What was supposed to be nearly 1,000 protestors on Monday in New York City ended up being only a few dozen in the fight against Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban. Although their numbers were small, their message was loud and clear for the Mayor, who’s attempt to fight obesity comes in the form of selective food bans, instead of health education and nutritional training.
19-year-old Zach Huff, from the volunteer grassroots organization NYC Liberty HQ, organized the march on City Hall. Huff said the protest was created, “to send a message to Mayor Bloomberg and his administration that they can’t get away anymore with the ideas that they can tell us how much salt to put on our food or what size drinks we can buy.”
Huff expressed his concern to the crowd and shouted, “they already tell us how much water goes through each flush of the toilet and tell us what light bulbs we can buy- what are they going to tell us next, are they going to get in the bedroom?”
Protestors in the crowd shouted in agreement with Huff and other young speakers at the rally called Mayor Bloomberg, “a dictator.”
City Councilman Dan Halloran took the stage with two girls dressed in Big Gulp costumes and said, “to talk about this as a health issue is absolutely a distraction; we’re not banning beer in the same size are we? But we know that beer has more calories per cup. We’re certainly not looking to do it in 7-11, because another agency regulates that and the city can’t do it by fiat. We have a mayor that is just missing the boat about liberty.”
Halloran also made the point, “why don’t you include gym class and let them play sports again instead of telling them that it creates winners and losers, that it might be too violent and that they might get hurt? I played dodge ball as a kid – I don’t have a problem playing dodge ball, the Department of Education does.”
After hearing about the “Million Gulp March” Bloomberg said, “If you want to kill yourself, I guess you have a right to do it. We’ve got to do something about this and they can have a march and make a joke out of it but there’s a story in the Post today where the hospitals are having to increase the size of their gurneys and strengthen them because some of the patients are so heavy. This is going to be worse than smoking ever was.”
Many of the protestors expressed that their efforts against the ban weren’t even about soda; it was about their personal choice and not having the government tell them what they can and cannot do.