We oppose having healthy children?

Enough is enough. Using a seat on the school board as a platform to shove a politically based agenda down the throats of the citizens of Pickens County is not in the best interest of anyone.

6-25 Page 4A.inddA school board member apparently takes the following position: “We want our children to be fat and unhealthy, because we dislike Michelle Obama and she wants our children to be fit and healthy. Since this is her idea, we oppose it no matter how it affects anybody.”

Not only was this incident embarrassing, it was inappropriate. Why expose us to the kind of attention this is attracting? That’s not supposed to be the focus of a school board member. Whatever his political views, opposing the improved lunch fare in our schools is just irresponsible.

Americans are suffering from obesity. Our packaged foods are packed with excess sugar, fat, salt and starch. No matter what anyone says, pizza and potato chips are not a balanced diet. That’s a fact.

And like global warming, it’s not going to go away just because some people don’t want to believe it. Does anyone remember when America put a man on the moon and there were those who denied it happened? They said it was all faked and the landing was actually filmed in the desert.

And just as there was denial of the facts then, there are still those out there who ignore the truth.

Sugar is addictive. When the human body becomes accustomed to eating a lot of fatty, starchy and sweet food, switching lanes takes some adjustment time.

Here’s some news for naysayers. Cheese doesn’t have to be processed. Potatoes don’t have to be fried. Green vegetables are good for you.

In an ideal world, everyone on the school board would put the needs of students first. Some of them do.

Although some on the board disagree, not everything can be measured in dollars and cents. Yes, healthy food costs more than junk food. But gagging at a gnat and swallowing a camel is dangerous.

Healthier students do better in school and in life. Diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure in children is on the rise. Not only is the cost measured in the billions of dollars to be spent in the long-range treatment of these conditions, there will also be uncountable costs in human suffering.

There’s a costly pattern of behavior on display. Any time an important issue is being considered by the school board, the same collection of fanatics comes forth with the same views. They’ve been doing it for years. They oppose almost anything that brings the county into the 21st century and use public meetings as a forum to beat issues to death. It’s a one-note song, and the second verse is the same as the first.

Holding meetings hostage prevents input from others with genuine viewpoints to offer. There are well-informed people out there who can bring some balance into the discussions.

When fanatics take over a meeting, logic quickly leaves the room.

The school board is one of the most important boards in the county. Their responsibilities are enormous, and the criticisms they weather can be brutal. But some criticisms are valid.

I attended a meeting a few years back when a retired superintendent of education was on the agenda to address the board. He was in his 80s, had many years of educational experience behind him and had some valid points to make. But he was rudely interrupted in the middle of a sentence by the school board chair and was cut off from finishing his remarks. Yes, he had reached the five-minute limit allowed speakers, but as a matter of respect and common courtesy, he should have been allowed to finish. He died a short time after that meeting. I was ashamed of the board chairman’s behavior.

The late Mr. W.E. “Woody” Woodson, a former principal at Liberty Elementary School, had some excellent advice for antagonistic people. He used to say, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.” This is excellent advice. I’d like to see it put into practice at school board meetings. And yes, sometimes silence is golden.