December 02, 2010
Last week, in her inimitably cornpone, hokey, chipper, toothy, gosh-darnit, you’re-darn-tootin’ manner, Sarah Palin slammed Michelle Obama’s scheme to slim the nation’s bloated quotient of disgustingly fat children.
Palin told radio host Laura Ingraham:
Take Michelle Obama anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.
Earlier in November, before flipping a middle finger to the “anti-obesity thing” in the form of a tray of cookies she carted into a Pennsylvania school fundraiser, Palin had Tweeted:
2 PA school speech; I’ll intro kids 2 beauty of laissez-faire via serving them cookies amidst school cookie ban debate; Nanny state run amok!
Critics have noted that in her 2009 “State of the State of Alaska” speech, Palin said that “government policy can help” in the war against corpulent chilluns. Since she didn’t elaborate in her speech, it remains unclear how Palin’s plan would have differed from Obama’s.
Predictably, the MSM entities who rejoice in trashing Palin—in other words, roughly 98.6% percent of them—dogpiled atop her yet again for her recent comments. They phrased Ms. Obama’s program in such stirringly sweet terms, you’d have to be a fucking asshole to be against it. Who wants the kids to starve? I know I don’t want the kids to starve. What kind of monster would want the kids to starve, especially children of color, who are disproportionately harmed by “food insecurity” and obesity? Why, they’re taking away these kids’ natural-born right to free cherry tomatoes, all in the name of HATE. “Sarah Palin Wants Government to Help Make Your Kids Fat,” lied a Huffington Post author who, if he was honest, would admit he truly has no idea what Sarah Palin wants.
CNN’s Roland Martin, a roly-poly man who’s made a career of complaining about being black in a country where it’s better being black than nearly anywhere on the planet, called Palin “stupid” and suggested that “someone should kick” her for pooh-poohing childhood obesity’s ravages on our nation’s youth. Looking at pictures of Martin, he apparently assumes portliness is A-OK if you’re an adult.
Michelle Obama has exposed herself over and over again as a gal with a deep-seated hatred of fat kids. Halting and eventually eliminating childhood obesity has become her fundamental project as First Lady. She’s going to shave pounds off those fat little bastards whether they like it or not. To stress the importance of exercise, she has demonstrated how to use a hula hoop on the White House lawn. She has appeared at a Florida school clad “in a chic tangerine pantsuit and matching patent leather flats” to tout her plan of bringing 6,000 salad bars to American schools over the next three years. She’s let us know that she hates beets and performs the occasional dietary cleanse, which marks the first time I’ve ever been forced to think about a First Lady’s feces. And I thought it was cool of her—benevolent, really—to recently tell Americans via Barbara Walters that it would be OK for us to eat pie for Thanksgiving. (And I say this without any knowledge of whether or not she’s receiving bribes from the Big Pie lobby.)
But she apparently smells not a whiff of hypocrisy in the fact that in 2005-2006, she banked nearly a quarter-mil in salaries and stock options by sitting on the corporate board of directors of TreeHouse Foods, Inc., a mega-corporation that churns out such Edenic foodstuffs as cheese sauces, puddings, powdered soft drinks, and Keebler cookies.
In politics as well as life, it’s always wise to ask “Cui bono?”—Latin for “To whose benefit?”—whenever anyone launches into a sanctimonious campaign ostensibly to help mankind.
So whose palms are getting greased with human lipids in this situation? As far as I can tell, underneath all the hula-hooping and cookie trays, this is fundamentally a clash between Big Business and Big Government. A subplot involves a conflict between Big Beef and Big Lettuce. But don’t be fooled—the loudest voices on both sides of this debate have something to gain financially if they win.
Harry Truman signed the original National School Lunch Act into law in 1946, reminding us that “A nation is only as healthy as its children.” What he neglected to remind us was that the bill was fundamentally “a way to prop up food prices by absorbing farm surpluses.” Since then, the feds have plunged themselves almost inextricably deep into the food biz, to the point where they sink tens of billions annually into agricultural subsidies.
It’s obvious why Big Beef, along with Big Corn and Big Sugar, might be opposed to Ms. Obama’s plan. But there’s comic irony in the fact that a recent study concluded Big Beef’s evil, child-killing fast-food joints are much more rigorous with quality control than those benevolent public-school cafeterias.
Ms. Obama’s plan, despite its veneer of grass-roots activism and DIY urban gardening, also has its share of heavy hitters. Her Let’s Move! initiative is backed by the inordinately powerful SEIU, members of whom beat a black conservative into the concrete earlier this year. She’s garnered support from the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, the Food Family Farming (F3) Foundation, the United Fresh Produce Association, and even Disney, the world’s largest media company. She has been working with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, whose website proudly sports logos from such street-level, stick-it-to-the-man outfits as ConAgra, Del Monte, General Mills, IGA, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Safeway, and Coca-Cola.
An estimated one in three American children is obese, and healthcare for obesity-related illness costs Americans an estimated $150 billion yearly. We are warned that if we don’t buy the kids some salads now, we’ll be forced to pay for their angioplasties later.
Yes, the kids are too fat.
But no, it’s not my fault. Nor is it my responsibility. But as Obama and her minions are framing the debate, America’s oceans of blubbery preteens can lay the blame for their condition at the feet of everyone except themselves and their likely-to-be-fat progenitors. In particular, black and Mexican obesity is blamed on everyone except obese blacks and Mexicans.
We are endlessly chided that poor folk don’t have the money to properly feed themselves—even when they have free food stamps—but the voices grow silent when it’s noted that so many of them can still shell out the ducats for tobacco, alcohol, and lottery tickets. Consider also that in the ’hood, things such as FDA requirements and salads may be deemed “too white” to merit consideration. I know that if there’s one thing that excites inner-city kids, it’s eating organic vegetables. A 2007 Associated Press study of 57 government nutritional programs found they had little to no effect in altering children’s eating habits.
I see it as akin to cigarettes, alcohol, and unprotected sex: You can only provide so much “education,” and then people are going to make their own decisions. If they’re aware of the risks they’re taking, they should bear the consequences alone. For adults, this includes having more children than you’re aware you can afford. And if you aren’t aware you can’t afford them, or that they’ll get fat if you cram nothing in their mouths besides potato chips and Faygo, you’re truly too stupid to be having children.
I’ve been through plenty of lean times—leaner than either Michelle Obama or Sarah Palin could ever hope to grasp. When I was about 20, I read Adele Davis’s classic tome on basic nutrition, Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit. The lessons I learned have stayed with me all my life. One can meet all their basic nutritional requirements—vitamins, minerals, fibers, proteins, carbs, everything—on about $40 a week. You can do it with beans, brown rice, eggs, tuna, apples, peanut butter, skim milk, wheat pasta—it can be done. Nobody knows this better than me. You simply need discipline, something that was tossed from the public-school curriculum long ago.
When I was only 12, I realized I’d grown a mite chubby. I compared my height and weight to some charts at school and realized that I weighed 110 pounds—a dozen pounds over my ideal weight. So for six weeks I cut out all sweets, ate smaller portions, and exercised. Six weeks later, I was in tiptop shape. And it never occurred to me that the government should somehow be involved.
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