved or whether I believe they tried to salvage whatever they could from a choice that clearly was no choice. I'm not sure why Ronnie Cummins was so fired up about what he "imagines" really took place in a meeting he didn't attend. I kind of think the USDA kept Cummings out to deliberately set the stage for stirring up suspicion. The organic industry has been putting up a good fight. The fastest and easiest way for Monsanto to win once and for all, is to divide and conquer. Without being in attendance, Cummings really has no way of knowing exactly what was said, how the "non-choice" was presented, etc. I fear he is playing into Monsanto's and the USDA's hands by allowing a divide between his organization and Stoneyfield. Remember, Stoneyfield and the OCA are probably the two mightiest components of the opposition Monsanto must contend with. Together they're a formidable force...seperate...not so much.

This is the very hub I was referring to. It's written for the reader, but the reference specifically toward authors is contained in the text of one of my responses to a comment from another hubber. I figured we also read each other's hubs so there was no need to single authors out in the body of the piece.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

The most erudite and well written communicator I've seen in many a moon on this subject and more you are Terri. My admiration for you continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Thanks for filling me in on the Stoneyfield situation. Who is OCA and what do they promote or make? Assume the O stands for organic. Now, off to click the like and read some more comments.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

OCA = Organic Consumers Association. I should correct myself...Stoneyfield, Organic Valley, and Whole Foods were all accused of selling out (they were all present at the meeting). So divide the 3 largest producers from the advocates of the consumers and Monsanto has a more manageable situation.

Thanks for your glowing enthusiasm! you just click away! I'm off to do more of the same.

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