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By: Amy Lutz

            I agree with Michelle Obama. Kindof. I agree that the rising levels of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in this nation are troubling. Physical health is important to preserving a nation’s vitality. However, the progressive concept of government-led health programs (espoused by people like the First Lady and Michael Bloomberg) is not the most logical solution. If anything, it is dangerous to both our health and our freedom. Yet, it is not enough to simply criticize the liberal war on obesity. It’s important to provide an alternative. What if conservatives were in charge of combating this nation’s obesity epidemic? Then, what would our policies look like?

            For liberals and progressives concerned with this nation’s health (and rightfully so), government is always the answer. Shoveling money into programs like “Let’s Move,” banning unhealthy foods, and nudging Americans into eating healthy with subtle menu changes all fit into this plan. At its core, this plan is not even about health. It’s about control and as evidenced in a 2011 study from the British Medical Journal, the liberal war against obesity does not have a drastic impact on national health. People who respond to these nanny state policies by avoiding unhealthy food (whether it’s their choice or not) are not necessarily doing so because they are concerned with health. For example, I doubt many people in New York are going to avoid buying a 64 ounce Dr. Pepper because they’re concerned with calories. They will buy a smaller size simply because the 64 ounc-er isn’t available. It’s likely that when this regulation is inevitably eliminated, New Yorkers will run towards Big Gulps once again.

            You want to know the secret weapon against obesity? Well here it is: Personal responsibility.  When did we become a nation where eating well and exercising was too difficult? If eating a cheeseburger a day will make you fat, then don’t eat a cheeseburger a day. If you are unable to maintain a degree of self-control and a healthy lifestyle without the government’s help, then you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands. It’s not that I’m saying losing weight is easy. It is simply too complex to be universally covered by a one-size-fits-all government program. Some people struggle with health problems because of mental health issues. Others have hormonal imbalances. Some just simply haven’t developed a sense of self-control. Whatever the reason, the deeper issues that lead to an individual’s weight issues need to be addressed by a health professional. They cannot be alleviated by calorie counts on a menu or smaller soda sizes.

            While liberals are apt to claim that big businesses and capitalistic food supplies looking for a quick profit are the cause of the nation’s obesity epidemic, I tend to disagree. Most of the health problems in this nation are driven by a cultural decline. One hundred years ago, America was not the “pleasure-seeking” nation that we are today. We have become a nation where immediate gratification is praised and people just want the “easy way out.” Many run towards a quick fix; an option our government is more than willing to provide. Well, I hate to break it to you, but there is no “easy way out” when it comes to weight loss and health. It takes hard work and personal responsibility, characteristics that are less praised in our culture today. Don’t hand your freedom over to the government if you want to lose a couple pounds. It’s not worth it. It is naïve to turn to the government in search of an answer to our nation’s health crisis. Instead, look to yourself. Healthy lifestyles are propelled by internal, individual decisions. They cannot be artificially constructed by an external government program. Individual choices and personal responsibility succeed in propelling long term success. Government band-aids do not. 

 
 
Oh Look! A Distraction!
By: Amy Lutz

The paradoxical nature of politics never ceases to amaze me. The current unemployment rate is 8.1% and 1 in 2 new college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Gas prices are a record highs and the national debt shows no signs of shrinking any time soon. By all accounts, President Obama’s abysmal economic record should have a permanent spot on the front page. His 47.3% approval rating certainly reflects this fact. However, if you take a few seconds to look at the top stories in the United States, this is not the story that’s portrayed. Instead of talking about economic solutions, the media is currently enthralled in the seemingly tangential topics of birth control, women’s rights, hate crimes, and gay marriage. Seemingly, the nation’s top stories and its political realities simply don’t match. However, I doubt this is by accident. Rather, it’s by design. These issues merely serve as distractions from the disaster that is the Obama Administration. And having the mainstream media on your side doesn’t hurt either. With their “look-the-other-way” attitude toward Obama’s mistakes, the President and his allies have mastered the art of political distraction.

The media has covered a smorgasbord of articles ranging from birth control to women to gay marriage in 2012. Leftists have denounced the GOP’s supposed “War on Women” in recent months for their opposition to the birth control mandate and support of personhood laws in a growing number of states. Meanwhile, liberal groups throughout the county decried George Zimmerman’s “racial motives” for shooting Trayvon Martin before he got his day in court. Zimmerman might very well be guilty as sin but what happened to innocent until proven guilty? Then, in a “surprise” (and by surprise I mean, no surprise at all), President Obama came out in support of gay marriage just after North Carolina banned the practice and Gallup reported that just over 50% of Americans support the practice. How convenient.

Strangely, most of the biggest news stories in the US in the months leading up to the 2012 election have been social, not economic, issues. The Obama administration’s focus on these issues is not one of genuine concern. Rather, it is nothing but a political ploy. First, social issues tend to be the most contentious. Supporters and opponents of gay marriage, abortion, contraception, etc. tend to be far apart on the political spectrum and the interests groups are generally well-ensconced in their own opinions. Bringing up these issues ignites the numbed passions of Obama supporters, many of whom have resorted to lukewarm support in the face of the President’s less-than-stellar record. This is a far cry from the passionate obsession of the Obama Zombies during the 2008 election. The Administration is looking for any way to re-ignite theses passions and get their supporters to the polls.

Additionally, the focus on social issues places the spotlight back on the Obama Administration, a spotlight that has been solely focused on the GOP contenders in the last several months. Obama is unable to run on his actual record, considering his history of economic failures. Therefore, the President and his supporters have turned the spotlight on issues which can actually garner some support from his liberal allies (all while ostracizing the right of course). It’s as if Obama woke up last week, looked at his record, and said, “Hmmm rising unemployment, falling poll numbers…OH LOOK GAY MARRIAGE…I can use that.” These social issues are merely a distraction from Obama’s abysmal record. They are also a way to refocus the spotlight on the President and sooth his inflated ego.

What this political maneuver shows is the president’s complete lack of accountability. He’s unable to answer for his faults or stand up for his decisions, even when they have failed. When all else fails and Obama cannot ignore the glaring shortcomings of his administration, he simply blames his predecessor. The economy, partisanship, turbulent world situation…all Bush. (Note: Ignore the fact that the average unemployment rate under George W. Bush was about 5%) Joe Biden took this on last week, blaming Bush for our turbulent relations with Iran. There is certainly a high degree of character deficiency in the White House right now. The President and his blind supporters are unable to take responsibility for anything, evidence of political and personal weakness. It’s tough to stand by your decisions honestly and answer for your failures. Yet, for the President of the United States, it is part of his job description. The President is not supposed to “Pass the Buck.” Unfortunately for us, our current Commander-in-Chief is more than willing to “Pass the Buck…Over there.” Oh look, a political distraction!