Nearly all of us have been in a situation in which we have been severely betrayed and we learned that someone we love is not who we thought they were. Our belief in the reliability, truth or strength of a person is forever diminished. At best, a breach in trust can trigger our own personal growth, resilience, autonomy of spirit, and a more solid foundation for relationships moving ahead. But, depending on the violation, our own personal tendencies, and so many other factors, this lack of trust can forever shake the foundation of who we are. Sometimes the anger, sadness, and even apathy can consume people for the rest of their lives.
As you seek support you will be counseled that forgiveness is the key to moving forward, that keeping the anguish in your heart will only harm you.
But what if the betrayal keeps happening? What if the impact of repeated betrayals causes irreparable damage and on-going trauma to the person who has been injured? What if one cannot escape the betrayal because it is out of one’s control? Is the act of forgiveness truly an adequate response to a person who will harm others for the duration of his life? Forgiveness, it seems, is an overly simplistic response to harmful behaviors that ought be stopped.
I’m going to make a leap here, and suggest that this feeling of betrayal is happening all around us right now. Every institution, law, corporation, politician, every cornerstone that holds the foundation of this country is under scrutiny, and is the chosen perpetrator of some group’s betrayal, weaving a web of suspicion, outrage and rage so complex, its source is no longer identifiable. A lack of trust has consumed the national psyche, and we walk around holding post-trauma emotions and hyper-vigilance, our heart-racing, ready to pounce on anyone who reminds us of (?) the betrayer…. whomever or whatever that betrayer may be.
So, what does one do in a time when corporations are selling us out for larger profits overseas? When the banking regulators are in cahoots with the mortgage lenders? When the DNR gets defunded to protect big money-interests rather than environmental, our church institutions fail to protect children, and the FDA has lost control over the industries they manage? When it seems that we have been betrayed by every layer of civilized society, what does one do?
Well, I for one, suggest forgiveness.
Just kidding. I don’t suggest forgiveness.
Forgiveness simply isn’t enough when you are dealing with repeat offenses. At some point, we must decide that we are going to act in our own best interest to no longer be in a position to be subject to betrayal… in other words, we must change the power dynamic so that the untrustworthy do not have control.
Food has been at the center of this conversation about institutional trust and betrayal. We have been subject to an industry that wants control over the world’s genetic code, that over produces corn syrup, that raises animals in cruel and unnatural ways and suppresses good food science that could save lives. We have found shoe rubber chemicals in our bread and our kids have gotten sick because of the food they eat in school. Our money supports the workers of the global agricultural industry who are modern day slaves. It’s time to know exactly what we are eating, it’s time to stop being the victims of institutional betrayal and take back our food system.
Thinkers like Michael Pollan and Vandana Shiva have allowed us to see through the malignant behaviors of the food industry, and have triggered us to go back to the roots of food… quite literally. We, all of us, as agricultural beings, are becoming ever more determined to remove ourselves from a relationship with the industrial food system that moved beyond a few incidents of betrayal to an abusive relationship, leaving us sick and vulnerable.
We seem to be saying, “No More.” We have grabbed fiercely ahold of our internal locus of control, and said, “We aren’t going to interact with that untrustworthy, hornswaggling food system again, unless it is on our own terms.”
So here we are homesteading, making our own yogurt, going to farmer’s markets in droves, heading to restaurants that support our local food producers. We are purchasing foods with our conscience. We are growing our own food, in our own space and saying to those that can no longer be trusted, “We won’t take it any more.”
Join us, all of you, this month, today, in taking our power back into our own hands, where we can rely on the source. Come help the kids in Harambee know that their work is valuable to this community by purchasing the vegetables they helped grow. Decide to make change in your own community by registering for our year long Food Leader Certification Program. Join us at the FarmRaiser in September, or host a Five Mile Meal, in order to expand this rich network of people who are demanding change.
Action is the pathway towards healing ourselves.