Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor of the Washington Post penned a column on Sunday that spoke to me.
He was wondering how the battle against childhood obesity became a partisan fight.
It often concerns me when seemingly simple and straight-forward topics become sucked into a political fight and then impact the corporate reputations of some of our clients. I know how it happens, I just wish it wouldn’t. Climate change is one example. Childhood obesity is another.
Regarding climate change, most organizations’ and companies’ reputations can and will benefit from a very simple position: Being a responsible steward of the environment in a transparent manner is a good for the company and good for society, whether climate change exists or not.
Same holds true for childhood obesity. Michelle Obama has chosen this as a singular issue to champion. As is the case with climate change, companies can benefit from a simple position: Supporting wellness programs that promote healthy living in children is positive, whether childhood obesity is an epidemic, or not.
Clean air. Clean Water. Healthy kids. Simple, right? Not really.
Once the motivations of those involved in a discussion become an issue, the simple nature of straight-forward topics such as these go right out the window.
Climate change proponents and detractors are either trying to save the planet or destroy it.
Those engaged in a childhood obesity debate are either trying to lengthen the lives of our kids or shorten them.
At the end of the day, the challenge becomes to always stay focused on an issue’s core and don’t become pulled into a side-taking debate.
As my father used to tell me, “just do what’s right, it’s usually simpler anyway.”