A reader asks:
Would you mind sharing with your readers just why this resolution is a bad thing and why votes against it were brave? This resolution strikes me as good on all counts — I can’t imagine what Conservative principle causes you to rail against it. I might guess that you see it as creeping nannyism, but surely – if public schools are going to be feeding our children, then minimal federal health guidelines are desirable. No?
Gladly. The short answer is that I find offensive the idea that Congress has something to say about what anyone eats. It’s offensive both to me, the person being told, and to the dignity of Congress itself. When I see resolutions like this, my first reaction is to wonder how the United States of America survived from the Revolutionary Era until today, without all the helpful government workers ready to force-feed us with cabbage at lunchtime. I then think about it in practical terms: how many times have you actually changed your behavior because you saw a government advertising campaign telling you to do something? Can you tell me that any of this money is well spent? The kids I used to tutor in the Bronx, after eating their healthy school lunches, went to the nearest bodega and bought Twinkies and Ho-Hos the first chance they could. If you ask me, our government has a better chance of creating democracy in Iraq than it has of making a single child like broccoli. My third thought is how sad it is that congressmen think of Congress as a forum for stroking their own egos rather than a place for public service. This amendment was a meaningless, throw-away gimmick, intended to make its instigators feel good about themselves. “How admirable — they want children to be healthy! They love their mothers! They love baseball! They love…oh, wait, not apple pie.” This isn’t what Congress is supposed to be about, is it? Anyway, for these reasons, I admire anyone who was willing to buck the tide and vote “nay.”