It’s been a long six months for this conservative.
Having failed to doomsday prep with Hostess snack cakes before the bankruptcy last fall, by mid-March I’d already developed a polysorbate deficiency and, by early June, had deteriorated to a state of partial hydrogenation caused by dangerously low levels of sodium pyrophosphate.
I know what you’re thinking. I could have stood in some government line and gotten my SNAP card to buy a few Little Debbie cakes to help with the tremens. But for me, sorbitan monostearate is the methadone of emulsifiers, and some of us have standards, culinary as well as political.
Besides, when you’ve been locked in a demographic death spiral since November, you’ve had enough errant thoughts about compromise to last a lifetime.
So I stood firm, twitching but unbowed.
And sure enough, I was rewarded. It seems the creamy center will hold after all, and Christmas in July will soon be upon us with the second coming of the venerable Hostess Twinkie, slouching toward Emporia, Kansas, to be born.
And just in time, as it turns out, because obesity has now been officially declared a disease by the American Medical Association.
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! It’s not my fault, I heard them say!
Actually, that’s not what they said. And the AMA’s decision to classify obesity as a disease wasn’t just another liberal attempt to explain away harmful lifestyle choices that are epidemic in some of the Democratic Party’s core constituent communities.
It was, I believe, a classic cigar-chomping backroom deal, sans the cigars, of course.
The AMA — which today bears no resemblance to yesteryear’s judicious council of Marcus Welby conservatives — must have been in collusion with the elected left, because once that new diagnosis was made, obesity could then be covered by insurance and addiction to unhealthy foods treated, all under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act.
Sound lucrative? You bet.
Sound expensive? Not a problem. With the federal government’s burden to treat obesity will come the government’s right to reduce the incidence of the disease by regulating what it deems to be causative behaviors through the taxing of commercial activities and products that foster them, likely enforced with a staggering swagger and sweep that would make even Mayor Bloomberg blush.
In fact, they’ve already started, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture drawing up nutritional standards for cupcakes sold at school bake sales.
Can $10 Ding Dongs be far behind?
Mind you, these are the same leftists who believe that any kind of prohibition in the areas of their own dissolute pleasures — sex and drugs — is regressive, repressive and repugnant, not to mention unconstitutional. And they’ll trot out the ACLU to try to prove it every time. Oh, yes, they go from Khrushchev to Kerouac in a hurry when their own pet freedoms are at stake.
And that’s the larger point. We all want it all. And we all want it both ways.
We Republicans want a small, tidy, utilitarian federal government that defers and refers whenever possible to the states. But when it comes to our deeply held social beliefs, we want a powerful and overarching federal government that will permanently codify our convictions throughout the nation, and prevent those with opposing convictions from ever doing so.
Democrats want to be the “party of science” until science proves that unborn babies at 20 weeks in the womb can feel excruciating pain during abortions. Then it’s “science be damned,” and they’re happy to be the filibustering obstructionists they so loudly decry when their own legislative sacred cows are threatened.
And then there’s the “average American,” who likes the idea of a European welfare state and eight weeks of paid vacation and a safety net as wide as the Platte River, as long as somebody else is paying for it.
As for the Affordable Care Act, it’s a goodie bag with a hole in the bottom. Most of the benefits it promises to the old and the sick and the poor unfortunately depend on those young, healthy millennials buying a government-approved health care policy, which could cost thousands of dollars each year. If they opt out, they’ll probably be fined less than half of what the policy would cost, and with no penalty when opting in sometime in the future. It makes no sense.
That’s why my advice to congressional Republicans is to not try to repeal Obamacare this year. Just let it play out. Between the individual mandate and the $10 Ding Dongs, we could end up seeing the greatest migration of voters to the Republican Party in our history.
Then we could turn our attention back to this dangerous world.
As for me, I don’t have any roadmap for peace. But I do believe that if Hostess were to begin exporting kosher Crumb Cakes and halal Ho Ho’s, we might begin to see a remarkable relieving of tensions throughout the Middle East.
After all, you can’t share a package of Ho Ho’s or Crumb Cakes with someone and have any hate left in your heart. (A little sodium stearoyl lactylate, maybe, but hate? I don’t think so.)
It’s a delicious thought, anyway.
Merry Christmas in July to all, and remember to chew responsibly.
Timothy Philen is the author of Harper&Row/Lippincott’s “You CAN Run Away From It!” a satirical indictment of American pop psychology. He is currently at work on a latter-day “Walden,” a collection of essays on post-modern American culture.