Reflections On The Situation
( Originally Published 1922 )
When you have finished marketing sit down in the quiet of your home and think about it.
Why was it necessary for me to take this round-about course in order to obtain cereals in their natural state?
Why was it impossible for me to buy a single pound of loo per cent whole wheat flour or entire corn meal?
Why must I buy a grinder or find some one who will improvise a milling machine and start a local center to supply 100 per cent flour to my neighbor-hood ?
Hundreds of pounds of bolted, denatured flour are being manufactured and sold every day. Why are not the millers compelled to make a 100 per cent flour? Why do not the grocers demand it?
And the answer to the last will stare you in the face. The grocers demand what the people demand. And the people do not know.
Didn't the grocer tell you there was no sale for brown rice?
"But it seems to me," your suggestive mind will say, "the grocers could help to educate the people. Only yesterday I saw placards and slips explaining the use of a salad oil and a demonstration of a new breakfast food."
"Oh, yes"—you will hear from your reasoning mind—"but those demonstrations were paid for by the manufacturers. That's advertising. The grocer is concerned with the bulk of his business. All advertised packages sell."
"Well, then" you will go on with your reasoning "how will the people ever know? They are constantly being miseducated through just such advertising. Why doesn't the government compel the manufacture of 100 per cent meals? The government does know."
And there your mind will come to a standstill.
And while your mind is racing like a motor, eager to go on, there will rise before its vision a vista of innumerable possibilities.
The word "Government" will call up very suddenly a consciousness of power. Your power—a power you had thought very little about until now.
Politics hadn't interested you particularly. You were satisfied to legislate your home.
But when politics invade your home rule that's different.
When, in order to obtain the foodstuffs which you have learned are absolutely essential to maintain the health of your family, you must go out and combat single-handed the effects of a National folly you know that the time for action has come.
Just where the road lies that leads to legislation you do not yet know but you will learn. That is your decision.
And as your mind goes on with its thinking you agree with Mr. McCann.
The schools. That is the first step. The children must be taught. They will carry the education to their homes. As the people learn, the demand for 100 per cent food will come.
But what are the roads—what are the gateways that lead to school curricula?
Superintendents of Schools, boards of education, city councils, state legislatures.
If the Superintendents of Schools can be brought face to face with the facts as revealed through Mr. McCann's fund of knowledge, if they can be made to feel the importance of these facts with fathers' hearts; theirs is the power to recommend the adoption of a nutrition course in the school curriculum.
The power to act on such recommendation lies with the boards and legislatures. If the voice of the superintendent is not heard, the voice of the women's vote will be.
"Isn't it appalling?" you will think. "These 10o per cent foodstuffs are beyond the reach of the plain people even if they should want them. How could the wife of a laborer with a large family and all her household cares go out and do what I have done today? It would be impossible. She is absolutely dependent on the corner grocer."
And the more you think, the more clearly will become fixed in your mind—yes, the school is the place for the education to begin. And when once they know the voice of the Mothers will be heard in the land.