Driving on a very cold day recently and searching the car radio for something more than rock or country western, I hit the seek button and suddenly was jolted by a woman's voice that within seconds warned me that I was about to have my constitutional rights usurped through control of my diet.
With some of the same fascination for the bizarre that compels one to watch a praying mantis dispose of her mate after conjugation, I resisted the temptation to turn away. I was transfixed, even shaken.
How could this be? Was there actually a giant White House conspiracy to control every aspect of my life,even the inalienable right to shorten it through gluttony? Is Michele Obama's war on obesity an actual first step toward that end?
I had no idea who owned the voice filling the car with such frightening rhetoric. I even considered for a moment that a voice on high had taken over control of the airways and was directing a personal alert to me. After a few more shattering observations often in a mocking tone, the person scaring 10 pounds off me was identified as one Laura Ingram, whom I vaguely recognized as a regular herald of doom and disaster.
There are a pervasive number of these people out there in radio land, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn't listening to a messenger from the other world, just one who regularly predicts things like "the world is coming to an end in 10 days if they can find enough trumpeters, but they probably won't be able to because the Democrats (i.e. Obama and company) are trying to ban the instrument along with hamburgers."
Imagine my relief. I even prided myself that being able to recognize the difference between them and an actual soothsayer lifted me a degree or so above the lowest common denominator that seems to be much of their audience. Well, at least I liked to think it did. But everyone wants to be a snob now and then.
I listened for only a few minutes more before switching back to a hard rock station which reaffirmed my conclusion that I was still in the 21st Century and not in the 19th where Ms. Ingram and others appear to live or would like us to return to. That of course is their constitutional prerogative and I would do nothing to disturb that except turn it off whenever I inadvertently hit their number on the dial. That, of course, is the same reaction they would have for me if they read one of my columns, which doesn't seem likely.
How, I wondered as I drove on comforted by the blare of an unintelligible heavy metal band, is the first lady's campaign to stop us from doubling ourselves through dietary insanity a subversive plot to undermine our basic freedoms?
Is not cautioning us about the evils of overindulgence at an early age worthy of at least philosophical detente and political bipartisanship? And is it blasphemous to say that breast feeding is a good thing because it helps fight the expanded tummy syndrome at the earliest age? Is allowing working mothers a tax break for breast pumps grounds for a congressional investigation as unfair to those who choose to bottle feed formula?
Apparently that is the case since leading conservative mouths like Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann have turned it into a major issue right up there with the soaring deficit. Could it be that by disparaging even the common sense encouragement of better diet, the real object is to question the legitimacy of the Obama family's occupancy of the White House?
Unfortunately, millions of Americans who daily turn their dials to the shrill allegations of government run amuck and leaders who are Godless exponents of control right out of George Orwell by Aldus Huxley really thinks so.
What they miss is what drives their heroes' engines -- money and lots of it. One gets the feeling that many of these prognosticators could, as they say, "teach it round or teach it flat," whoever pays the most. It would be hard to imagine they actually believe all the drivel they espouse during drive time.