Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 9

Part 9 of 11. Partial transcript of the Q&A with former First Lady Michelle Obama on healthy eating and combating childhood obesity. The Partnership for a Healthier America event was held on May 12, 2017:

Sam Kass:
Yeah, well, we’re working on that. We’re changing that.

Michelle Obama:
But money matters in messaging. And there are folks out there with dollars. You know? So how do we think creatively about this and then put the resources behind it to make it happen?

Sam Kass:
All right. Two more questions.

Michelle Obama:
Two more.

Sam Kass:
Two more…

Michelle Obama:
One…I’m just messing with Sam. I love Sam. I love to mess with Sam.

Sam Kass:
It’s an age-old tradition, isn’t it? Yes.

…So, going to the White House and taking on all these issues, I think we knew that we were taking on a very complex set of issues here, of a lot of entrenched interests, sensitivities, people really don’t like government messing with food, lots of dynamics. Right? And so we knew we were going to get some push back. But we also got a lot of pushback from advocates. Like were you surprised about kind of how that would play out? I mean, you’d think because we were fighting for the health of little people, you know, we’d just get supported. Did that surprise you?

Michelle Obama:
Yeah, I think initially it does surprise you but, you know, we are – sometimes, you know, what is it, the – you know, we think we can have everything, you know, in a complicated society with complicated issues, with all of this diversity and different perspectives and people with different upbringings and religious backgrounds. You know, that’s what makes America great but that’s what also makes everything harder. You know? Because we just – you know – look, if we were all alike, we’d agree all the time.

So sometimes I’m surprised that advocates don’t understand that a win isn’t winning everything. Not in this political climate. So you have to celebrate every victory, even if it isn’t the whole thing. You know? We wind up hurting ourselves because we’re so critical because we didn’t get everything. Sometimes 30% is a victory. And if we don’t celebrate that 30%, well, then we’ve got nobody celebrating the victory. Right? Because the opponents are like, “It’s all bad.” And our folks are like, “Well, it wasn’t everything.” It just isn’t a smart strategy. You know?

I mean, I don’t take it personally but I just sort of wonder, “Well, what’s the think behind criticizing improvements?” I know you want to keep the pedal to the metal. You do. You want to keep pushing. You never want to settle. Right? But we all have to learn how to celebrate these incremental victories.

In this nation, the political system is structured so that change doesn’t happen in sweeping, you know, movements. It doesn’t work that way. There are too many checks and balances and they’re there for a reason.

So we shouldn’t be surprised when we don’t get everything.

So, I think, you know, when I talk myself through it, well, yeah, maybe people, you know, they don’t know enough of the grey to know how grey things are. Nothing is black and white, and it’s hard to understand when – if you’re on one side and you believe in it so, you know, it’s hard to want to compromise.

But as we teach our kids, life is a series of compromises. You know? And that doesn’t mean you lose. It just means you’ve got to keep working a little bit harder. And I think we have to be – we have to be supportive of one another in our victories and defeats. I think we can do a better job of that…

Learn More:

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 1

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 2

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 3

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 4

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 5

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 6

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 7

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 8

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 9

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 10

Transcript: Q&A w/ Michelle Obama on combating childhood obesity – Part 11

* Disclaimer: All transcripts posted are produced under a rush deadline and therefore are draft, unofficial, and unauthenticated. They may not be complete, may not be in their final form, and may be updated.

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