First the lunch Nazis came in their moon buggies to force healthier school meals on children with a tyrannical attempt to redefine pizza sauce as “not a vegetable.” They lost! So now the lunch Nazis are back again to wage a devious new battle that is confusingly the total opposite of the previous one: They are stealing healthy homemade lunches from children and forcing them to eat the poisonous sawdust shavings the agricultural industry repackages to dump in school cafeterias! According to recent shrieking noises from the right-wing blog section of the Internet, a government agent stormed into a North Carolina school cafeteria, stole a preschooler’s turkey sandwich and her apple and then forced the preschooler to go stand in the Soviet cafeteria line and cry high-sodium tears while she was given a new tray piled with deep-fried chicken toenails. Thus a group of confused wingnuts gathered for a “lunch-in” today in D.C.’s Freedom Plaza to eat low-calorie sandwiches and fruit, to protest the government. Has Michelle Obama’s campaign to fight childhood obesity been going about it the wrong way this whole time?
“We just sat down and had a nice lunch,” protest organizer David Almasi says of today’s protest. “It was our way of thumbing our nose at the federal regulators.”
THAT’LL SHOW EM. So what really happened on that dreary day in North Carolina when freedom was murdered? As usual, it is another idiotic tale of a disgruntled American suffering from the oppression of a government social program in which she voluntarily chose to enroll her child.
The original story further obscures that in no circumstance was this child – or any child, for that matter – being forced to eat the school-provided lunch, nor was this child -or any other child – deprived of her boxed lunch. Instead, as the second linked story acknowledges, the child was just provided with additional food and given the option to consume that in addition to her boxed lunch. In other words, the claim that the school “replaced” this girl’s turkey sandwich, banana, apple, potato chips, and juice with chicken nuggets is totally bogus.
By and large, what this story boils down to is that a low-income child whose tuition is fully subsidized by the state under a program her mother opted into was offered some additional food to supplement the boxed lunch she brought from home. This option was provided not because of some overarching, generally applicable law or regulation, but because the program in which her mother and school voluntarily participate requires such an option be available. The mother apparently objects to this option being provided to her daughter, not because of any health concerns or the like, but because she incorrectly believes that she will be charged additional money for her child being provided this option. Since she won’t in fact be charged for this and there is no evidence she was ever going to be charged for it, there is absolutely no harm actually being done to her or her child.
Since this is also an opt-in program, there is no chance of this becoming some sort of generally applicable concern even to the extent there is some sort of nanny state concern here. If the mother has some sort of ethical problem with her child being provided with the option of drinking milk or eating vegetables at school, then she is surely free to send her child to an unsubsidized day care program.
Oh well. If the net result was still a group of panicky teabaggers sharing a reasonably healthy mid-day meal with their children in a fit of sheer outrage, there are worse things. [Weekly Standard/ Mark Thompson]