Ben and Jerry's new ice cream flavor makes democracy look delicious.

Ben and Jerry's is at it again: churning out flavors you can spoon into your wide open mouth, completely* guilt-free.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.


*Because you should never feel guilty about eating food you like.

On May 17, 2016, Vermont's most famous dairy dudes, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, revealed the latest addition to their family of treats with a bigger purpose.

Photo by Ade Johnson/AFP/Getty Images.

And it didn't disappoint.

Friends, I give you Empower Mint: an ice cream meant to restore the power of the people this election season.


Nom nom.

So what's Empower Mint all about? First of all, it's aimed at turning our democracy into an actual democracy.

Through its patriotic branding, the new flavor aims to remind voters we need to take power away from the (ridiculously) wealthy people and corporations that hold too much sway in Washington and hand it back to us, the everyday voters:

"This fudge-filled flavor reflects our belief that voting gives everyone a taste of empowerment, & that an election should be more 'by the people' and less 'buy the people!'"

Cohen and Greenfield don't just talk the talk, either. Just last month, the two were arrested outside the U.S. Capitol for participating in a protest focused on ridding Washington of its Big Money influence. They certainly walk the walk.

These are a few of the protesters who marched alongside Cohen and Greenfield. Photo by Mike Theiler/AFP/Getty Images.

Secondly, Empower Mint wants you to give a damn that our voting rights have been stripped away.

In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, which had required states with a history of voter discrimination to get a thumbs up from the federal government before passing laws that affect voters. Since the court's ruling, however, certain states have passed eyebrow-raising laws that don't do much in countering the idea they're out to suppress voter turnout among minorities, immigrants, and poor people.

Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

In North Carolina, for instance, advocates argue an unnecessary voter ID law is intentionally discouraging black voters from heading to the polls. In Texas, a law was passed to redraw voting districts so that communities with large immigrant populations have less political power, activists argued.

This doesn't fly with Ben or Jerry, who are encouraging customers to sign a petition to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act on its Empower Mint webpage:

"We must stand together and call on our leaders to not only reauthorize the Voting Rights Act, but to fight back against new laws that undermine our freedom to vote, ensuring a democracy that works for everyone."

I'll eat to that.

Also, a not-so-unimportant note about this new flavor: It contains peppermint ice cream, fudge brownies, and fudge swirls.

Fudge-freaking-tastic is right.


So when you spot Empower Mint in an aisle near you, know that's it's not just for you to devour — it's there to remind you we all deserve our voices be heard this November.

Learn more about what Empower Mint is all about from the video below:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less