The Voters Decide 2004: A Safe Nation Or An Obese Nation.

This article will look at the various party platforms put forward and ask if the parties recognize obesity as an election issue?
I last wrote an article a short while before Super Tuesday when it was becoming clear that Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts was to become the Democratic Nominee, this article (written just after the Republican National Convention formally adopted President Bush as it's candidate) will look at the various party platforms put forward and ask "Do the parties recognize obesity as an election issue?"

    Read the article here.


The Issue

Readers will no doubt remember that I was hoping that during the primary election campaign, the issue of health and fitness would be raised during some of the debates. As I have access to Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News I tried to record as many of the primary debates as possible and have just finished reviewing them.

Not one question was asked during the whole debate season on the issue of health or fitness (so I decided to take it upon myself to ask the candidates themselves) and emailed the campaign offices asking them to detail their candidate's policy on health and fitness.

Of the ten Democrats standing at the start of the primary season, none bothered to return my email (but this I am putting down to the candidates being miles too busy canvassing support).

Who Are You Going To Vote For In The 2004 Election?
George W. Bush
John Kerry
Green Party
Constitution Party
Libertarian Party
Independent Party

Before I start on the analysis of the party platforms, let's just briefly remind ourselves where America lies at this point in time. Regardless of what some people may say, history shows that George Bush was elected President and following reorganization of the number of congressmen (which has an impact on the electoral college) if nothing were to change on polling day, Bush would have 278 electors to Kerry's 260.

Bush's majority is based on the most marginal state in the entire union (Florida) which "after certain legal discussions" declared for Bush with a majority of 930 votes (out of 5.9 million) and therefore requires a swing of less than 0.01% to place it in the Kerry column and as we all know Florida has a high percentage of fitness stars and bodybuilders.


What Do The Parties Have ...

So what do the parties have in their platforms that will make these important voters cast their vote for that party.

First of all, the Republicans.

Well, it's not the most promising start. Using a word recognition program, the word "fitness" doesn't even appear once, so let's try "health" instead. "Health" has better luck with references including the prohibition of birth control services in school based health clinics, a 100% income tax deduction for health insurance premiums, and the right to patients to choose their own health care provider, but nothing about promoting exercise or preventing obesity.

Next stop, the Democrats.

Well, like the Republicans, "fitness" doesn't get a look in, but "health" strikes lucky again but just like with the Republicans not a single reference to combating obesity or the promotion of fitness. So (to use a baseball term) both main parties "strike out" on the fitness front.

So, you might think, "I'm a bodybuilder or someone interested in the promotion of fitness and neither main party accommodates my view. Might have well just go to the gym on Election Day and not vote!"

Well, if you think that then Usama bin Laden would be laughing his head off, as every non vote in the election is in effect a vote saying that terrorism has won over democracy. If you live in Nevada, you can easily vote for "None of the Above," but what about the rest of the union. Well, I realize this may stun some people but, there are other parties!


Wait, I Don't Have To Vote For Bush Or Kerry?

Green Party:

First of all, there's the Green Party. Now, admittedly they don't have Ralph Nader standing for them this time around, but they hope that with Mr. Cobb as their candidate they can hold some of their support from the year 2000. And at last, we have some policies on diet (Hooray!)

If elected, the Greens would call for subsidies for organic food, and remove unhealthy snacks from schools. Based on current estimates they reckon this will save between 70-to-85% of the United State's annual health bill (based on a figure of $1 trillion).

Constitution Party:

Next comes the Constitution Party (formerly known as the United States Taxpayers Party), who believe that the federal government has consistently violated the US Constitution for their own means. Unfortunately, health and fitness doesn't even get a mention.

Libertarian Party:

So then we come to the Libertarian Party, and you would think that finally we might get some luck on the fitness front. Well, lots of policies on health care (for instance the restoration of a free market health care system), but no meat as to a policy on health and fitness.

Independent Party:

Which just leaves the Independent candidate, Ralph Nader. And unfortunately, that's the same story. No mention of fitness and only one mention of health (on the thorny issue of abortion).


Conclusion

So, six candidates, six party platforms and very little on the subject that threatens to become America's number one issue by 2025 (according to estimates), which leaves the question what's a poor voter to do?

If your state has a Green party candidate then I can only suggest that you consider casting your vote for that candidate (in the presidential election, congressional district, senate race and gubernatorial election), if not, then not voting isn't an option (unless you live in Nevada) so the only thing I can suggest is a write in ballot and either write your name in (as a candidate who knows what he is talking about when it comes to fitness) or write in the name of a local state bodybuilder.

Overall though, after all the shouting is over, nothing much will have changed. America will have a president, who will introduce legislation to a House and Senate who will decree it to every state house and senate and the number of obese people will continue to grow. Unless something is done now, America's prime issue of concern will not be the war on terror, but the war on obesity!

This article is a follow up to my article: