No one is ever going to confuse New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with libertarian darling Ron Paul, though some may wish Bloomberg had the individualistic ideals of the presidential candidate.
Indeed, many New Yorkers probably wouldn’t mind a little common sense from Paul in the city’s latest brouhaha over soda. That’s right, pop.
There’s no new Occupy movement, demands for crime control, or calls for a crackdown on clueless tourists. It’s much simpler: protesters are rallying for their right to consume sugary drinks.
Bloomberg has proposed new rules for super-sized drinks in restaurants, movie theatres, sports arenas, food carts and delis. Anything more than 16 ounces go down the drain.
Well, if Americans know anything, it’s their rights. If they want to kill themselves smoking cigarettes, drinking booze, eating fast food or, as in this case, gulping cola like it’s water, then that’s their right.
Bloomberg eventually relented a little when he gave a response to The Million Big Gulp March, saying if New Yorkers wanted to kill themselves with sugar, “I guess you have the right to do it.” But he still wasn’t backing down from his plan.
We all know sugar is white death. We all know pop is nothing but empty calories. And we all know those empty calories are contributing to the obesity epidemic in the U.S. But here’s the rub: individual Americans are more responsible for health-care costs than in most other countries. That alone gives them the choice to do to their bodies whatever they wish, no matter how harmful it may be — as long as the substance is legal.
That is what America is all about. Personal choice, personal freedoms. As one protester said during the small demonstration this week: “When do we say enough control is enough? It’s a slippery slope. It’s not how our country was founded.”
A statement full of hyperbole? Sure. But no one can be blamed for wariness over giving an inch when politicians often see hope of taking a mile.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.