Stand for America

Stand for America
American Patriotism and Wisdom are Won, Standing United.


"Sugar, Darling, You Look Marvelous"
  2012 Gregg Zegarelli

New York City Mayor Blumberg deserves credit.  Whether you like him or not, he deserves credit: he started a conversation about the human consumption of sugar.  Sugar.  Simple sugar.  Pervasive, ubiquitous, been-around-sort-of-forever, sugar.

But, to me, as an attorney, this particular conversation topic is not even the important thing.  What I love about this conversation is the debate itself.  No, not the legal question of governmental intrusion by regulation or the physiological effects of sugar.  What I love is the human conversation itself.  The Big Picture, if you will -- what drives human beings and their sophisticated, evolved, big human brains to take their respective positions.  The influences on the debate to find the truth.  Thus, for me, it's not about the topic, per se, it's about the truth. 

Please let me explain.

I am reminded of a case taught in law school about a dance school that kept telling an octogenarian woman what a marvelous dancer she was, until the school swindled her out of all of her money.  We know that flattery is an important tool of manipulation.  Always has been, always will be.  What is such flattery, but a manipulation by telling human beings what they deeply yearn to hear.

On a related matter, my wife was upset with me the other day.  Why, you ask?  She was chided by a woman sitting in front of her, because my young child kicked the woman's seat in an auditorium family event.  The woman presented the issue to my wife somewhat rudely and hotly, "control your daughter or take her out of here!"  My wife looked at me for a defense, when I said, "the woman's right."  Ouch.  Like many husbands, I suppose, I am a victim of myself.  I think my wife wanted me to chide the woman because the woman's presentation of the truth was not sweet enough.

Now, to explain my position to my older children, I presented this story: you are the judge, there two attorneys:

Attorney 1.  Hi Judge, your hair looks great today, and that's a sharp suit.  I know my client stole, but, hey, can you let him off.  You sure look marvelous.

Attorney 2. Judge, you're not too cute, and are you expecting a child?  Don't let the thief off.

Interesting, although not surprisingly, my children let the thief off.  "How come?," I exclaimed.  "This is an admitted thief."  Well, they liked the first attorney.  [I know, I should have first told them I liked the second attorney and that they looked marvelous.]

So, I learned that I had some work to do, as a father, to teach my children that the truth is or should sit naked.  And, if the truth is dressed up, it must be stripped naked.  Yes, the truth is a dish best served cold, and garnishments are merely tricky distractions.  There is presentation, and there is fact, and, with some disciplined skill of discernment, we cannot confuse the substance of the woman for her shoes, the man for his clothes, the thief for his attorney, or the truth for the sweetness of words.

There is the truth, and there is presentation.  The skill of the rhetorician is to guide human nature into acceptance of an argument of pleasure.  To be persuaded by natural inclination.  It is always easier to pull someone downhill, I always say. 

The rhetorician applies the weight of persuasion until the disciplined mental muscular skill of the listener fails. 

Tell the listener what the listener wants to hear.  A form of flattery.  This happens all the time.  Yes, believe it, America is too good to fail.

I mention this because, on the debate about the sugar, the sugar industry is apparently taking the position that sugar is being victimized and it is unfair to single out sugar as the cause of the rampant obesity of the common American.  A refined argument for sugar.  And, so sweet to hear.  According to that sweet logic, it apparently follows that we can keep eating lots of addictive sugar -- maybe globs of sugar -- because there is no scientific data that sugar is the cause of obesity. 

It's not our fault that we're an obese nation for eating and drinking so much sugar.  Believe it, it's not the dark chocolate (that's good for us), the children fruit drinks (10% real fruit juice), or the caramel macchiato (just a morning coffee).  Really.  Just what I yearned to hear.  And, it is all so confusing because there are different kinds of sugar -- and, by rule, without sugar we will die!

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, sugar is unjustly accused.  Okay, okay, the real reason we are an obese nation is because we do not exercise enough to burn off all the sugary calories.  It's not sugar's fault that we don't exercise enough! 

I get it.  We don't exercise our bodies enough.  True.  So, now, I suppose I'll now do what sugar wants me to do: I will look to the cause of obesity somewhere else.  Got it.

A sweet argument for sugar, but let's play the game and put some salt into it:

We need to exercise our minds more.

                                                                         -- Gregg Zegarelli

 Wisdom.  Pass it Around.

* The name of the publication is derived from a special publication of The Entrepreneurial Spirit, entitled, "I Stand for America." The purpose of this publication is to provide a reflection upon the intersection of character, values, wisdom and traditional patriotism in the United States of America.  Did you miss an issue?  Click here.

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