Conservative satirist finds humor, fear factor in new school lunch rules
Effective March 26, kids will be required to put fruits or vegetables on their trays in the lunch line. School cafeterias with salad bars must monitor the salad eaters “to ensure that students actually take the minimum required portion size” deemed nutritionally necessary for their age.
No school kids will be served whole milk or even 2 percent-fat milk; only 1 percent or fat-free milk will be allowed. However, “students may decline milk,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture generously concedes in its new rules for school lunches.
It’s not hard to see what lies ahead, says Stephen Goldberg, author of Obama’s Shorts (www.ObamasShorts.com), a collection of 23 satirical short stories that take a humorous look at the new rules and regulations governing Americans’ lives.
“How about a National Nutritional Enforcement Agency that provides federal agents, unarmed, of course, to make sure all students are Clean Plate Clubbers?” he asks.
And forget mandatory health insurance, he says, we have a much bigger problem.
“We’re ripe for a Patients’ Waiting Room Fairness Act. Some people can’t afford a phone or computer. Some can’t speak English. Why should they have to wait longer than people who can make appointments?
“The Waiting Room Fairness Act will ensure it’s first come, first served,” Goldberg says. “That’s only fair.”
A stand-up comic-turned-dentist, Goldberg says there are some serious concerns underlying his hyperbole. Too many Americans don’t understand the principles upon which the United States was created, so they’re blind to just how far from them we’ve strayed. There’s nothing like a dose of humor to provide some education.
“The Constitution set things up so we would be ruled from the bottom up with only a few things controlled by the federal government,” Goldberg says. “Now it is completely upside down.
“Take school lunches. Most parents pay for them. Shouldn’t they be the ones telling their kids what they should put on their plate? These new rules have been created, in part, to ‘help mitigate the childhood obesity trend,’ the USDA says. What if you’ve got a skinny kid who’s a picky eater and you want him to have the choice of drinking whole milk?”
The Constitution was crafted with the family as the political base, Goldberg says. For things a family couldn’t possibly accomplish, the Founding Fathers looked to communities to be in charge. And what the community couldn’t do, the state would handle.
“The federal government got only a few powers, like war and international trade. That also helped ensure that the different beliefs, cultures and values of different communities would be protected.
“Think it’s far-fetched imagining a day when federal agents search lunchboxes for cookie contraband?” Goldberg asks. “How about a National Potato Council accusing the feds of treating their tuber like a ‘second-class vegetable’ in its lunchroom rules?
“Yes, there is a National Potato Council. And yes, that’s what they said.”
Stephen Goldberg started his professional life as a comedian and turned to dentistry as a more reliable way to make a living – though he never stopped getting his audience to laugh. He’s been married 45 years and has three children and three grandchildren.