Why do you hate freedom? – Will Ferrell as George W. Bush
So, let’s say straight up from the start, yes. I absolutely do mean to get off on a rant here.
Among the many reasons that I am so energized, having found the low carb community intersection with endurance sports, is that I am hearing the same things here, that I have been milling for years in the real food movement. Monsanto is pure evil, the food industrial complex is corrupt, the FDA is a revolving door of industry CEO’s, the subsidies are growing agri business while killing farmers, GMO labeling is fought with billions of dollars, and anyone advocating something that doesn’t make stockholders tons of cash off of processed foods is a FRINGE LUNATIC WHO HATES THE FREE MARKET!!!!
If this is the free market, then sign me up with Che Guevara. Free market is easily the biggest lie in corporate owned America, and no place more egregious than in food policy and politics.
So yeah, get me in a room with some raw milk farmers, some anti-GMO vegetable raisers, and grass fed beef and pork ranchers, and we’ll start the march with pitchforks right to city hall!
Too bad both parties are so far beyond hope. Remember how the pro-pollution bill got labeled the Clean Air Act? Well, that’s pretty much the state of food policy whenever we pass a FARM bill.
So why am I particularly set off tonight?
School candy sale.
Now, I knew this was coming. And we already got the Girl Scout cookie forms Monday. If memory serves me, Girl Scout cookies are loaded with artificial trans fats, which even the most radical proponent of a high fat diet, will label straight up poison. But it’s Girl Scout cookie time. I believe in Girl Scouts. I especially believe in them when they anger my fundamentalist colleagues by their inclusiveness of girls and young women of any sexual orientation. I want to support the Girl Scouts. But why is it that the only way we’ll do so as a nation is to let them be our drug dealers? And before anyone comes back with the BS mantra of “oh come on, all things in moderation” I’ll be doing a whole series on the lie of moderation in America today. Survey the people in your life who buy Girl Scout cookies. What percentage are eating two at a time, over a month for a box?
So now it’s candy sale time too. And this is not a surprise, it always comes. When Olivia was in kindergarten she was so jazzed to sell enough to get a prize. I understood. As a kid, I was top seller of EVERYTHING in school. For band, scouts, school, I sold it all. I won a computer in 5th grade for selling the most vinyl records and magazine subscriptions. (Yes, I am that old.) It was a TI 99/4A. I wish I still had it for vintage value. As a cub scout, I sold Tom Wat with my wagon, door to door. In high school band, between my mother and myself, we sold over $1000 in citrus fruit one year. In 1986, that was an average of $15 per case. That’s a lot of cases of citrus. We delivered it all in a beast of a vehicle, my grandfather’s 1972 International Harvester Travel-all. 8 mpg on a good day.
So yeah, I get the excitement of selling for your cause. But something just rubs me the wrong way when the first time my son has come home from school all year announcing “oh Dad, I have something REALLY REALLY REALLY important for you here.” Usually he springs a surprise on me with a hug that was the secret important thing, but no he was convinced this thing he had was more vital than a report card. More important than a painting he made for home.
A mother F#@$$$ wolfgang candy flyer.
Now here’s the intersection of insanities that got me all riled up.
1. why can’t we raise money another way? (and I know the answer. Supply and demand, and we’re all a bunch of candy addicts. It’s easiest. I would say it’s low-hanging fruit, but that would further highlight the absurdity of the metaphor.)
2. Why is it that, while there is such a premium on assembly time or anything they call “extra” at school (in our district, art music and physical education are called “specials” if that is any indication of the low value that Snyder county culture puts on such things), in favor of teaching to the standardized testing (hardly unique for us)….. why is it, that they always find time for a real motivating, exciting, whiz-bang presentation from the fine folks at Wolfgang Candy to motivate these little moneymakers?
Why is this the most excited my kid is coming home from school? And I am talking about a high achieving, well behaved, teacher’s pet kind of kid. He gets excited about EVERYTHING. But something was drilled into him today that this candy sale is of utmost importance.
I know why. Because instead of a slice more in property taxes, schools have to pay for things with drug sales. And the private sector knows how to sell drugs. The paid, commission based folks that drive these sales are good at their jobs. And for it, the school sees what percentage of the sales? Not nearly enough.
I wish I could attend one of these some time. Something tells me it would be slightly less offensive than the opening scene of Role Models with the guys sponsored by an energy drink.
So yeah, I guess that if you question this kind of thing, you must
1. be a communist who hates the free market
2. not believe in private enterprise
3. love high taxes
4. believe in a nanny state that tells us what we can and cannot eat
Straw man? Don’t be so sure. I hear this line of reasoning every time a junk food issue affecting our children is discussed.
Here’s why I explode: I don’t care about your politics. Can we ever put party driven dogma aside for a minute and ask this question:
What part of your life is not best governed by market economics?
See folks, I believe in the free market. I just don’t think it exists. It’s rigged, subsidized, and stacked against actual entrepeneurs. if you have any doubt of that, Netflix has Farmageddon streaming.
But even if it were truly a free market, is there no part of the human existence that operates outside of it? This is a topic for faith based communities as well. I don’t have a grand answer. I only have an angry rant right now. But it begins with this question:
why is our children’s health and education funding, so reliant on a subsidized processed food industry that NO nutrition expert, from vegan to paleo or anything else, believes to be a good idea?
If you want to buy some of Jack’s candy, I won’t freak out and stop it. But I’m not pushing it either. I know fundraising can be done in other ways. We raised over $6000 for a preschool with a 5k, in a town that never had a 5k before. EVER. Six grand in the first year.
It can be done. It takes work, it takes commitment, and it takes thinking outside the easy drug dealing box. And yes, I am willing to go to a PTO meeting and offer to lead another option. I have little hope to be heard. I don’t blame our PTO or district in particular, this is America today.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Naming what’s wrong in our society does not mean one does not love it. I want a better America for my kids. I love it. I just think it has some serious freaking issues.