Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama claimed to share President Lincoln’s opinion “that government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.”
I thought about that today while running errands and noticing that virtually every billboard in my town directs citizens to federal government websites to help us do stuff.
“Take time to be a dad today,” urges one, with directions to visit www.fatherhood.gov. That’s the site of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, where our federal government helps men learn the skills and habits associated with being a good father.
A block farther, a concerned woman on a billboard asks, “Could I have lupus?” She, and we, are directed to visit www.couldihavelupus.gov, an initiative of the National Women's Health Information Center, which is a service of the Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This snazzy federal government site offers much of the same information that can be found at the not-for-profit www.lupus.org, where the Lupus Foundation of America provides support and education.
In fact, the .gov site even links to lupus.org, among sites of other nongovernmental organizations for lupus.
Heading toward home, I saw a billboard for first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign with Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” characters dancing beside the words, “Eat right. Be active. Have fun. Be our guest at www.letsmove.gov.”
Of course, those old, familiar food-pyramid billboards are being replaced with information about www.choosemyplate.gov, the new and improved program to help Americans eat more healthfully, though the abundance of .gov sites designed to improve our nutritional habits is almost too numerous to count.
Multiple nutrition sites are operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture and even the Department of the Interior (nutrition for American Indians falls into its domain). It’s amazing we’re so obese, really.