What is most worthy of protest?

I jut watched Lord of War with my husband. Yes, I rarely see movies in a timely manner – that’s what I get for being involved in probably too many things. Anyway, I don’t know much of anything about the arms trade besides that it exists and that I don’t like it. The movie itself was rather horrible – as in well done, but not on subject matter I really wanted to see. The important part was right at the end, a little jolt to reality: The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are also the world’s largest exporters of weapons: US, Russia, China, England, and France.
The governments of the US, Russia, China, and even England I expected to be involved in the weapons trade. France, well, I always assumed that France was a bunch of hippies. I know that’s stereotypical of me, but we can’t all be perfect. The reason why France’s dealings with arms bothers me is that I’ve never heard of a French protest at a tank factory. I’ve never heard of French citizens setting fire to missiles or having a sit in where workers are assembling war planes. Yet, in actions called activism by some and terrorism by others, protests against GMOs abound.
Side note: if you want to read some amusing government doublespeak, check out the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs describing their arms exportation policies: “the export of war materials is prohibited except as authorized”.
Today, someone twittered “in the mecca of big city liberalism i feel quite inadequate. to fix this i am going to hug the homeless, ride a bike and protest gmo foods”. Ignoring the implied contradiction between liberalism and the planned activities – I am struck by the idea that protesting GM foods is somehow equal to hugging the homeless, and that protesting will bring adequacy to this person’s life.
There are so many things in the world that are wrong. I understand that a lot of these problems seem hopeless, and that most people don’t have the ability or resources to solve them. So, is it possible that people are directing their frustration towards something that they can control (the food they buy)?
Choosing to protest GMOs has succeeded in ensuring that the only GM crops on the market are those produced by big ag, because small companies and public researchers can’t afford to cut through the red tape. In other words, it’s done nothing, since the core values of the anti genetic engineering movement are anti globalization and anti commercialization.
If I had to name one thing that people can change in their daily lives that would have the biggest positive impact on the world, it would be to stop eating animals raised in CAFOs. I won’t go into all of the reasons why CAFOs are a problem here. For a frightening case study see Rolling Stone’s Boss Hog and see Livestock’s Long Shadow for a broader picture.
Note: I’m not saying that there aren’t legitimate problems with GMOs that need to be dealt with and maybe even protested (especially patent law and unethical business practices), just that there might be some other issues that deserve a lot more attention.

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