Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Veggies, please. Also, money and politics.

Today, I bring you two veggie-full meals, and also a rant.

First was an oven meal. I marinated some tofu in a combination of lemon and lime, turmeric, and lots of cumin. Then I baked it, and halfway through I added some broccoli. In another pan, radishes and green beans roasted away with garlic, salt and oil. And, still another pan had pumpkin roasting with fresh rosemary and black pepper. Roasted radishes are the bomb-diggity.

And this was a stove-top meal. Plain mashed potatoes topped with fresh parsley. Sautéed spinach with onion, grated carrot, sesame and soy. And a mixture of steamed veggies—carrot, zucchini, green beans and capsicum—toasted sunflower seeds, and raw sprouts—alfalfa, mung bean and snow pea—tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.

On the ABC last night there was a big story about political bribes and developers and MPs. They said that the 2007 Australian election was the most expensive ever. One person interviewed said that was because of things like TV ads which cost lots of money—so they source the money from developers and other interested parties. And I can only imagine how much money Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have spent on slagging each other in the US.

The concept of money in politics is something that has always pissed me off. It removes any semblance of democracy from government. First of all, if campaigning costs lots of money (and it does, even at the local level) then only a select few people can run. That cuts off the political voice of a fair few people.

Then you add in ‘private contributions’, also known by some as bribes. Politicians cannot exist without these donations which fund their muy expensive campaigns. Thus, those who can afford to give money to politicians have more of a say in how the government is run than those who can’t.

It’s simple, but I think it’s wrong. I’ve been aware since high school that what America calls democracy is actually very far from democratic. Things like the electoral college just strike me as silly. But political donations is wrong on so many levels; unfortunately, those with the most to gain from said donations are the ones making the laws. And it's not a new issue, nor is it particularly controversial, so a lot of people would rather not think about it. But I think we should!

So what do we do about it? Well, ultimately I would like to see State governments as we know them to disappear. But I don’t really think that’s likely to happen very soon. Until then, how 'bout publicly funded elections? Sure, the initial costs might be a bit expensive, but we could always take that funding away from some useless pursuit, like military expenditure. That way, anyone could run for office, regardless of whether they are rich or poor. That would probably see a more representative body of elected officials, since most people can't even dream of the sort of money John McCain, Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama or Kevin Rudd make. It would also reduce the influence of small but well-funded special interest groups like the NRA. Hopefully, another effect would be that money we give to causes we support (AR, environment, etc) would go to practical solutions and mass education rather than being wasted on lobbying politicians.

Those are just my two cents--two cents which will never be donated to a political party, but will more likely be spent on tofu or cat food or second-hand clothing.


VeggieGirl said...

I LOVE your vegetable-filled dishes (no surprise, haha) - I've never had radishes, but your roasted radishes are calling out to me... I must try them!!

Romina said...

I've never had roasted radishes, they look so good though. This is something I need to attempt!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

I totally agree, Theresa!! I'm so sick of BIG $$$$ politics and special interest groups getting all they want. I even think the FDA is on the take and drug companies get their junk approved before adequate testing is done. A war that is stealing our strong youth is about oil and lining the pockets of Bush people who get the contracts. (Haliburton & others) Talking about and exposing this crap is just about our only recourse, so please keep ranting!! Did I mention how delicious your food looks?!! I've never had roasted radishes!! Gotta try, I've seen them at your place before....


Bianca said...

Those steamed veggies look amazing! And I've got to give radishes another try. I've never been a big fan of them...but then again, I haven't had them in a while.

the little one said...

Your rants, oh how I love them ;)

Leng said...

Dang blogger is givin' me plms. Sorry if this same post shows up 3 times.

ah your veggie dishes look wonderful!

on politics:
I think that we've known for some time now that you have to be rich to run for office or have any say in what happens in the U.S. It's sad that everyone's just come to accept it. The money for the MASSIVE political campaign funding could easily go to something else...aren't we having a budge crisis. And Mr. Swarz isn't helping the situation either by cutting school funding. I may sound a little pessimistic, but what were people thinking when they voted Bush Jr. and Mr. Swarz back into office!?

At least your two cents is going to something that is making a greater difference--non meat items