Ranting about GMOs at a Bernie Sanders rally


MANCHESTER, N.H. — Gary is allergic to wheat and that is why he voted for Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9.

Gary, who declined to give his last name, is a 58-year-old Hooksett, New Hampshire native. The electronics shop owner started having digestive issues six years ago, even though he led a healthy lifestyle and had been a vegan for 39 years. After doing his research, he came to the conclusion that genetically modified wheat was causing him allergic reactions and digestive trouble.

That is why the political fight to label genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, is his only concern when supporting a candidate this election cycle.

Sanders’ fight for GMO labeling in his home state of Vermont convinced Gary that the self-proclaimed democratic socialist was his guy.

“Bernie is the only honest politician out there,” Gary said, as he tied his silver mane into a ponytail, giddily readying himself for a rant about his favorite subject.

“I’ve been following Sanders for years, ever since he has been fighting for GMO labeling. He is right next door in Vermont. You can’t not hear about him.”

Despite being from the Granite State, which enters the national political spotlight every four years when it plays host to the nation’s first presidential primary, Gary never considered himself politically active. He did recall voting once or twice for “that Nader guy,” but that is about it.

The Vermont senator’s primary rally on Feb. 8 at the Palace Theatre in Manchester was the first political event Gary had ever attended. He was one of the first attendees to arrive and snagged a pair of front row seats along with his friend Annette, who sported homemade Bernie earrings.

Sanders’ call for a political revolution transformed him from the Democratic underdog months ago into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s legitimate political contender. His victory in New Hampshire added some legitimacy to the longshot campaign, though Clinton is still highly favored entering the blitz of Super Tuesday voting contests this week.

Sanders’ constant rant against inequality, which advocates for a $15 minimum wage, a single-payer health care system, the regulation of Wall Street and free tuition at public four-year colleges doesn’t appeal to Gary as much as the fight for GMO labeling does. Gary wants a GMO labeling revolution.

No other issues matter. Either you’re against Wall Street and the 1 percent or you’re not.

Either you’re fighting for GMO labeling or you’re not. Either you have Gary’s vote or you don’t.

Hillary Clinton sure as hell doesn’t have Gary’s vote.

“Hillary is owned by Monsanto and all GMO companies. She doesn’t give a shit about anything. She is their puppet,” Gary said.

“I’ve been following that woman for years. She is more crooked than a West Virginia mountain road!”

The Hooksett resident is a one issue voter voting for what many consider a one issue presidential candidate. His largest concern after GMOs? The vigorous accountability he demands from his politicians.

Even though Gary didn’t vote in the last two presidential elections, he believed President Barack Obama would take the fight to the GMO corporations. Then Obama betrayed Gary’s trust.

“He promised GMO labeling and has done nothing!” Gary said. "He is not what he said he was going to be. I thought I could trust him.”

The foundations of Gary’s conviction that GMOs have deteriorated his health, however, are dubious at best.

His allergy to genetically modified wheat has never been diagnosed by a doctor, but by YouTube videos and WebMD articles. His expertise and passion for the issue were born from Netflix documentaries and online blogs.

Although there is no scientific consensus on the extent of health risks GMOs pose, Gary is adamant that autism, ADHD and cancer were all derived from genetically modified food products.

“I’m telling you, it was GMOs. It was GMOs!” Gary said, just as Sanders took the stage to deliver his stump speech on his conviction that a radical political change in America is in sight.

“We need GMO labeling! It is poison!”

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