I was a teenager then. My English was getting better and I was learning to become American. My relationship with my parents deteriorated since they have remained very much Chinese. To them, there is no question who should be the boss. But to me and my adolescence, who’s the boss was manifested through my emotional outbursts, my choice to move out of the house (which was against the cultural norm in Chinese families at the time), my refusal to enter medical school, and my eventual enlistment in the Army without notice to my parents.
I have since learned that the spirit of rebellion is a natural human instinct – one that gave us the marvels of social and scientific progress. Confucius may have been right that strict social structure and compulsive education was essential to creating a successful kingdom, but a system of absolute social obedience against our human nature to rebel gave China its war-torn history and a deep and instinctive distrust for the government.
Recently I’ve noticed the spirit of rebellion in America is emerging into the mainstream culture.Thankfully we do not have the tradition of squashing the dissenters. As Americans, we can enjoy civil disobedience for the sake of social progress.
For many decades we gave and trusted our daily necessities to the federal government and corporations for management. Our commerce became nationalized, our statehood less prominent. We watched our private lives gradually regulated by the establishment of FCC, FDA, FHA, FAA, F-[insert your fundamental rights here], and we said nothing. But in the recent years, especially when election times came around, I hear sentiments of anti-regulation and anti-big government. I see a revival of state empowerment, an expansion of our awareness of the Tenth Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of rebellion in a society. The American people are entitled, by our Constitution, to question authority and govern ourselves in our private lives. We are not alone: the French students had their day in the spotlight recently showing their willingness to voice their opinions. Tunisia and Egypt owns the brag-right currently.But there is a mighty hidden movement, a sort of social rebellion if you will, that is much more profound and momentous, happening here in the US and elsewhere in the world: we are rebelling against the FOOD INDUSTRY – the new world emperor clothed in corn and soy, jeweled by CAFOs and knighted by the WTO.
When Jose Bove, a French antiglobalization activist (and Roquefort farmer), wanted to make his stand against globalization, he drove his tractor through the plate glass not of a bank or insurance company, but a McDonald’s.The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan
. . . the most powerful protests against globalization to date have all revolved around food. . . the movement against genetically modified crops, the campaign against patented seeds in India. . . [and] the Italian-born international movement that seeks to defend traditional food cultures against the global tide of homogenization.
I submit to you, Exhibit C: 2011 Will Be Year of the Local According to Nation's Chefs
The Soviet Union collapsed because its centralized food system could not satisfy their people’s need. If history is to repeat itself, and most frequently it does, we see a warning to the food industry:
if our current centralized food industry and federal and state government agencies, wholly depended on just a few crop species, CAFOs, and fossil fuels, do not change their operations and policies to build a more sustainable, health, and local food model to improve quality and address our health problems,
we, the people, will have to exercise the power vest in us by the Constitution and collapse this industrial food dependency ourselves.