Sarah Palin vs. Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama has been a strong advocate for reducing the childhood obesity rates of the nation’s youngest citizens, culminating in her recent “Let’s Move” campaign and the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Former Governor Sarah Palin, on the other hand, is spittin’ nails at what she views as government intrusion in parents’ decisions of how to raise their children.

I often write my own editorials around public policy or political debates in which I share how I can see both sides of an issue… But in this case, I think Sarah Palin is either a naive idiot or a clever schemer on this issue.

Mrs. Palin has made a few public jabs recently on the subject of Mrs. Obama’s anti-childhood-obesity efforts, which have primarily focused on getting children to be more active and having guidelines for healthier food options in schools.

On this week’s episode of her reality television show, she was shopping for a family camping trip and sniped for the camera, “Where are the s’mores ingredients? This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert.” And last month on a radio program hosted by Laura Ingraham, Mrs. Palin opined, “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 added, “the first lady cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.”

She also apparently delivered cookies to a Pennsylvania school before giving a speech there last month, saying, “Who should be deciding what I eat? Should it be government or should it be parents? It should be the parents.”

All of this in response to reports from the Associated Press that, “One in 3 American children is overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses. Obesity is even more prevalent among black and Hispanic children. Some public health experts say today’s children are on track to live shorter lives than their parents.”

It’s shocking to me that Mrs. Palin takes issue with a campaign to get kids used to being more physically active, in an era of hours upon hours of television, video games, and computer time instead of play that involves exercise. And it’s absolutely absurd that Palin would consider guidelines suggesting healthy food options in public schools to be intruding upon parents’ ability to raise their children.

So the question becomes, is she really this naive? Is she really so caught up on the principle that government shouldn’t even make recommendations for how to help kids grow up healthy, based on completely non-political medical science? Or is there something more devious going on in her mind?

Could it be that Mrs. Palin is using this as an opportunity to continue fanning the flames of anti-government resentment? Is objecting to health-focused guidelines really just another line of attack to rabble-rouse the conservative masses who are ideologically opposed to what they perceive as “big government” overstepping its bounds?

Is Sarah Palin bribing our youth with cookies?

Okay, maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch. 😛 But seriously, I have to believe that Mrs. Palin doesn’t truly object to public policy statements that kids should be encouraged to be more active, and that they should select from healthy food options in public schools. She can’t possibly have a reasonable gripe with those things, can she?

From my perspective, I have to conclude that this is shameless pandering to an anti-government base. No public figure should use manufactured controversy over kids’ health and wellbeing as rallying cries for personal political motivations. And as both a parent and a grandparent, Mrs. Palin should be ashamed of herself.

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One Response to Sarah Palin vs. Michelle Obama

  1. Giles says:

    It’s interesting isn’t it? I had a discussion Saturday with my future Uncle in Law whom I believe is probably the purest of conservatives. What he said made a lot of since from his point of view. Forgive me but I’ll have to paraphrase, “You know, this is what I think the problem really is … Democrats want to put a camera in your bank accounts and business and watch what you do there, and republicans want to put a camera in the bedroom and and tell you what to do there. I just want them to stay out of my bank and out of my bedroom all together. Who cares who sleeps with who? Republican’s have to get off this abortion shit, and this gay rights shit…. etc”
    Sarah Palin fancies herself a “true” conservative. Keep the government out of my pocket book and stop the government from taking away my freedoms. Yet she’d be the first to say that the government has not only a right but an obligation to prevent OTHERS from having the same RIGHTS she enjoys. That the government has no place in the lives of Americans except those Americans who live a different lifestyle from hers, who adopt a different religion, or belief. Don’t tell me what my children should eat, but do tell me who can marry and who cannot. Who can serve in our military and who cannot. It is the hypocrisy that strikes me as truly wrong. Maybe my future uncle in law has a valuable lesson for Republican and so called “Tea Partiers”; Stay away from the social issues and maybe you’ll sway more swinger (excuse the pun) your way.
    The fundamental debate seems to be what is the government, the American government’s, role in our lives? Where is the line between legislation that improves the lives of all Americans and legislation that violates our constitutional rights and freedoms?
    Historically the American government has stepped into the private businesses and private lives of Americans when in both cases we as a people have shown that we cannot make the “right” choices on our own. In the 1930’s we created social security because people demonstrated that they could not exercise the discipline to save for retirement. We also created the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC)(http://www.sec.gov/about/whatwedo.shtml#create) to set regulation and oversight for risky expensive investing, because the average joe was being duped by business men into investing what savings they had into bad/risky investments with no exit strategy or back up funds. They couldn’t afford the risk. Sounds a lot like what happened a couple of years ago (2009) with home mortgages, right? The government invented Medicaid and Medicare for our elderly when it was discovered that citizens could not be trusted to account for medical insurance as retired and elderly. Every time our government has attempted to “interfere” in our business and lives the “conservatives” of the time protested loudly. Doom sayers that this will lead us to socialism! Or this will make our government fascist by dictating what people can and cannot do with there money and there social decisions! The often hailed President Ronald Regan, claimed that medicare is a huge mistake and will bring “socialized” medicine to the US. Compromising the “greatest” health care system in the world(http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a1962reaganama). Ha!
    What’s this got to do with Palin and her cookies? Well, apparently Americans are fat. Our children are fat. This is costing us as tax payers millions of dollars in health care costs. Apparently parents in the US are not able or just don’t make healthy choices for themselves or their children. Once again the government, which is supposed to be elected by and for the people and include “the people”, has decided to step in and help us make better decisions. What the hell is wrong with that? Not a damn thing. It’s what I’m paying the assholes to do. I’m paying them to keep foreign governments from invading and taking my land. I’m paying them to police my neighbors so they don’t harm me or steal my property and so that I don’t do the same thing. I pay them to provide justice when I’m wronged. I pay them to keep someone else from fooling me in business transactions. I’m paying them to insure I can live a long and happy life with health care. I’m paying them to pave roads, over see safety in transportation, prevent planes from flying into buildings or bombs exploding in trains. I’m paying them to help me raise my children to be good citizens and part of the community. I’m paying them to prevent child abuse, animal abuse, personal abuse. Damn, I pay them to do a lot of things, and not a damn one of them seems to cause me any trouble. Is it perfect? No. Do I think I should be able to own a fire arm? yes, or at least a non lethal device I could use to protect myself. Do I think the government should decide who marries who? No. If John wants to marry his cousin -let him. If joe wants to marry mike -let ’em. It’s not my business and it doesn’t seem to affect me at all. Now do I think that all churches should be required to perform the ceremony -no. That’s up to the church and religion associated with it. That doesn’t mean the state can’t do it. I don’t really see what’s so damn hard about all this. okay. I’m done. Thanks for letting me blab. cheers.

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