Thursday, November 25, 2010

Has Sarah Palin jumped the shark?

Has Sarah Palin finally gone too far, suggesting that the government has no business trying to educate families about healthy food choices and the benefits of exercise?    This week, Palin called into the Laura Ingraham radio show attacking Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign as unwarranted government interference into people's lives.  
Take her anti-obesity thing that she's 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 thus cleverly spins what is the most wholesome and traditional type of First Lady activity, one that is designed to promote public health, not at all unlike such past causes as Nancy Reagan's "just say no" anti-drug campaign, into some kind of evil government plot to interfere with families' "God-given rights" to make decisions.  In the process she attempts to tarnish the image of the president's family, despite her protestations during the 2008 campaign of any questions or perceived attacks on her own family.

If you follow the implications of what Palin is saying to their logical conclusion, she is really attacking the whole idea of public education, indeed the whole idea of government attempting to do anything to make people's lives better.  Because if it is an unwarranted interference with family decision-making to promote exercise and healthy eating, how much more of an interference is any kind of public education system?   Not to mention any other public health or safety regulations, from the Environmental Protection Agency to vehicle and traffic regulations, to meat inspection, or to the FDA's regulation of pharmaceutical products.  All of these activities interfere with families' "God-given rights" to decide how to live or raise their children.  In fact, they all interfere with our activities a lot more than Michelle Obama trying to get kids to exercise and eat more nutritional meals. 

Or maybe Sarah Palin is just standing up for the right of Americans to be fat and ignorant if they choose.  Maybe her criticisms are designed to feed into the resentment of many Americans at being told they should try to improve their health and work on their education, into our anxieties at falling behind in the global competition.   Maybe people need to be reassured that if we would only follow the advice of Sarah Palin and others attempting to attack the legitimacy of government, and take matters of educating and protecting our families completely into our own hands, we can be proud of belonging to a nation of fat, lazy, ignorant, selfish and armed-to-the-teeth free Americans.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(In addition to the Huffington Post piece linked above, check out more coverage of this incident at Obama Foodorama, a really terrific blog on all things connected with the Obamas and food.)

UPDATE (11/26/10):  On the other hand, I must rise in defense of Sarah Palin on this whole "North Korea" flap.  (saying our North Korean allies when she meant to say our South Korean allies)  I'm not defending her childish counter-attack on  Obama's slips of the tongue, but I do think it was dumb to make anything out of hers.  Sometimes a mis-statement can reveal a politician's ignorance or true thoughts.  This one did not.  We don't need to dwell on Sarah Palin's petty mis-steps.  There is plenty to talk about if we just stick to the things she means to say.

3 comments:

  1. Why is government stepping into the healthy eating debate? Because kids are fat. Why are kids fat? Because their parents are not setting a good example and are being bad parents. I don't care how many celery sticks the government pushes it won't make parents become responsible for their children's eating habits if they're not already.

    This doesn't mean it's a bad idea for the First Lady to push salad bars and telling people to lay off the fast food, however.

    While Palin might be philosophically correct (we don't need the government to tell us what to eat) I think she should have saved her message for a more worthy topic.

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  2. Joe, I think you have a crush on Sarah :-)

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  3. As I understand it, government is not telling you what you can eat,they are setting out guidelines for the foods that can be consumed in their facilities (i.e. PUBLIC schools). If you don't like it, prepare a luch for your child consisting of whatever you want your child to eat - whether it's candy bars or mayo loaded turkey sandwhich.

    As for Palin, I'd have more sympathy for her if she was not the nasty know-it-all she pretends to be. Instead, she goes around visciously attacking anyone she can in the form of Tweets and her Facebook page. So what if she pretends to have a slip of the tongue; it sure does not stop her from pointing out when someone else does. Though I wish the 24 hour news media would stop concentrating on her altogether, based on her actions she is fair game.

    Speaking of crushes, I think it's her that has on on President Obama. She comes off as a scorned stalker sometimes.

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