Click here to go to the Home Page Cover Story: Rick Santorum Has Become a Master at the Science Of Nutrition - The African World By Bill Fletcher, Jr., Editorial Board

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Just when you thought that you had heard enough ignorance, Rick Santorum opens his mouth.  In a speech this past week he announced that given the obesity problem in the USA there was no longer a great need for food stamps.

When i first read the posting regarding Santorum's statement I assumed that this was someone lampooning Santorum. I did not think that the level of idiocy represented in such a statement could come from even the biggest nitwits in the political class.  I was wrong.  My apologies.  I underestimated the stupidity and meanness of the political Right.

Obesity is a serious problem in the USA and it is particularly serious for Black America.  It is not, in the main, the result of overeating.  It is the result of poor eating.  Nutritional education in the USA has plummeted and too many people are eating too much of the wrong things, e.g., fried foods, junk food, soda.  But the problem is not simply nutritional education.  The reality is that in order to eat well, one must have access to good food, and specifically good food outlets. Yet in poor communities, and often in Black communities irrespective of whether they are poor, there is an absence of food stores providing high quality foods.  So, we often pay more for less, literally and figuratively.  Yet another factor is cost.  If you go to places like Whole Foods you can get some great food, but it comes at a significant cost, a cost that cannot be taken for granted when we are experiencing a profound economic crisis.

In hearing Santorum's remarks I had to wonder whether he assumes that obesity is simply the result of overeating or whether he assumes that obese individuals can just burn off the fat and not have to rely on the introduction of new foods.  In either case, the fact that Santorum was not run out of town on a rail after such a remark not only speaks to his ignorance and mean-spirited political agenda, but also speaks volumes regarding those who listen quietly and respectfully when a political figure pronounces starvation as a means of addressing budget deficits. Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfricaForum and co-author of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice (University of California Press), which examines the crisis of organized labor in the USA. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher.

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Dec 15, 2011 - Issue 452
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