They both said: "Let them eat cake!" Somewhere in the Constitution, Sarah Palin has found the "God-given" right to be obese. Michelle Obama's initiative to improve children's health by encouraging better diets and sufficient exercise is mocked by Sarah Palin as just another intrusion by government into the daily lives of our citizens, and this effort apparently is especially abhorrent by depriving children of their just desserts.
Although Ms. Palin claims to read "all" of the newspapers, she apparently missed the one (or many) that reported that one out of three children are obese increasing the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other illnesses. Rejecting the threat of being forced to follow "some politician's wife's priorities," she triumphantly visited a school in Pennsylvania holding cookies high in an act of brave defiance by a Grizzly Mom against Big Brother. No government was going to tell her children what they could and could not eat (forgetting entirely that a recommendation from the first lady is not necessarily a presidential executive order).
But she does speak the truth in one respect. This is groundbreaking. No other president's wife has ever dared to engage in this socialist activity of suggesting to America's citizens that they should take or refrain from some particular action. According to Half/Governor Palin such suggestions violate the word of God and our rights under the Constitution. Michelle Obama is clearly the first and only, that is, of course, if one ignores, Laura Bush for encouraging reading and literacy; Hillary Clinton for encouraging mammography to prevent breast cancer; Lady Bird Johnson for encouraging protection and beautification of the environment; and Nancy Reagan for urging the fight against drug and alcohol abuse among young people; and Pat Nixon who encouraged the performance of volunteer services to benefit others. Even as far back as Dolly Madison, who was urging aid to orphan children.
So yes, ultimately we each have a God-given right (or from some other recognized source) to let our children be fat, fail to read, become sick, take drugs and drink alcohol, ignore the plight of others and destroy the environment. But to my mind, there is something wonderful (and in the holiday spirit) when first ladies, who have no formal duty, undertake a cause and use their platform to advance and advocate practices that will benefit our children and the country. Sarah Palin and others like her may see a socialist plot under every such initiative while others may see the pursuit of worthy goals and respect for Constitutional rights.
The moral: Don't let them eat cake if it is going to make them fat, even if that advice comes from a first lady of the opposition party. If Sarah Palin had taken Laura Bush's literacy advice, this column probably would not have been necessary.