A GOVERNMENT THAT KNOWS NO BOUNDS
The freedom to choose unmolested by government agents has long defined liberty for the American people. This administration has no love of that liberty and regards use of government, for any end deemed by state planners in the public interest, fully justified (even if it comes at the loss of individual liberty).
This past month North Carolina agents from the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services were on a mission given them by the federal government. They were in receipt of new school lunch rules promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under those regulations, memorialized in a January 26, 2012 USDA Final Rule, state and local administrators of the federal school lunch program are required to take steps to “enhance the diet and health of school children, and help mitigate the childhood obesity trend.” Moving beyond redefining the content of federally funded lunches offered in the schools, the new rule deputizes state authorities to audit school menus and instantaneously compel alterations of meals if they do not meet federal standards.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack embraced this food fascism with authoritarian zeal. Appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America, Vilsack explained, “[t]he more we can reinforce the right set of choices and encourage the right set of choices, the greater the chances are that we will get a handle on obesity.” As if in proof of the ridiculousness inherent in any system that dictates the kinds of foods Americans may eat, Vilsack digressed, “[t]his doesn’t mean that we are going to eliminate treats, not at all. But it is a circumstance, situation where treats have a special meaning, a special occasion, a special circumstance that we celebrate with a treat.” Perhaps the birthday of Barack Obama would suffice as that special occasion.
Equipped with new rules and federal encouragement to transform the public school cafeteria, North Carolina DHHS agents descended on West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford. After thoroughly investigating the foods in the lunch room, the dutiful state agent then examined the lunch box held by one petite four year old preschooler. He identified a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips, and apple juice. Brilliant as these agents so often are, and feeling empowered (feeling his oats to use a metaphor drawing from the grain group), the agent pronounced the home lunch deficient. He ordered the girl not to eat it. He made her eat the school lunch instead, thereby exercising his new federally backed power to ensure that every child receives all foods required to meet the national nutritional standard. This state agent did his part to save a skinny girl from an impending risk of obesity. Secretary Vilsack should be proud. His Gestapo like transformation of the school cafeteria is taking place.
Forced to buy the “official” school lunch, the petite girl examined the fare offered and decided it was not to her liking. She consumed three chicken nuggets from among the “official” offerings and rejected everything else. She does not like vegetables, according to her mother. Mom prepares delectable concoctions that include veggies that the little girl eats at home. Thus far in the insinuation of government control over the school menu, the little girl was not kept under state supervision while she ate and was not manacled and forced to take her veggies intravenously when she rejected the state offerings (but wait and see what tomorrow brings).
When the little girl returned home, she presented her mother with a $1.25 bill for the school lunch, and she returned to her mother the lunch from home, the “officially” rejected lunch. Her mother decided not to take this lying down, probably because she thought she lived in a country that protected her right to feed her child as she thought best. In the Carolina Journal Online, reporter Sara Burrows quotes the mother’s statements to her state representative G. L. Pridgen, “I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home.” Indeed. Her daughter had been traumatized by a state agent who made her feel guilty for the food she customarily consumed, and that for a lunch which, in the end, actually met the federal guidelines! The meal contained one serving of meat, one serving of dairy, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit. The agent, uh, messed up (as happens all too often). He apparently misunderstood that the rule requires two servings of fruit OR of vegetables. The word is not “and,” it’s “or.” It appears to be okay for North Carolina’s DHHS agents to be incapable of comprehending what they read, because the wayward DHHS agent retains his job.
I suspect that few of the North Carolina DHHS agents eat as well as the typical grade school student. I doubt that even Secretary Vilsack eats from all of the major food groups at every meal. You see rarely do the dictator’s own rules apply to the dictator. Rather, the dictator is free and all the rest of us are slaves.
Although the North Carolina DHHS agent apparently lacked the brain power necessary to discern what the new food rule required, that did not stop him from employing his newly granted enforcement powers against a defenseless toddler. When in doubt, act.
Jonathan M. Seidl of The Blaze contacted the North Carolina Division of Child Development to inquire of Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division, whether the little girl’s lunch from home satisfied the federal guidelines. The answer: “With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy . . . . It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.” Oops.
The point amply illustrated by this example of tyranny is that a grant of power is an inherently evil thing that must be limited if freedom is to survive. The freedom of a parent to decide what his or her child eats is, of course, basic. Federal deprivation of it, through the vehicle of complicit state agents, constitutes a gross violation of rights, one that no one respectful of liberty would ever commit. It is this administration, and ultimately President Barack Obama, who must account for this national violation of a most basic right.
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If we focus on this abuse alone, it proves the Obama administration’s utter disregard for constitutional limits on federal government power and amply justifies making President Obama’s a single term presidency. Sadly, the abuse visited upon this sweet four year old is typical of the abuses of the federal government against other law abiding Americans, throughout Obama’s presidency. There is no exercise of freedom this administration believes off limits for the federal government, no private decision it thinks government cannot regulate and “improve upon,” not even the choice of what foods a mother deems best for her child.
© 2012 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved