In a world rife with complexity and confusion, doing everything we can to get kids to drink less soda pop is a goal that’s pretty easy to understand.
Maybe not for everyone, and especially not for some of the people you’ve elected to run Aurora.
For hours during the past few weeks, city lawmakers have argued whether Aurora should intervene in restaurant kids-meal menus. The feud has erupted with all the vicious fervor of clashing over an assault weapons ban.
The scariest thing ever in Aurora right now? It’s a city council bill that would force restaurants that serve kids meals to say, lunch or dinner comes with water or milk, and that if you want pop, lemonade or a double martini, you have to ask for it.
Is that so hard to understand?
It is for Councilmember Dave Gruber, who endlessly battered Aurora city staffers this week with, “I don’t understand what we’re doing here.”
Let’s spell it out for Gruber and other lawmakers who were squealing with fear about Big Government stepping in to be your baby’s mommy or daddy, run their lives and force them to do unspeakable horrors, like lose a few pounds or slow down on rotting their teeth.
“Hi, may I take your order?”
“Yes, I’d like a kids meal cheeseburger for Baby Ruth, and 64 super-tacos for myself.”
“Water or milk with the kiddy cheeseburger?”
“And to drink with the tacos?”
“A keg of beer.”
“Please drive ahead to the pick-up window.”
Pretty simple, huh?
That’s, however, what Gruber, and councilmembers Marsha Berzins and Curtis Gardner, are so stymied by.
Whaaaaaat? Water with fowl nuggets and not a high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden calorie bomb? That’s just un-American.
They’re right about that. American kids and their mommies and daddies are more obese and unhealthy than ever before. As a nation of overweight sloths, the life expectancy of the country is falling backward for the first time —since ever.
And kids are carrying the brunt of the weight of our national nutritional stupidity. The rate of childhood obesity has become so dangerous that high blood pressure and diabetes are now regular childhood maladies.
The problem is serious enough that seemingly every childhood and public health-care advocacy and treatment group in the region turned out in person or via letters to back this modest Aurora law.
Modest is a generous description of how many kids this measure will make svelte. More than one person during Monday’s bedlam pointed out that limiting kiddie Cokes is not the cure for what ails us: overeating and living on the couch.
But what this measure does is make parents and everyone think for a moment when we think the least, ordering dinner out. Our nation’s kids really might get healthier one soft-drink at a time. It can make parents realize that little Jabba Junior in the back seat should probably have apple sauce with his nuggets and water, instead of freedom fries and a deep-fried Snickers bar.
At the very least, just a simple change in menu will probably get thousands of Aurora kids to miss a dose of fake sugar for at least one meal.
Opponents say it’s an assault on parental rights.
There’s nothing in the measure that tells restaurants they can’t poison kiddie teeth and pancreases if parents want to do it. To get back to a past that is ruining a healthy future for our kids, all you have to say is, “Can Muffin have a Coke with that instead of milk?”
That’s it. But for that change, the three patron saints of the rip-off insulin industry laid out a scorched earth fountain of propaganda and misinformation that would make Sara Huckabee Sanders turn Mountain Dew green with envy.
Gardner said physicians and public health officials who showed up for the Monday Council Circus of the Gnars were “intellectually dishonest.”
Gardner saw for himself on The Internets that milk is not a low-calorie beverage and actually has “more sugar” than a pop.
Since it’s Gardner who brought up intellectualism, it’s OK here to point out he clearly did not reach back far enough into high-school biology or The Google to learn the biochemical difference between sucrose, glucose, lactose, fructose and all their variants that make so many get business-rather-than-science degrees.
Milk as health food rather than a marketing meme of the National Dairy Association is a valid argument for those who can follow along. But you have to be a gack to brag that cow milk is nutritionally inferior to Dr. Pepper.
It only gets worse. Among cries that the guvamint has no place in guiding what we feed our kids, Berzins raised the underlying alarm that rings true with their anti-nanny troops: “What next, ketchup?” Berzins queried the free world outside of Aurora City Council Chambers.
Yes! Yes, Aurora. This is all a secret liberal plot to rip everything but sun-dried crunchy kelp and quinoa crumpets from the mouths of your babies.
Oh, stop. There is a real argument that the state, the feds, the health department or just nobody should diddle the knobs of the menu of the American public and their pudgy progeny. But to say that this bill is going to chase restaurants out of the city or consumers to the McD’s on the Denver side of the line, where red-blooded and arterial-sclerotic Americans can just say,”Pepsi, dammit,” is just dumb as a bucket of dirty milk-shake straws.
Of course this will take some city funds to implement. Yes, your tax dollars will be used to police kiddie-menu scofflaws sometimes. But these few dollars are nothing compared to the trillions of dollars every American must pay in taxes or health-insurance costs to treat nutritionally bankrupt and super-sized American kids and their sires.
So stop the fist pounding, the demeaning lies and abusive harrumphing on an issue that will neither make nor break this city nor the restaurants that serve here.
Give it a shot. Count how many soda pops and juicy froozies are undrunk by this law. And save the big guns on the council dais for the real battles that are certain to come.
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