SWEET TEA & POLITICS

Ever since I was young, I’ve found myself on the left end of the political spectrum. The older I get, the more fervent I become in my political/social beliefs. Tonight, while perusing Facebook, I saw that one of my friends had shared a Facebook post, no doubt blasting Michelle Obama. Not just that, though. It was an article from Fox News (insert involuntary eye roll after every mention of Fox News in this post) blasting Michelle Obama because she is urging Americans to drink unsweetened tea as opposed to sweetened tea as part of her Let’s Move campaign.

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It really just boggles my mind that people will get so up in arms about something as trivial as sweet tea. And, I mean, maybe it’s just me, but I want to be healthier. Sweet tea isn’t healthy. It’s definitely not healthy when you get one or four daily from McDonalds, size large, which seems to be something a LOT of people do in my hometown do. I used to! I was born and raised in the south and sweet tea is a staple, but in college I got to the point where sweet tea was just entirely too sweet for me. I had to dilute it with lemon juice. Now, I drink iced green tea with barely any sugar in a whole pitcher, if any at all. According to the nutritional information from the McDonalds website, there are 54 grams of sugar in a 30 ounce McDonalds large sweet tea (36 g in a small). 54 grams! That’s like eating one and half Snickers bars. Fact: America is the most obese country in the world. Michelle Obama is in charge of an initiative that works to help educate us on the harm the food we eat can do to our bodies. We eat like pigs, here, it’s true. And It’s our choice as to whether or not we drink a large McDonalds sweet tea while eating a Big Mac, or opt for something healthier, like unsweet tea. The people commenting on my friend’s Facebook post were OUTRAGED, which is really unbelievable. I don’t see how this is a topic for outrage. I’m not outraged, I’m just baffled and blown away by the bias and prejudice I see exhibited on my Facebook news feed so often. There were comments asking “Why doesn’t Michelle focus on addicts or the homeless?”, but obesity is a serious problem that can cause death, too. I guess some people just don’t realize how serious obesity is. And, just to put the lid on this, FLOTUS does concern herself with homelessness and a whole slew of other problems (I guess Fox News just chooses to leave out all of the other positive things she does, huh). The fact stands that FLOTUS is not BANNING SWEET TEA, as I’m sure Fox News would lead you to believe. Which leads me to my next point.

Fox News.

Let’s just assess the article, written by Todd Starnes for Fox News Radio.

The First Lady of these United States is now urging Americans to stop drinking sweet tea.

Yes – friends – you heard correctly. Mrs. Obama has declared war on the House Wine of the South. It’s all part of her anti-obesity campaign — called Let’s Move.

The website Free Beacon was the first to report on her latest culinary atrocities – urging us to wash down our lettuce and bean sprouts with unsweetened tea.

The First Lady also told Americans to stay away from all-you-can-eat buffets — which I’m sure is great news for all those folks employed by all-you-can-eat buffets.

Mrs. Obama also wants us to consider rustling up some tasty eats from the Department of Agriculture’s Pinterest page. Among her personal favorites are entrees like bean-kale burgers  and curried pumpkin with peas.

I just got a little throw up in my mouth, America.

A few things.

  1. “The First Lady of these United States is now urging Americans to stop drinking sweet tea”. First of all, exactly like I’ve said. URGING. Not “requiring” or “making” Americans stop drinking sweet tea.
  2. “Mrs. Obama has declared war on the House Wine of the South”. Has she though? Really? By wanting to take steps in helping you become a healthier person?
  3. This part probably infuriated me the most: “Which I’m sure is great news for all those folks employed by all-you-can-eat buffets”. Why even make that comment, though, other than Fox News hoping to instigate in any way that they can. It’s unbelievable. Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign isn’t going to put buffets out of business. It just isn’t. Too many people watch Fox News while sipping on their third McDonalds large sweet tea of the day and saying things like “NOT MY PRESIDENT” before hopping out of their La-Z-Boy to go to the local buffet restaurant for that to happen. While I don’t completely agree that all-you-can-eat buffets are a problem, I do understand her wishing we would stay away from them. When I have access to all the food I can eat, I’m going to eat until I’m about to burst. That isn’t healthy. Therefore, she’s saying we probably shouldn’t do it. And we shouldn’t. Also, “culinary atrocities”, because unsweetened tea is so offensive.
  4. “Among her personal favorites are entrees like bean-kale burgers  and curried pumpkin with peas. I just got a little throw up in my mouth, America”. Okay, Todd Starnes, we get it. You think health food is disgusting. You go right ahead and slurp on your sweet tea that you’re so hell-bent on defending while eating your, I don’t know, country fried steak and gravy and sweet potato pie.

