Mrs. Palin, Hold the Sugar

It’s absurd to think that someone would criticize Michelle Obama’s idealistic endeavors to reduce obesity and encourage healthy dieting, but believe it or not, one of the most influential conservative politicos has leveled her sights against Michelle Obama’s initiatives and is all but proclaiming the right to be obese.

The argument that government should NOT encourage healthy eating is hard to swallow.

Here is what Sarah Palin had to say in a recent interview with Laura Ingraham:

Take her [Michelle Obama’s] 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. And I know I’m going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.

Palin is drinking some strong kool-aid, and it’s probably filled to the brim with sugar. I haven’t decided which is worse: spreading the wealth, or spreading the sugar. I’m flabbergasted with the resistance and outright mockery Palin exhibits toward obesity: it is an epidemic. Perhaps it takes a while for the news to reach Alaska – or perhaps Palin doesn’t get out much.

In her home state of Alaska, 65% of the residents are obese – this is according to the state’s own Heath and Social Services website! Maybe she thinks its denizens just naturally wear big parkas. Natural is right.

Palin just doesn’t get it. I wholeheartedly applaud Michelle Obama for actually being vocal about the dangers of obesity. Mrs. Palin, if you want to lower the cost of health care – increase the importance of preventative health. Obesity is one of the top preventable causes of death in the nation; it’s right up there with smoking. Look, the federal government has plenty of regulations on smoking; it taxes cigarettes and using federal dollars, it sponsors awareness programs explaining its dangers. Yes, this “big government” has cracked down on tobacco advertising too by removing that cartoon camel and even putting big letters on cigarette packages warning consumers that the product causes a whole assortment of horrible diseases.

Obesity is no different: it is preventable – and legislation, regulations, and awareness should all be geared toward combating obesity’s harmful effects. It’s a travesty that school cafeterias serve pizza and fries all day long. Physical education has become an optional elective and food stamps can be used to buy gummy bears. Please, Mrs. Palin, take off the blinders and put down your drink; something has to change.

No one is telling Sarah Palin that she can’t buy her kids twinkies – not even Michelle Obama. She can have all the sugar she wants. It’s her prerogative if she is adamant about stuffing her children with junk food.

As ignorant as it is, Palin is so hopelessly ingrained in opposing everything Obama-related that she is losing even what little common sense she did possess. Michelle Obama could have posited that 2 + 2 = 4 and Palin would probably dispute that as well (unless, of course, she had a calculator).

Sarah Palin may be the face of the conservative movement, but she should not be its mouthpiece. So Mrs. Palin, keep your kool-aid; when I party, I’ll drink the real tea. Sugar-free, of course.

Below are two recommended reads:
Link 1
Link 2

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2 thoughts on “Mrs. Palin, Hold the Sugar

  1. Enjoyed the post. I think this is the real issue:

    As ignorant as it is, Palin is so hopelessly ingrained in opposing everything Obama-related that she is losing even what little common sense she did possess. Michelle Obama could have posited that 2 + 2 = 4 and Palin would probably dispute that as well (unless, of course, she had a calculator).

    I think for Palin, the issue is really about opposing whatever Obama does.

    That said, I’m not sure I agree with your prescription for fighting obesity (viz., ‘legislation, regulations, and awareness should all be geared toward combating obesity’s harmful effects’). The heavy-handed, command and control laws and regulations necessary to make obesity a relic of the past would be far afield of even the most liberal notions of limited government.

    To put the matter differently, Mrs. Palin wouldn’t be free to ‘buy her kids twinkies’ because legislation and regulations would presumably make them illegal. I’m not sure that’s the road we need to go down.

    But Mrs. Obama’s approach, motivating kids to get active when they’re young, and to stay active as they grow older, strikes me as a good use of taxpayer dollars that will pay off much later.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Tory. Allow me to briefly elaborate on the steps that should be taken to combat obesity.

    Governmental regulations aimed at curbing the obesity epidemic can take many different approaches – and within that spectrum lies areas for disagreement. Unlike Palin, I’m not proposing an all-or-nothing solution.

    Palin appears to favor a completely laissez-faire approach toward obesity; it’s not the government’s problem, and it’s not in the government’s interest to propose a solution. She couldn’t be further from the truth (perhaps it’s due to her Alaskan-disconnect syndrome; she can’t get further from the Capitol).

    In reality, the dangers of obesity – if not controlled – can even be hazardous to national security interests. A recent study by a non-profit, military-focused organization found that

    “Today, otherwise excellent recruiting prospects, some of them with generations of sterling military service in their family history, are being turned away because they are just too overweight. Our standards are high because we clearly cannot have people in our command who are not up to the job. Too many lives depend on it.”

    If we recognize obesity as a legitimate problem – and it is – then we should take steps to contain its effects.

    No one would ever propose outright banning sweets and junk foods. Not only is that proposal untenable in practice, its roots would be totalitarian. The solution is not that extreme. Granted, there will be differences of opinion one what measures should be taken and what ideas are too overbearing.

    I mentioned last year on this blog that I favor a soda tax despite its unpopularity by some conservatives. (Plus, there are strong big-business lobbying groups that would seek to block this proposal). I might even recommend more prominent nutrition labeling on processed foods too.

    Again, there are many solutions, some more heavy-handed than others. Criminalizing twinkies is not the answer, but neither is abject, senseless, disagreement with Michelle Obama.

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