On March 7, “The Washington Post” reported that the National Confectioners Association (NCA), representing candy giants such as Nestle, Hershey, Mars, Jelly Belly, etc., recently hosted a gathering of 600 at the Trump National Doral Resort near Miami. It has also booked two more at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C.: one next September and another in 2018. The Post story states: ‘Big Candy’ is lobbying the Trump administration. It’s also holding events at Trump hotels.” A visit to the NCA website (candyusa.com) confirms this.

That’s a lot of candy money ending up, one way or another, in the pockets of the president and his family.

What’s equally disturbing is what the NCA hopes to gain by this affiliation. According to the Post, the NCA is “optimistic about scoring big, early policy wins from the Trump administration. Among its priorities: a long-sought rollback of government sugar subsidies that candy firms say drive up the costs of making their products.” They are also hoping to take advantage of “significant opportunities to go on offense on other matters, including its push to end Obama-era regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and food labeling.”

What better way to get the ear of the president, than to mention how much you enjoyed your stay (make that, “money you spent”) at his hotel?

This news comes at a time when store shelves are filling up with Easter candy. But, if you are offended by any of the news above you might want to pay attention to the candy you are about to throw in your cart and reject any made by the companies that belong to the NCA.

For me, giving up the occasional Snickers and M&Ms is not a huge sacrifice. And Nestle’s has been on my “avoid whenever possible” list ever since I found out their CEO thinks water is a commodity that should be privatized. But when I found out that my beloved Toblerone is actually distributed by a member of the NCA, Mondelēz International, Inc., formerly known as Kraft Foods, I had to come to grips with the reality of even this miniscule act of resistance on my part.

I asked myself, would anyone even notice if I stopped buying my weekly Tobler, Swiss Dark Chocolate with Honey & Almond Nougat, carefully proportioned to a last me seven days … provided I kept it well-hidden from the family?

A quick visit to the Mondelēz website and I realized I needed to do even more. Right there, in bold pixels, Mondelēz claims to be a world leader in “women’s empowerment,” to “believe well-being is holistic. That the health of individuals, communities and the planet are inextricably linked,” and that they want to “create a global conversation centered on the well-being of the world.” I want to be part of that conversation. And I’m pretty sure many of you want to be part of it, as well.

Mars has already heard from me and soon, so will Mondelēz. I’m a customer. They should listen to me. Among other things, I want them to tell me how they reconcile their stated core values with their support of the man in the White House — a man who has shown nothing but the most revolting disrespect for women and total disregard for the health of individuals of all ages, communities, and the planet — by contributing to his personal fortune. And if everyone else who is offended by their hypocrisy and the money that they and other candy manufacturers are pouring into the president’s coffers (money they make off the candy you buy) perhaps my little whisper in their ear will soon become a roar.

If they don’t acknowledge my concerns and encourage the NCA to discontinue their patronage of the Trump organization, I will continue to do my best to boycott their products whenever I can. And if everyone who marched last January took the next step and thought twice before tossing a bag of Easter treats into their shopping cart, that message will start to be heard loud and clear.

Yes, it’ll be tough forgoing the occasional Hershey’s Kiss. But real kisses are better, anyway.

Elaine de Man is a St. Helena resident who was a freelance writer for many years.

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