Now there’s physical evidence that may suggest why so many people changed their vote in 2010 from a vote they made in 2008 that had denied the financial status quo a continuation.
A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — . The peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology published the findings in its May 15 edition.
According to Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science, “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.” SOURCE
This intrigued me when I recalled the queries posed in a popular book by Thomas Frank, “What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America”. In the book, Frank, a native Kansan, asked provocative questions like “Why do so many of us vote against our economic interests? Where’s the outrage at corporate cronyism? And what’s effected the diminished value of the middle-American progressivism that was so powerful in earlier times?”
The movement that has become the Tea Party seems to fit this new Kansan paradigm. Rather than recalling their roots that opposed crony capitalism and promoted a healthy middle class, many who now support the Tea Party have transferred their anger toward those who still retain those views and values. They have somehow turned their loyalty over to those very people who manipulated the system to foster self-serving ends that hurt middle class Americans.
Somehow the corporate Tea Party message convinced a lot of them that the concentrated wealth in the hands of a small number of people is better than a system that once allowed jobs with a living wage and benefits to effect better productivity. They seem to have fell victim to the premise within the Libertarian philosophy that would convince you that compassion and playing by the rules really have no place in a system that rewards only those whose advantages of inherited wealth allow them to keep more of the pie that we all collectively helped create.
The fairness once practiced that our labors will aptly reward us, is a hollow statement these days by virtue of the fact that concentrated wealth now controls the mechanisms that determines who will be successful, rather than who can be successful. The notion that the everyman can become comfortably wealthy if “they just apply themselves” still exists in the hopes and aspirations of many Americans, not knowing that the deck is stacked against them in a system where concentrated wealth will stymie anything that threatens their treasure and territory.
“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” says Gomez-Pinilla. If this research can be borne out then it seems clear that the extreme fringes on the right who see the Koch Brothers as saints and people like Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders as personifications of evil, may have been consuming a lot of processed food with a high-fructose additive in it. It would surely explain why I thought Rod Stewart was a serious talent.
I’d love to test this hypothesis by devising an experiment similar to the one Gomez-Pinilla and study co-author Rahul Agrawal created to validate their claims suggesting high fructose sugars effect memory and learning. In their research “two groups of rats … each consumed a fructose solution as drinking water for six weeks.”
The second group also received omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which protects against damage to the synapses — the chemical connections between brain cells that enable memory and learning.
The animals were fed standard rat chow and trained on a maze twice daily for five days before starting the experimental diet. The UCLA team tested how well the rats were able to navigate the maze, which contained numerous holes but only one exit. The scientists placed visual landmarks in the maze to help the rats learn and remember the way.
Six weeks later, the researchers tested the rats’ ability to recall the route and escape the maze. What they saw surprised them.
“The second group of rats navigated the maze much faster than the rats that did not receive omega-3 fatty acids,” Gomez-Pinilla said. “The DHA-deprived animals were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier.”
If we could find volunteers who have been vetted to meet the criteria for objectivity, they could be placed in a maze that would allow them to recreate their journey after having been baselined. Baseline would establish what their natural tendencies are in making political choices. After ingesting abnormal levels of high fructose additives we would then run them back through the maze and see if their choices contradicted their earlier natural tendencies and wound up putting them more in harms way than they were before.
It would be interesting to see if those moderates and independents who voted for change in 2008 after the free market collapse of the banks would either continue to vote for such change or would instead revisit those policies that put many out of a job as well as on the streets after losing their homes from predatory lending practices by powerful financial interests. In other words, would their memories fail to remind them of what put their lives in such duress in such a short period.
Now clearly many of us who voted for change in 2008 didn’t get a lot of what we thought we were voting for but we also understood that we were denying the status quo policies that preceded the Obama administration a platform to continue its ruination on the lives of the American middle class. We also understood later that putting Tea Party-types in office in 2010 would not put us on the right path to regain those social and economic advantages we have been loosing for the last 30 years. Sadly though, many we voted with in unison for these changes back in 2008 became convinced that their natural tendencies were erroneous and made that leap in 2010.
Furthermore, it’s clear to most of us who still insist on change that promotes fairness and a level playing field in the job market that there are those who would deceive us and pretend that our fortunes lie with them rather than smarter choices to effect corrective change in government. Groups like Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity and former Bush confidant Karl Rove’s super Pac, American Crossroads GPS to name a few. These are movements heavily funded by a handful of billionaires who want us to believe that they are us and we are them.
So might our consumptive habits had an effect on changes that Frank alluded to in his book, especially the one about why people tend to vote against their economic interests?
I’m just suspicious enough also to believe that If my hypotheses pans out, could there be a link between those who make the decision to use this high fructose additive and those corporate lobbyists who also support increased tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% while simultaneously supporting measures to cut spending in the public sector. Knowing that the corporate special interests have failed to demonstrate that trickle down economics is anything but a failed political model, it seems this would be a strategically clever move for them to give them an edge this election year. Stripping people’s memories of the Bush years and its failed policies is definitely something the neo-conservatives and their Republican partners in Congress would hope to achieve.
And for the record, lest anyone think I am suggesting that only moderates and Independents have had excessive cravings for high fructose sweeteners, I too have been guilty of making erroneous judgments. But, since swearing off of many processed foods over the last few years, I am now better able to remember that the Democratic Party today is not much more than a watered-down version of its former self under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy . I now have to take measure of a Party and their leaders who can’t manage to pass health care with a public option and substantial financial reform when they have control of both Houses of Congress and the White House.