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Howard Steven Friedman Headshot

Stop Searching for Super

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I was in the supermarket a few days ago and came across a bag of goji berries. The bag was proudly labeled as a Superfood. Now, I know Americans love a good advertising pitch as much as a simple solution to a complicated problem, but, I have bad news for you... there is no Easter Bunny, no Santa Claus, and there are no Superfoods that will let you miraculously eat whatever you want and still be healthy. Blueberries, pomegranate juice, goji berries, green tea, seaweed, fish oil and nuts are all good things to eat but no single food is going to enable you to eat whatever else you want and still have the body of a world-class athlete. But we love the idea of Superfoods because it is a simple solution to the difficult challenge of maintaining good health.

Thinking about Superfoods brought me to more Supers in the American fantasy mind. We of course have Superman, fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Alas, there is no Superman to solve our current political problems though many perpetually hope that latest newcomer on the political scene will save America from its own destruction. For fun, Google the name of any recent president and Superman to see the rather impressive number of images that people have created either in adoration or to mock political leaders.

From Superfoods to Superman, I soon found myself thinking about the Super Committee. This latest example of politicians being unwilling to develop legislation to solve the countries issues was a prime example of passing the buck. Responsibility to develop legislation to successfully manage the budget was handed from group to group until landing in the arms of six members of the House and six members of the Senate. This Super Committee was going to save America's financial future by hashing out a reasonable set of compromises to have a functional government that balances the desires of most of the people. Unfortunately, the Super Committee accomplished nothing.

My thoughts on Superfoods, Superman, and Super Committees are pretty much the same. It's nice to pretend that there are simple solutions to complicated problems but I live in the real world. In the real world you need to diet and exercise to get in shape. In the real world, no one is going to protect America by flying around in a cape. And in the real world, if you want politicians to take any meaningful action, then you need to make sure that they realize that inaction will lead to them losing the privilege of representing you.