1. Yes, soda is not the sole or leading cause of obesity. Clearly, though, it is helping to make people more obese. Nobody can possibly argue that it has a positive or neutral impact on the public’s health. Its effect on society is generally bad. And whether or not health care is socialized or privatized, we all feel the ripple effects of obesity-related diseases and deaths on our pocketbooks.
2. Although Bloomberg’s proposal is being called a “soda ban,” soda is of course not being banned. Large portions of sugary drinks at delis, movie theaters, sports arenas, etc. will no longer be available for purchase. I’ve never heard of a “right” guaranteed by anyone or anything to have access to large sugary drinks in every place that sells soda. Just because one can currently buy a giant cup of Pepsi at a movie theater does not mean one is forever entitled to do so.
3. Because soda is not actually being banned, Bloomberg’s proposal cannot be equated with bans on other products. It is illegal to buy heroin but those who advocate legalizing this product also believe there should be restrictions and regulations attached to its sale. Alcohol is legal but it cannot be sold to anyone, anywhere, at any time. We restrict the access and sales of products all the time. Not all of these restrictions make sense but everyone, to one degree or another, believes in the restriction or regulation of certain products. These regulations ensure that consumers are engaged in fair and safe transactions.
4. Many of the arguments being used against the soda restriction are just patently false and disingenuous. For instance, Paul Ryan said ”Hey, look, I gave up pop for Lent three years ago. I haven’t had one since. But that’s up to you, do what you want with your life.” It shouldn’t be necessary to list the ways in which Paul Ryan doesn’t believe in allowing people to do what they want with their lives.
5. When people argue that the soda restriction is outrageous because there are so many other unhealthy products available for sale, they are essentially implying a slippery slope argument: “If we ban the sale of large sugary drinks in certain places, then we’ll have to ban the sale of everything that is large and unhealthy.” Of course this is not the case and nobody has proposed nor would propose outlawing everything that could be considered unhealthy.
6. Another common argument is that it’s not government’s job to tell restaurants or sports arenas what they can serve or how much of a certain item they can serve. In fact, state and local governments regulate these things all the time. Most movie theaters are not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. Sports arenas can frequently only serve alcoholic beverages in certain quantities in certain containers for a certain amount of time. Fast food restaurants must comply with many restrictions designed to protect consumers from fraudulent or unhealthy products. Bloomberg’s soda restriction therefore is not unprecedented.
7. The arguments against the soda restriction frequently ignore the obesity epidemic plaguing our country. This is an epidemic that effects everyone sooner or later and is entirely avoidable. Restricting soda container sizes is merely a drop in the bucket but it will result in less sugary drinks being consumed, which is a good thing.
8. We all know that smaller portions of soda are not going to suddenly reverse the rise of obesity rates. The soda restriction must be part of a larger initiative to provide healthier choices for the public. The thing that is perhaps most bizarre about the outrage over Bloomberg’s soda “ban” is that if it were to go into effect, everyone would adjust quickly and easily and nobody would feel that their rights were being violated because they couldn’t buy a big soda everywhere they went. It’s a rather small and simple idea designed to make the public more health-conscious. I fail to understand how this justifies such widespread ire.
We’ve got this explosion of diabetes in America among young people. For the first time, Type II diabetes is showing up in 9-year-olds and among the Baby Boomers who are retiring. And together, these things are going to bankrupt us. It’s a terrible human tragedy, and it’s basically too much sugar going into the body, we can’t process it all.
So if you get rid of these giant, full-of-sugar, drinks and make people have smaller portions, it will help. I know a lot of people think, ‘Well, this is a nanny state and [Bloomberg is] interfering.’ But these are very serious problems. It’s like shortening your life and undermining the quality of your life and exploding the cost of our healthcare system.
If government can deny freedom to one, it can deny freedom to all. Exclusion and equality are mortal enemies – and in America, every time they have met in battle, equality has ultimately triumphed.
Throughout our history, each and every generation has expanded upon the freedoms won by their parents and grandparents. Each and every generation has removed some barrier to full participation in the American dream. That work is not over. Far from it.
And – I would argue – last week’s referendum banning same-sex marriage shows just how much more work needs to be done to ensure freedom and equality for all people.
When the torch passes from one generation to the next, the light of liberty always shines more brightly. And I have no doubt that in your lifetime, liberty’s light will allow us to see more clearly the truth of our nation’s founding principles, and allow us to see all people, and all couples, as full and equal members of the American family.
The ‘stand the ground,’ as they’re called, laws are opposed by law enforcement and opposed by prosecutors. And there’s another issue, which I didn’t read very much about. The shooter, this guy Zimmerman, how could he have had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, a loaded gun in the first place? Because long before he shot Trayvon Martin, he was arrested for attacking a police officer and was the subject of a court order to prevent domestic violence.
But unfortunately, in Florida, the gun laws are very lax. And unfortunately, law-enforcement officials have never been able to revoke this guy’s license to carry a loaded gun in public.