The attacks on Michelle Obama's supposed weight program have been increasingly vicious, and tied to her efforts to advocate for healthier eating in the U.S. The way this story line seems to be consistently framed, is that Michelle Obama has a lot of nerve trying to dictate America's eating habits, when she fails to meet some elusive standard of perfection herself.
This line of reasoning may expose a blind hatred, but it is also exposing an incredible ignorance on the part of these supposed crusaders for freedom on the right. The idea that Mrs. Obama is trying to restrict Americans' choices, against a background of supposedly unrestrained freedom, ignores the tremendous power that large corporations hold over our food choices. Corporate Accountability International is a great online resource for many of these hidden controls.
For example, companies like Monsanto strongarm farmers to restrict their choices of seeds - stopping them from re-using their own seeds, in favor of dependency on corporate control.
Genetically modified corn has become ubiquitous in our food choices, which has been linked to devastating crop failure, environmental problems, and health problems. One quote particularly stood out to me in this literature:
"If the trend is not stopped, the patenting of transgenic plants and food producing animals will soon lead to universal "bioserfdom" in which farmers will lease their plants and animals from biotech conglomerates such as Monsanto and pay royalties on seeds and offspring. Family and indigenous farmers will be driven off the land and consumers' food choices will be dictated by a cartel of transnational corporations.
Rural communities will be devastated."
Talk about restricted choices!
Factory farming continues this corporate chain by posing risks to workers, engaging in animal abuse, exposing consumers to too many antibiotics and hormones, and harming the environment.
Food processing adds unhealthy sweeteners, nitrites, dyes that have been linked to behavior problems in children, irradiation, and the environmental waste that occurs from packaging and transportation.
Researchers such as David Kessler and Neal Barnard have both written about eye-opening research that shows a sophisticated food industry than peddles an addictive cocktail of fat, sugar and salt, that keeps us coming back for more unhealthy foods. These combinations actually alter brain chemistry, creating a true addictive response. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta's recent CNN program on heart disease points out, these are the very foods that are associated with a greater incidence of heart disease.
Through a combination of aggressive marketing - especially to children - and political influence , large fast food corporations maintain control over what foods are available, cheap, and visible, to our families and children.
All of this, of course, is ignored by the critics of Michelle Obama, who fantasize that they are unrestrained in their food choices, but for the overbearing control of this First Lady. Whether she has a weight problem or not, is really immaterial to the cause she is trying to promote. She is trying to protect America's children, and we should thank her for it.