I haven't ranted about it in a while, but one of the hottest button issues for me is that fact that U.S. policy sends the very clear message that poor people are lesser people. The combination of food policy that makes eating healthily and affordably more challenging than it should be, and health care policy that is sub-standard to any other industrialized nation, this is the message: If you are poor it is OK if you get sicker and die younger and quicker.
So, obviously the final piece of my BlogHer colleague Elaine Wu's interview with former Gourmet EIC Ruth Reichl resonated with me:
ELAINE: As a parent, what do you think about the current debate about how we’re feeding our children in this country?
RUTH: We’ve allowed our children to be addicted to fat, salt and sugar and we’re not holding companies accountable. In Japan, kids eat fish and rice for breakfast and Americans eat sugary pastries. Eating is learned behavior. This is the biggest crisis we face in this country. We have a two tier diet in this country. If you’re poor you’re stuck with what we call “food” and we need to fix it. You can debate it till the cows come home, but there is no debate.
I hope people interpret Reichl's use of the word "we" as I do: We, as in we who elect officials. We, as in we who make decisions every day on how we spend our money. We, as in we who should be accountable for our personal choices, but should also hold our government accountable for making the concept of "choice" so much less empowering for lower income families.
I was due for a food policy rant, so there it is. Thanks Ms. Reichl. And thanks Elaine for asking her the question. :)