Fake-Smiling Big Sugar

It isn’t Toni Preckwinkle laughing all the way to the bank, not on our behalf nor her own, through all this. argument over Illinois’s sugary drinks tax, a good-riddance to a bad thing that’s been hard won and a long time coming. Dollars to doughnuts (and isn’t that a stitch, coming from a cop?) the ones who stand to lose the most here are the producers and distributors of soda pop, and that’s the real reason Chicago’s being inundated with “Taxwinkle’s gonna getcha!” memes, wailing and gnashing of teeth over the supposed loss of choice, and oh, we’ll have to drive to the next county to get our goods, and while I’m there, I’ll show you, I’ll fill up on gas too!
The tax righteousness aside, why is it nobody’s breathed a word about corn syrup – the ingredient causing us most of the problems?
HFCS is much cheaper than actual sugar, so no wonder everybody and his brother uses it in drinks. Better for corn growers’/producers’ bottom line – the better to line their own and their shareholders’ pockets. Mother Jones magazine’s investigative reporting called them “Big Sugar.” Let’s run with that.
Big Sugar uses the same tactics Big Tobacco found tried and true (jaded and worn though they are, many people, those who’ve smoked and those who abstain, still get suckered by them); in many cases they use the same ad agencies and lawyers. The image we get – that they want us to hold in our memories, of corn – is akin to those benign wheat fields waving, maybe a tumbleweed or dust cloud rolling, farmers feeding the nation and the world, kindly people caretaking their animals and gently watering the fields They don’t breathe a word about corn syrup, because they know how hard it is on our bodies, making us fat, the cravings for chips and pop raising its ugly head over and over. According to them we should say to ourselves, Poor misunderstood corn, let ME take you in! Please note, I have nothing against farmers or anyone else rural, they’re the seed savers and plant propagators of the country. It’s the ad-men and their ilk and institutions I have a quarrel with.
 And how much corn IS there in Illinois, anyway? In the Midwest? Most of it is on fertile farmland which – as a vector for HFCP – is going to waste, meaning it’s also going to waist(s). Vis-a-vis yet another waste, did you know corn is packed in so tightly it alters the humidity even here in the Windy City, fairly far from the mega-AG-operations?
Corn syrup harbors many more ills, including the pesticide residues that get embedded in the plant tissues and don’t completely wash off (but what does, goes down our waterways). The growers don’t want our decisions to in any way impact subsidies they get from the government – and none of it makes our bad habit any cheaper.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s some research showing consumption of sugar and HFCS will cause memory problems:
The chumbalones are the ones who think this is all about them, who believe Big Sugar’s BullS…, that this is Big Government trying to choose for us, and boohoo, how far we’ll be forced to drive to get our fix.
Big Sugar (read: pushers) shouldn’t be the one pushing THEIR preferences on our politicians. What ever happened to the sense that we could rightly say “GodDAMN the pusherman!” — and why don’t we shout this at Big Sugar?

About majaramirez

former assistant instructor in tai chi chu'an; current TreeKeeper (#467); former Master Gardener; member of American Bird Conservancy, Audubon, Fraternal Order of Police, and Mensa; recently retired career cop; wife and mom.
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