Jamie Scott, right, and her sister Gladys Scott. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Jamie and Gladys Scott have been getting some unfortunate messages lately, if they watch TV or listen to the radio. The sisters, 38 and 36 years old, respectively, were released from a Mississippi prison last year—the commutation of the ridiculously draconian double-life sentences they’d received for their part in a 1994 robbery that netted $11—on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie, who is diabetic and requires daily dialysis. Their doctor, though, has said that Jamie must lose 100 pounds before she is ready to receive a new organ, and that Gladys must shed 40 and quit smoking before she’ll be able to donate. So the Scotts are dieting and working out.
They do so with the support of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program. Launched last year, it is a good initiative for the first lady to take. America suffers from an obesity epidemic—as evidenced by the many folks in the country who are as overweight as the Scott sisters. The “Let’s Move” program encourages people to eat healthier. It’s simple and straightforward and, seemingly, about as far from controversial as anything you could imagine.
In a radio interview in November, though, Sarah Palin attacked Let’s Move as an example of the “government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities. Just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.” Palin then mocked the first lady on her reality show Sarah Palin’s Alaska, serving her daughters s’mores “in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert."
This past Monday, Rush Limbaugh got in on the act. The popular radio host had a field day with a report that the first lady had ordered ribs at a restaurant in Vail, Colorado. “I’m sure you’re aware nutritionist-at-large Michelle Obama is urging, demanding, advocating, requiring what everybody can and can’t eat,” he said. “She’s demanding that everyone basically eat cardboard and tofu. No calories, no fat, no nothing. Gotta stop obesity.”
And then, “The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice. And then we hear that she's out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per serving.”
Here’s the thing, though: Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh are lying. Michelle Obama never said that Americans should not have desert. She didn’t say Americans should never eat ribs. She never “demanded” anything. And a phone call to the restaurant proved that Limbaugh’s calorie count was about 1,000 calories high.
The fact that even had to be checked is embarrassing. Hopefully, as Jamie and Gladys try to get themselves healthier, they’ll know which voices to listen to in this ridiculous country. Lots of Americans are overweight. But only some act like swine.