First Lady Michelle Obama Changes National Platform to now Promote Stricter Gun Control
This morning the Associated Press reported that First Lady Michelle Obama will be changing her platform for President Obama’s second term. In 2010, the First Lady began the “Let’s Move” campaign. The campaign was championed by many celebrities (including Beyonce) as a means to combat the ballooning obesity epidemic plaguing the children of this country. The First Lady wanted to find a means to begin to combat the ill-effects of poor diet and lack of adequate exercise amongst America’s youth. In a surprising move she is now focusing her time on preventing and deterring gun violence.
On Sunday I read an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune. Matea Gold and Kathleen Hennessey asked: “Did food industry alliances move first lady to silence?” I was planning on writing about that topic later this week but after today’s announcement I feel the question has become even more so relevant. The article states that she initially told executives “to step it up” to improve the foods they market to children. Gold and Hennessey suggest she was silenced a year later when many of her own supporters “mounted a fierce lobbying battle” against her guideline proposal in 2011.
The First Lady maintains that passing laws in Washington won’t by itself solve the obesity epidemic. She blames Congress for killing the marketing guidelines. The article adds that “fourteen companies that back Obama’s anti-obesity campaign helped kill the voluntary advertising guidelines.” So in fact her supporters are as much to blame for the failure of the program.
The administration’s proudest achievement was requiring restaurant menus to list calorie information. In addition, the administration was able to expand the free lunch program in 2010. Many public health advocates however say this isn’t enough. Critics have accused the First Lady of becoming “disengaged” from the subject all together.
I don’t know if you can say she is “disengaged.” I think she has learned that it isn’t easy to combat this issue. She probably estimated the enormity and complexity of the issue but she probably underestimated the political wall she would consistently encounter whenever she tried to implement a new measure. For someone who isn’t a politician, she probably has grown tired of the lack of results (AS HAVE I).
My honest assessment is that much like the president; the First Lady was naively optimistic and idealistic of what she could accomplish in the hyper-partisan political arena. Don’t get me wrong she should have high standards, but she shouldn’t allow this impasse to distract her from the mission.
I am a bit disappointed that she has changed her focus in this second term. As someone who is overweight her platform and mission was personally something I was very pleased she was undertaking. I feel she hasn’t seen this “fight” through enough. I think her new platform could be greatly combated by new legislation. I feel it is something her husband’s administration should undertake.
Overall, I think it is unfair to say she doesn’t care anymore. I don’t think she started the campaign because she doesn’t care. I think she might have just realized that combating childhood obesity isn’t as straightforward as she might have thought; although gun violence is a very complex issue as well. Whatever she chooses I hope she does a better job of spreading the message. After the first two years of the “Let’s Move” initiative, I feel it became engulfed by the redundancy of the campaign trail. I would be remiss if I did not state regardless of her involvement in the “Let’s Move” campaign, eradicating and preventing childhood obesity is an issue that would not have been solved while she was in office. It is an issue that will take at least a generation to change. I hope she is successful in whichever mission she hopes to accomplish.
Do you think she has done enough to combat childhood obesity?
What do you think of her changing her platform?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate