Here’s my attempt at writing a short opinions piece on a political topic. This (or a version thereof) should appear in the Sophian on Dec. 2nd.

Also, apologies that it’s been ages since I wrote a true Grub piece. My growing to-do list has kept me pretty busy, unfortunately. I look forward to getting back to some quality grubbin’ once my apps. are finished in January.


Let’s move?

While her husband has bigger issues on his plate these days, Michelle Obama struggles even within the Democratic Party to rally support for her “pet project,” better known as the ‘Let’s Move’ campaign, spearheaded in the aim of stemming rising rates of childhood obesity.

Speaking on the topic, Obama has said “in the end, as First Lady, this isn’t just a policy issue for me. This is a passion. This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.”

In her campaign to change the health of American kids, Obama saw Senate approval for her Child Nutrition Bill this past August, a measure that focuses on getting “junk food” out of the nation’s schools while simultaneously allocating $4.5 billion to be disbursed over the next decade for the purpose of improving child nutrition, particularly through ensuring that national meal programs provide healthier options.

What’s the big deal, then, with working to improve the health of the nation’s youth?

As articulated by opponents of the Bill, their qualms are not with the measure itself, but rather in how Obama and its other proponents plan to provide funding for the Bill; particularly, by cutting future rises in food stamp benefits.

Supporters of the Bill in turn maintain that alternative financing for the food stamp program can be found, as indicated by Obama’s pledge to identify the source of such monies before the cutbacks would go into effect in 2013.

Yet other opponents of the Bill criticize its approach, and argue that the Bill and other “anti-obesity” measures of the First Lady et al. will serve only to reinforce and justify “fat hatred.”

Whether or not you believe that obesity and its “remedy”—weight loss—is a matter of willpower, it is not difficult to imagine the trajectory of thinking that elementary school students will make, armed with their newfound understanding that fat is to be limited and activity maximized. Kids can be harsh, and it is not unreasonable to imagine that, in the absence of some preventative teaching that campaigning against the negative health consequences associated with obesity is not the same as campaigning against obese individuals (or is it?), bullying of overweight children will become even more of an issue.

All told, what is Michelle Obama to do in the face of such criticism? Is there hope for the success of her campaign and of the Bill?

Yes, I believe, if Obama is to do two things. One, the overarching campaign targeted against obesity must be reframed as a campaign to improve the health of the American people. Adults and not just children are notoriously bad as distinguishing between a movement against an outcome and the people who experience that outcome, and her work will be more successful if those Americans for whom weight is a struggle can get behind the movement without fear of ridicule or exile.

Second, Obama must find a succinct means of financing her Bill, and stat. In this Lame Duck Congress, time is of the essence, and Obama cannot afford to let her hard work go to rot as its passage continues to be delayed.

In the interim, Obama continues her efforts to curb rising rates of obesity, one step, and one lettuce leaf, at a time.

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