Obama vs. Palin: The Cookie Crumbles

If you were busy hosting guests over Thanksgiving weekend, you may have missed Barbara Walters’ hour-long discussion with the President and First Lady on topics including our ongoing battle with obesity, particularly in children. Specifically, Walters touched on Sarah Palin’s attacks on the Let’s Move! campaign and her recent Pennsylvania school cookie stunt.

The gist of the conversation boiled down to government’s role in bringing healthier food options, education and activities into schools. As Palin clearly demonstrated with her let-them-eat-cookies tactic, her answer is no, keep government out of schools—her predictably dangerous and myopic blanket response to any regulation. That may be a fair assessment when it comes to freedoms of speech and religion and self defense, but leading helpless and impressionable children to vats of cookie dough and telling them to eat moderately seems to stand in a category all by itself. If the adults of this country—politicians or not—aren’t willing to take responsibility for the health of our children, then we best arm ourselves and pray often and loudly, because twenty years from now when those kids are sick and angry adults, they’re going to want some answers.

There are so many opinions on the subject; it’s a bit like trying to count all the chocolate chips in a bag of Chips Ahoy cookies. Who’s right and who’s wrong doesn’t seem to matter as much as just figuring out how to give children healthy and deceptive-free food options. Mrs. Obama’s approach seems to be methodical and sophisticated, yet incredibly simple with directing her attention towards school gardens and activities that make health and nutrition fun and inspiring for kids. The results speak for themselves. The more we’re all exposed to healthy options, be it food, activity or thinking, the more we adapt to that behavior.

“Well we’ve always said throughout this campaign that this, solving this problem is going to take all of us,” Mrs. Obama said to Walters, adding, “Parents, families, communities have the largest impact on how kids think about anything, particularly what they eat.”

No one in their right mind would turn down a cookie. They’re delicious. Palin’s publicity stunt only further proves the risks involved in not arming our nation with the ability to make healthy choices and feel good about themselves in doing so. Said Mrs. Obama, “There is no constituency that should be excluded from this call to action for our kids.”

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Photo: Jill Ettinger for The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation