I never thought being called an “ass” on national TV could be so much fun.
It happened the other night on Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor.” I was a guest with substitute host Juan Williams, and I was brought on to debate some anti-obesity activist -- who would ever think obesity could spawn activists? -- named MeMe somebody. I think her name is MeMe Roth. Or maybe it’s Ross. It’s not important.
The “debate” was over a new ordinance passed by a local government in Santa Clara, California that bans toys being sold with Happy Meals at McDonald’s. Now why in the world would the local Board of Supervisors bother to ban toys being sold with Happy Meals, one might ask? Evidently, they have the peculiar belief there that allowing parents to buy their own children meals at fast food restaurants that include toys only encourages the little whippersnappers to become fat.
I’m not kidding.
So when the Fox News producer invited me to appear on the show to discuss this little slice of insanity, I didn’t expect there’d be much of a debate. What could possibly be the argument? Seemed perfectly clear to me that Santa Clara, California has a few numbskulls that masquerade as Board of Supervisors who have nothing better to do with their time than to tell adults what products they may or may not purchase from a private business like McDonald’s.
But there would be a debate! MeMe whats-her-name was ready and loaded for bear.
She seemed to center on what she called “the nag factor.” She lectured me about how parents shouldn’t have to be subjected to their little bundles of joy nagging them into buying things that aren’t good for them, namely chicken strips or cheeseburgers that include little toy characters or plastic thing-a-ma-jigs, or whatever they’re putting in Happy Meals these days.
As the parent of four grown boys, I asked her if she was a parent, too. She sarcastically told me that she was quite capable of reproducing (this was not a very pleasant lady), and that yes, she did have two children.
At that point, I suggested that she might consider doing what my wife and I always did when our kids wanted something, and perhaps ponder the reaction of millions and millions of parents since the beginning of time -- say no.
That prompted a most interesting reply on her part: “Oh, don’t be an ass, Mike.”
Which led to guest-host Juan Williams, to give a, “Whoa, whoa there, MeMe!”
Whoa there, MeMe, indeed.
I hate to continue to pick on the anti-obesity activist. I think I got under her skin enough already.
But she advocates a point of view that is becoming an increasingly pervasive aspect of life in these United States. The belief that government must be the ultimate nanny to our children is one of the fundamental philosophical disagreements between the right and left. And the ideology that dictates more government instead of less is what is driving people into the streets with tea party rallies and protests.
Liberals don’t think parents can be left to their own devices when it comes to raising our children. In fact, at one point during the Fox News debate, MeMe told me that while she and I might be able to say no to our whining, nagging children, many American parents cannot. And that’s why an ordinance like this makes sense, she said.
The arrogance of the left always fascinates me. I suppose MeMe thinks she’ll be nominated for mother-of-the-year but other Americans are too stupid to know how to tell their child they’re not getting french fries for dinner.
We’re watching the government tell us what kind of health care coverage we must have, what kind of light bulbs we have to buy, how much water we can use to flush our toilets, and how much power our big screen TV’s are allowed to use. None of this comes by way of education or recommendation. These are mandates.
And now, along comes a local government that has decided to make McDonald’s Happy Meal toys the same as crack cocaine.
The Santa Clara story is the perfect snapshot of the direction our country is headed, unless we take action and put this train back on the rails again.
November 2, 2010 cannot get here quickly enough.