New Jersey Ag News
The Age of Intolerance is upon us (Editorial)
(Jan. 5, 2015) The word “tolerance” can be defined as “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”
Today, culturally, across the globe, we practice, perhaps catastrophically, intolerance.
Islamic radicalism versus Christianity
Black versus white.
Conservatism versus liberalism. And within that political framework, Democrat versus Republican.
Intolerance has also descended into the realm of food — what we eat and how it is produced. It is the nasty battle over GMOs.
A 35-year-old third grade special education teacher in Queen Anne’s County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore believes passionately that genetically modified crops are needed to produce the food necessary to meet the demands of a huge increase in the population of this earth in years to come.
He shared those views and that passion on social media — outside the classroom, it should be noted — and suddenly, last August, found himself the target of a blistering attack by anti-GMO crusaders.
They wanted to silence me, he said.
“Several people started to send tweets to my school account and e-mails to my administration. One such person even created a 20-page manifesto on me.”
One of his harassers uses a female name and appears to be a resident of California.
“She began to send tweets to the school superintendent trying to get me in trouble. The account has sent messages to my superintendent, principal, vice-principal, guidance counselor, teacher specialist, and two other teachers. She is threatening to ‘expose me to the QAC community.”’
However, the teacher said, “the school system has been nothing but supportive.”
The harassment of this man who admits that he “loves GMOs” takes other forms beyond the social media.
The teacher began receiving magazines in the mail, lots of magazines, of no particular stripe, just magazines.
Now he has subscription invoices for more than $300 and is trying to convince the magazine publishers that he did not order the publications in the first place.
The anti-GMO cabal in this country is not easily identified.
It exists largely in the shadows of the social media, emerging only for an occasional conference or to issue a statement in support of its dogma.
It ignores or dismisses science which broadly has given GMO crop production a clean bill of health.
The companions of intolerance are often misery, sometimes fear, and the painful realization that no good can come of it.
Still, tragically, it defines our culture with little if any indication of abatement, even as it bleeds down, disruptively, into the life of a teacher in a local school system.
How very sad.