There is not a day that passes now without some news of the Trump administration undoing something that was done during the Obama administration. It might be a big, important thing like consumer protections in the financial industry or oil pipeline construction, or it might be a smaller thing that, on the surface, seemed like a good idea that would benefit all of us and that no one could really object to, like the designation of a National Monument.
But it is now clear that the principal objective of the current administration is to remove any evidence or traces that Barack Obama was ever the President of the United States. Rather than moving forward, Trump is focused on moving backward eight years.
Yesterday, it was the “rollback” of Michelle Obama’s healthy lunch initiative, which was aimed at reducing childhood obesity by implementing better standards for school lunches. The “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” was signed into law by President Obama in 2010.
Huge victory over the forces of evil, apparently, as Sonny Perdue, our Secretary of Agriculture, vowed to “Make School Meals Great Again.” Seriously. That’s what he said. And, “schools will no longer have to try so hard to cut the salt in students’ meals or work in whole grains and non-fat milk.”
Margo Woota, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said, “It’s discouraging that just days into his tenure, one of the first things that Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will do is to roll back progress on the quality of the meals served to America’s children.”
I have a Hungarian friend who moved to Spain several years ago because the “conservative” government in Hungary was driving him crazy. He explained that even though they controlled everything in Hungary and have everything they want, they still had to do some small but awful thing virtually every day just to antagonize their opponents on the left and rub their noses in it. It might be something like reducing support for the arts, making some rule that irritated bicyclists, or simply insulting some public figure for no real reason.
He said he thought it was just to keep everyone on the left, or, as he put it, anyone with a little heart, on the defensive and in a state of anxiety and upset. He said he thought Trump was behaving similarly because if things were just quiet and normal for a while, there might be a breather in which people would wake up and actually get together and impeach the guy. His theory was that as long as everybody was running around madly reacting to daily outrages, no organized effort to hold Trump accountable for ethics breaches or other impeachable offenses could really get rolling.
I don’t know if Trump can really be that devious. He just seems like an impulsive, ignorant, unprincipled man-baby to me. It would be far simpler to just be a good leader, to be the President of everyone including his enemies, as a way to avoid problems, even if it was nothing more than a cynical tactic to raise his approval rating. It would be easier just to do the right thing once in a while, rather than to pounce on every opportunity to punish your detractors.
But it just isn’t going to be that way, and with the likes of Perdue and Betsy DeVos making policy for our kids, it seems like the children are destined to be fat and dumb, while the corporate elite will be happy.