CNN’s Roland Martin’s Reckless Views on Palin and Personal Responsibility

The North Korea/South Korea “nontroversy” was not the only thing that commentators took issue with in Governor Palin’s radio interviews on Wednesday. CNN commentator Roland Martin found it necessary to address a comment that Governor Palin made about First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative on Laura Ingraham’s show. Martin actually provides the partial transcript from the radio appearance in his piece:

Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.

And I know I’m going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.

Governor Palin called it, as she is indeed being criticized for bring this up. I do give Martin a tiny bit credit, at least he attempted to criticize Governor Palin on policy, instead of something non-substantive. This only comes after he refers to her as the “Kim Kardashian of politics” for the second time in two weeks. However, it would have been nice if he would have addressed what she said, not what she did not say. Governor Palin takes issue with the First Lady, the Obama administration, and liberals who think that government intervention is the way to solve every societal problem. Governor Palin does not deny the problem of obesity in America nor does she think that such a problem should not be addressed. In his argument, Martin shamelessly tries to play the “military card” on Governor Palin:

Now, since Palin is always talking about our nation’s military and how we have to honor them and show them love and affection, let’s listen to what a group of generals said a few months ago about obesity and America’s national defense.

A study released in April by Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit group of more than 150 retired generals and admirals, concluded that 27 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are too fat to join the military.

In testimony before Congress, the former head of the California Army National Guard, retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Paul Monroe, said that “80 percent of children who were overweight between the ages of 10 to 15 were obese by age 25.”

He and other military leaders want Congress to enact a massive child nutrition bill to remove all junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, improve nutrition standards in schools, upgrade school menus and, the group said, “help develop new school-based strategies, based on research, that help parents and children adopt healthier lifelong eating and exercise habits.”

So, Sarah Palin, are you going to also rip into this decorated American and say that he and 150 other military leaders are dead wrong?

While the facts of the levels of obesity in young adults of age to enlist in the military are indeed alarming, it’s hard to ignore the fact the the study that Martin references is funded by organizations such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the W.K.Kellogg Foundation, both of which have decidedly liberal agendas that would influence the recommendations that this organization would offer. Martin’s suggestion that, as a major supporter of the military, Governor Palin should agree with a small group of military leaders on nutrition policy is nothing more than tasteless baiting.

Since President Obama took office, the federal government and even government at state and local levels have tried to address the problem of obesity, improper nutrition, and physical activity through further legislation and nanny state regulations. The Institute of Medicine has recommended putting restrictions on the amount of salt that can be in food. The city of San Francisco has recently banned kids’ meals offering toys if the meal contains over a certain number of calories and levels of sodium or fat. Additionally, this Spring the Commissioner of Food and Drugs recommended that the FDA require food companies to put nutrition information the front of the box. Apparently, in the eyes of this regulator, we are too unintelligent or lazy to turn the box over to read about the nutrition of our food. The government has continued to act as a nanny state, rather than a protector of liberty for individuals and families. As Governor Palin highlighted in a recent speech, Pennsylvania had been discussing banning sweets from classroom celebrations in public schools, so Governor Palin brought cookies to kids at private school where she spoke. At this speech, Governor Palin said:

I wanted these kids to bring home the idea to their parents for discussion.Who should be making the decisions what you eat, school choice and everything else? Should it be government or should it be the parents? It should be the parents.

Governor Palin is one who believes firmly believes in the need to reduce obesity and for America to become more healthy. However, her belief is that government’s role in this should be limited. The government does not need to ban happy meals, sweets from classroom parties, or regulate salt. Governor Palin believes that the government has its proper role in healthcare, but that personal responsibility and personal choices are the key to good health. In her book, Going Rogue, one line encapsulated her view on government and personal responsibility across many policy issues, “the role of government is to protect us, not perfect us”. Something that Roland Martin does not understand about Governor Palin’s stance:

This latest broadside by Palin shows how reckless and ridiculous she is.

Libertarians and far right conservative Republicans are always talking about government intrusion into our lives, but when we look at clean water, air quality and food supply, thank God for governmental standards.

Actually, Governor Palin does see a proper, yet limited role for government in protecting health and nutrition, not perfecting Americans. Governor Palin addressed the issue health care reform, childhood obesity, personal responsibility in health, and government’s role in protecting the food supply in her State of the State address in 2009. Keep in mind, this speech was given prior to health care reform discussions, showing Governor Palin’s prescience once again (video courtesy of Sheya at PalinTV):

Martin closes out his piece by affirming what Governor Palin believes about nutrition, exercise, and health:

Don’t think for a second I’m not paying attention. I’ve increased my health awareness, am changing my diet and working out more to lose weight, and am pushing family members to do the same.

Notice how Martin didn’t say, ” The government has increased my health awareness, changed my diet, and forced me to work out more to lose weight, and pushed my family members to do the same”. Changes to diet and exercise to improve one’s health and one’s family’s health is a personal responsibility. Martin proves Governor Palin’s point.

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