Fox News Radio posted an entire article where a grown man whined about the fact that the FLOTUS wants us to maybe not drink sweet tea anymore, if we care about our health, because it would be better for our bodies and America’s growing obesity problem.

DO YOU SEE HOW RIDICULOUS THAT IS?

Michelle Obama is doing nothing wrong at all! Nothing. She’s trying to do something extremely positive. She isn’t devoting every minute of her entire day to her Let’s Move campaign, but when she is working with that particular campaign, she tries to make an effort to put positive change into effect. She’s aware that there are more important things going on in the world, just like we all are. Our obesity problem is very, very, serious, and you can ignore that or not. But. There are other things to be concerned with apart from what the First Lady has to say about sweet tea. There are plenty of other issues to which you can allocate your outrage. Why spend your time fighting for friggin’ SWEET TEA when there are ACTUAL LIVING AND BREATHING HUMANS that don’t have the same rights as other humans. Like it or not, Barack and Michelle Obama are POTUS and FLOTUS. You can spend the rest of his term griping and whining and complaining about it, or you can focus on the things that make you happy, and if that’s sweet tea, you go right ahead and drink it, but do us all a favor and stop posting Facebook posts that instigate and infuriate and don’t cause any positive change.

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TO PORTLAND: I’VE LOVED YOU FROM AFAR

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I crave the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never been there. In fact, I’ve never set foot on land farther west than Mississippi. For some odd reason, though, still, I have a crush on the Pacific Northwest. 

It started when I was a sophomore in high school and I discovered Nirvana. 

“Kurt Cobain is from Seattle. It’s usually cold and rainy there. I need to be in Seattle” were sentences that ran through my mind on a regular basis. I thought Seattle to be awfully romantic, and I, of course, romanticize Kurt Cobain, it’s hard not to. Keep in mind, I was chin-deep in teen angst at the time and I thought the idea of sublime artistic suffering while watching the rain fall with a coffee mug in hand and blanket wrapped around my cold, frail (I say frail because in this particular daydream, I was a starving artist. I am by no means frail, mind you) body, listening to the emotional strain of Kurt Cobain singing over and over again, Something in the way… Something in the way… was the direction my life needed to be heading toward. I decided I wanted to be a music producer and after college, I would work for SubPop records. Easy as that. 

The teen-angst ended, luckily it didn’t involve me doing anything my parents would disapprove of- I basically just listened to a lot of 90s grunge and discovered the indie scene and art house films. While I still love Nirvana, the complete obsession died out, too. I forgot about the PNW for a while and focused on other things, like boys, high school melodrama, and my budding music production career. Once in college, I realized music production was not for me and I pursued graphic design, which was very much for me. I graduated from high school in 2010, and then, in 2011, Portlandia premiered.

There’s something about the name, Portland. The syllables hit hard, almost like a staccato, before exiting the mouth. Port-land. Elliott Smith was from Portland. Mark Rothko was from Portland. Gus van Sant is from Portland. Portland. I developed an idealistic perception of this dream land where I wanted so badly to be. In Portland, I would be free to be a liberal without having to explain myself and argue with anyone who asked my opinions on political and social issues. In Portland, I could say proudly that I’m a feminist and support gay rights without being accused of being a lesbian- the two don’t coincide, guys! Straight people can support gays and lesbians, too! Look at me, I’m straight, I think everyone should be able to get married! In Portland, I would never be more than 5 minutes from a record store. In Portland, I could dye my hair lilac and receive compliments instead of dirty looks. In Portland, my boyfriend and I could ride bikes everywhere and have an adorable Siberian Husky named Ripper and a gray cat named Tattletail. In Portland, I could do anything I wanted and succeed, because I would be in Portland. 

It’s strange, isn’t it? It’s almost like I’ve become Jay Gatsby and Portland is my green light; my Daisy. The truth is, I know nothing about Portland. I’ve invented my idea of Portland. I’ve conjured it up completely on my own. Sure, I’ve done research and read PDX Blogs- I think I follow more Portland-area twitter accounts than I do Huntsville-area twitter accounts- but I’m okay with that. Because as long as I’m in Alabama, I’m going to continue dreaming about Portland, and maybe one day, I’ll get myself there.