As a rule, I do not think First Ladies should come in for much criticism. Generally speaking, they do volunteer work, trying to pick out some areas where they can help improve America. It’s not their fault that the chub they married ended up as President of the United States.
With Michelle Obama, what’s there not to like? She is doing some good work, and raising daughters in the hothouse atmosphere of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Sure, the White House will use her politically as they did this week in Nevada to shore up Sen. Harry Reid.
As everyone knows, the First Lady is working on fighting childhood obesity with exercise and healthy food choices. What’s there not to like about that? I want to make this clear–nothing whatsoever.
Still I think someone should point out that it sounds creepy whenever governments start talking about calorie restrictions. I am, of course, referring to the pledge the packaged food industry has made to Mrs. Obama to take 1.5 trillion calories out of their products by 2015.
All of this is being done the name of fighting childhood obesity, a good cause.
But history is full of examples of where in the name of a good cause, governments tried to restrict somebody’s calories and it ‘s always creepy. After World War II, the United States decided Germany would eat less so the rest of Europe could eat more.
We limited Germans to 1,500 calories per day, closed its border to food package shipments, and put our troops under orders to destroy their excess food rather than sharing it with local Germans.
Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Secretary of Treasury, was behind the plan to keep German’s hungry for a couple of years after the war. He wanted to reduce Germany’s future war-making tendencies–a good cause.
Not a fan of caloric restrictions, however, was Harry Truman. The winter of 1946-47 was especially harsh, and it was then that Truman let the food flow. A year later, the same President ordered the Berlin Airlift to feed the western areas of the city that were blockaded by the Soviet Union.
What young Germans would remember about the dark days after World War II were not the calorie restrictions, but the “Candy Bombers,” the airlift pilots who threw candy bars to hungry German kids on the ground as they approached Tempelhof Airport with loads of food and coal to keep Berlin alive and free.