thanks to slow food for the link to this must-read article in yesterday’s washington post, “The new front in the culture wars: food” about the right’s attempt to show liberals and localvores as elitist and unamerican because we just don’t understand that folks don’t want us poking our snooty noses into their eating habits. according to glenn beck, attempts to ‘beef up’ food safety legislation is simply an attempt by the government to turn everyone into vegetarians by increasing the price of factory raised beef and poultry…um, okay.
so instead of talking about food, we are talking about class:
Both sides in this gustatory dust-up understand just how dangerous it is to tell people how to eat. The right’s cultural warriors see an opportunity to turn the complicated issue of food into a class-war weapon – and to make nice with the fast-food industry, which has donated generously to the GOP. They are banking on the fact that over the past 60 years, the American way of eating has moved from small farms and home-cooked meals to industrial production and drive-throughs. The Golden Arches long ago replaced Mom’s apple pie as a symbol of the all-American meal. Thus, “Don’t let them take away your Big Mac!” becomes a rallying cry.
This transformation has been sold to us as progress, though not without consequences: Obesity-related diseases cost $150 billion annually.
for many of us, the connection between preventable diseases (heart disease, diabetes, obesity) and quality of food is quite clear. but it is a powerful tactic of the right to make this a “good vs. bad american” issue. the authors believe that people might be more open to a local economy argument: when you eat the majority of your meals at chains and from industrial conglomerates, very little (if any) of that money stays in the community and the only jobs that are provided are minimum wage.
“voting with your fork” does not mean stabbing your mc rib sandwich in its strange and spongy heart, and being anti-GMO does not make me better than you. this is a matter of worrying about the health of our nation, and i can’t imagine anything more american than that.
additional reading: “junking junk food” in the new york times