That time we flew 4,765 miles to be told “F- You”

Photo from

The March Against Monsanto happened this weekend. It’s been happening for a few years now, but this year was a little different. There were a few souls that chose to stand up to these bullies by staging a counter protest. MAMyths, or March Against Myths About Modification, is the brainchild of Karl Haro von Mogel, Kavin Senapathy, and David Sutherland.  They put out the call for everyone to stand up for science, and my family, along with others, answered.


Washington, D.C., the site of one of the protests on March 23rd, is a bit of a distance from Maui; four thousand seven hundred and sixty-five miles to be exact.  I’d love to tell you we flew to D.C. just for this event, but it was by pure luck that we found ourselves on vacation in the Nation’s Capital at the same time as these protests.  We took a full day out of our schedule to attend, however, and I’m left wondering if it was a good idea.  Here’s why:

1) While I’m sure my kids have heard the word “f**k” before, I’m quite certain it’s never been yelled in their faces.

2) It’s never fun to have ‘Caution Monsanto BioHazard’ tape wrapped around you and 10 of your new best friends by people shouting rude things with a bullhorn.

Bee and Hazmat suits – CHECK

Lesson #1:  In the end, I’m still glad we attended because it became very obvious on which side of this GMO caution tape we should be standing.  I’d much rather be on the side with 10 people of integrity than feel the safety of numbers with 200 individuals yelling obscenities.


Lesson #2:  If your side needs to wear a mask in order to say what you want to say, there is something very wrong.  History is full of examples of men hiding behind masks, and they’re usually cowardly little people without their coverings.  IMG_7965

Lesson #3:  Likewise, if you need to repeatedly drop the f-bomb to get your point across, you may have a message delivery problem.  The term “angry elf” comes to mind.  Here’s an example of one discussion I had today with a “brave” individual:

(If you’re offended by strong language, don’t watch)

Yes Mr. Masked Man, you have freedom of speech.  It’s Memorial Day weekend and there is a large cemetery exactly 2.7 miles away that holds the bodies of the men and women that died for your right to stand there and swear at me.  You apparently also have freedom from civility, but that only shows the character of you and your cause.

My children desperately wanted to attend this event, even after we warned them that it was likely to be rather unpleasant.  I know they didn’t enjoy being yelled at, or asked how much Monsanto payed them (really?!), or told they were going to die from eating GMOs.  Yet, afterwards, they said they were glad to have been there, despite the lovely couple in the video above, because it gave them a better sense of why our family is so involved in this issue.

There are close to a million children going blind or dying from Vitamin A deficiency every year.

Biotech has an answer for that.

There are people unable to grow high yielding crops in the arid parts of Africa.

Biotech has an answer for that.

Farmers were burning up fuel, time, and money applying considerable amounts of pesticides.

Biotech developed an answer for that.

Papayas were about to be wiped out in Hawaii.

Biotech found an answer for that.

Everything, from cheese to insulin to the cotton shirt on your back, has benefited from biotechnology, and our lives are much better for these advancements.  This weekend we saw a group of people hell bent on taking this tool away from farmers, doctors, and the general public.  Here’s hoping that next year, my kids get their wish – that a few more people stand beside us as we say:

Hey Hey!  Ho Ho!  Stop your myths on GMO!

-thanks to David Sutherland for the chants today.

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26 thoughts on “That time we flew 4,765 miles to be told “F- You”

  1. Awesome read! So sorry you had to deal with verbally abusive people. I helped organize the MAMyths in Portland, OR, and although the anti-GMO sentiment is strong here, people were surprisingly civil. I guess Portland has that reputation of friendliness. Thank you for taking a stand against these bullies!

  2. I’m glad you went, and glad for your kids, despite the unpleasant encounters. You know, I don’t remember everything my parents told me–but I do remember very clearly what my parents did to stand up for what was right in our community. I remember where they put their time and their efforts. And that continues to drive me today as well.

  3. This is the results of the quality of people that are seeking a cause…any cause to be on a stage. We saw this behavior on Kauai. People I had never seen in our community prior to that controversial bill was discussed. Don’t see them now at wholesome community events supporting charities, lending a hand at a habitat project right in their own area of the island…or doing a clean up of our beaches. People who couldn’t explain the science…and yet will join in on the crazy. You are truly amazing for standing up for the truth. Sorry it had to be so nasty…

  4. I agree with Stephanie. Thomas Friedman (New York Times columnist and author) concluded that those protesting at these anti events (Occupy, MAM, etc) are looking for their ‘1960s’ fix, a chance to protest against ‘The Man,’ and are a Noah’s ark of anti-corporate, anti-capitalism, anti-globalization and anti-free trade folks. Consideration and appreciation of what biotechnology can contribute to a better world is not in the cards for them. A bit unpleasant I’m sure, but you and the family are doing the right thing and can be proud.

  5. Your kids learned a valuable lesson….in civility, and in standing up for what you believe in, no matter how unpopular it may seem at the moment. This is a moment they will never forget and a teachable moment that they could never learn in a classroom. I am proud of them for going and staying. I am also proud of you as parents – for allowing your whole family to experience this event. It is something that will stay with you forever. My hope is that someday your family will look back on this and say, “Remember when people thought GMO’s were bad?” Thank you for standing up for what you believe in and being a voice for the many that were not there☺☺

  6. Many times it is small groups of courageous people standing up for what may not be popular, but that is right, that lead to permanent change. One should never be swayed by numbers and should never be discouraged by apparent short term defeats. If a cause is just, it will usually prevail in time. Hysterical propaganda and personal agendas will eventually give way to sound science. When causes can’t hold up to scrutiny people resort to intimidation, disrespect and bullying to enforce their will.

  7. They’re not wearing masks to hide their identity, it’s the symbol of the hacker collective “Anonymous” taken from the movie V for Vendetta.

  8. It’s just so telling of this movement when people think it that it is okay to act like this.

    I’m irked that the industry behind it never acknowledges this tactic. When people with very little knowledge are manipulated like this, the results are not pretty.

    Keep standing up for the facts! You know there are many supporters out there behind you!

  9. Just MARK it clearly ,which product contains GMO and which is NOT containing GMO and let the consumer decide.

    1. How can something contain a farming technique or breeding method? GMO is not an ingredient. It isn’t IN any food.

  10. Hats off to your family! Am in Japan where farm products are provided w respect …what a refreshing feeling… No labeling of non whatever but what you see on some labels are photos of the farmers.
    Even at the farm to table restaurant in Mitsukoshi propaganda material favoring a type of food or growing method was not seen.

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