We in Arkansas are proud of our governor, Mike Huckabee. It’ll be a shame to lose him to term limits in 2 1/2 years, as he has grown in office even in the eyes of progressive sorts. He went from being a rigid Republican and a member of the evangelical right — he’s an ordained Southern Baptist minister — to forming alliances with almost every sort of leader and legislator around the country for the betterment of Arkansans.
Huckabee has not grown as an average American, though. In fact, he’s shrunk; he’s become his own best example of healthy living. He’s published a book of advice on wellness, and he’s worked with national figures to encourage us flabby types to get moving. Mostly, though, he’s focused on children’s obesity.
In Arkansas, though it took some years, he’s gotten candy and soda machines banned from schools. To be fair — and don’t you have to be fair? — vending machine companies may play out their contracts with school districts, which will take just a few years.
Meanwhile, the wise regulations, as they must be general, stipulate common drink container sizes rather than ingredients. In today’s Northwest Arkansas Times, we read on the front page that milk has been banned from Fayetteville High School.
The smallest bottle dairies can put in machines are 16-ouncers, and drinks greater than 12 ounces are not allowed, under regulations. Still “grandfathered” in, though, are 20-ounce Pepsi products. So in the milk machines are rows of pints of water, an exempt beverage.
I asked a recent high school graduate a while ago why she preferred bottled water to the fountain at work. I said, you know that tap water throughout the nation is safe, though sometimes minerals might make it taste different if you’re not used to it. She said she accepted that, but still, bottled water was better for you or they wouldn’t sell it, right? This I could not win.
So, you can lead Americans to running water but you can’t make them drink, unless it costs extra. So if milk is banned, would that make it more tempting? Maybe this is part of the Healthy Arkansas Kids plan, after all. -30-