This past Saturday, I flew into DC to be part of the March Against Myths — the first counter-protest to the March Against Monsanto. Like any decent shill, I came in on my private jet, sipping champagne and snacking on corn tinged with the blood of Indian farmers. Apologies if that rhetoric seems extreme. I was just riffing off of the craziness on Twitter.
I don’t have a private jet, I’m not paid by Monsanto and, initially, I was kind of on the fence about showing up. I hate confrontation and I was worried I’d be one of five people there or something. Well, I needn’t have worried. There was almost certainly at least ten of us!
Our group, organized by Stephan Neidenbach of We Love GMOs and Vaccines, convened early with no one to confront but these weird cars and a dude in a hazmat costume. See you in a few hours, the plastic suit dude said, cheerfully, as he waved goodbye.
Is he going to brunch or what? I asked, like an idiot. Nope. It turns out that the DC March Against Monsanto starts at the White House and ends at MONSANTO HQ.
Except, if anyone cares, it’s not actually THE MONSANTO BUILDING. It’s just a giant office building where Monsanto apparently has some offices. But why get hung up on facts?
Once the MAM folks finally march their way over to where we’re at, they are fired up and ready to go like an ‘08 Obama supporter, except with slightly less hope and change and a whole lot more DEATH BY CORN.
The crowd had clearly been told that we were paid shills for Monsanto. People immediately started screaming at us like we’re the second coming of Hitler feasting on the blood of baby puppies.
You can read more about that warm welcome on Rhonda Stoltzfus’ Iowa Meets Maui blog.
I can’t even begin to describe how awestruck I was by Katherine Hall’s account of her experience that day. Katherine endured protesters screaming in her face because she wanted to take a stand in response to the misappropriation of autism by the anti-GMO movement.
Personally, I was the exact opposite of brave. IS THERE A COP?? I kept wondering. Aloud. Repeatedly. (Actually, there were several cops.)
In all of the photos of the “shills” on social media, I thought it was interesting that I didn’t see many of Anastasia Bodnar, who is a scientist and a mom. I realize she was mostly in the back, but I kind of suspect that the image of a mom carrying a baby didn’t fit so well with the shill narrative. Side note — Anastasia is one of the most cheerful science advocates I’ve ever met. My natural crankiness was making me feel very oh, go suck on a green smoothie but she seemed happy to keep answering questions.
This also happened —
Later on, away from the microphones, it seemed like there were a few people who started to slowly realize that we weren’t Monsanto-Bots but just a group of people who value evidence, knowledge and science.
I stayed quiet in the background, which is why it especially pains me to be accused of being a “paid actor” on Twitter. If you pay me to show up somewhere, I do try to give you more than sweatpants and my resting bitch face.
For more on MAMyths 2015, check out #MAMyths on Twitter. d