Friday, July 15, 2011
Right Gets Heartburn over Michelle Obama's Lunch
Michelle Obama has received an enormous amount of criticism for ordering a cheeseburger, fries, a Diet Coke, and a milk shake at Washington’s Shake Shack. The right has come alive with anger at the First Lady’s lunch order calling her a hypocrite. They should know all about hypocrisy, but that’s another blog post.
In a way, though, it’s not. The right wants everything, and they want to eat it too. Under George W. Bush, they wanted a war in Iraq AND tax cuts, for example. Now that we are paying for the debt run up during that time, they don’t want to raise the debt ceiling or taxes, but they want to cut spending AND, no surprise, cut taxes. Again, that’s a whole other blog post.
The fact that Obama splurged on lunch is something that’s sticking in their craw. Granted, it probably was a teeny weeny bit hypocritical of Mrs. Obama to order such a calorie-rich lunch. Then again, we don’t know what she did when she got back to the White House. Maybe she exercised and worked out to burn the calories that she just consumed. And, I think, that’s the larger point, and does she look like she eats that way all the time? HELLS NO! Michelle Obama clearly works out and is fit. For a woman of any age, she looks fabulous. That’s why I think the right is missing the point.
Obama is arguing for our country to become fitter. FORTY NINE states have obesity rates of over 20 percent. Most of the South has an obesity rate of over 30 percent. The fittest state in the union, Colorado, still has just shy of 20 percent of its population that’s obese.
Now, many of you are probably saying, “Jon, look in the mirror, buddy.” I don’t deny that I’m a fat American. I am, and I know it. I don’t need you to tell me it. I see my body in the mirror every day, and I know that I am probably a ticking time bomb when it comes to my fitness. Heart disease and other awful diseases run in my family.
The thing is, and I’m not blaming anyone, what if someone like Michelle Obama had been advocating for me to be more fit when I was a child? Maybe I wouldn’t be 6’4” and 325 pounds today. Maybe I would have gotten the message more implicitly. Maybe I would have gotten the message that fruit makes a better breakfast than a Sausage McMuffin with Egg. I mean, I know that.
If Michelle Obama’s concentration on fitness makes one American child fitter or makes one American family think about what they are feeding their children, that’s one less case of heart disease or cancer or diabetes in the future. That’s why I don’t get the criticism of her on this. It’s almost like just because she made one 1,600 calorie order at a hamburger shop that this somehow overwrites everything she has said and torpedoes her overall thesis.
What’s wrong with having a conversation about obesity in this country? Personally, I think it’s because folks like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and others that have been railing on Obama for this don’t care about whether people make better eating choices. They just want to score political points. And, I’m sure in some houses they are.
Personally, I think Americans are smarter than that. Keep telling us to move Mrs. Obama, and it’s ok if you splurge once in a while.