We didn’t make it unscathed this Girl Scout cookie season. A box of Thin Mints made its way into our house. Those cute girls standing in the freezing cold got us outside of a restaurant we were leaving one day. My boys made the argument that since the waitress had told me what well-behaved children I had, they should get a box of cookies. With the pleading eyes of half-frozen Girl Scouts and two good boys staring at me, I caved.


In my house, Girl Scout cookies can be seen as a symbol of the struggle I have between what I feed my children and what my children wish I fed them. Since eating naturally and organically has only been going on for about five years in my house, my boys remember the days of unending boxes of glowing orange mac and cheese, trips through the drive-thru, and a snack cabinet full of processed cookies and chips.


When it’s Girl Scout cookie time, they remember those days nostalgically. The conversations about why I limit their food choices become more frequent. Sometimes they understand. Sometimes, they think I’m being ridiculous. Thin Mints can be seen as a symbol of the frequent healthy food debate that goes on in our home.


Those Thin Mints, along with the other cookies the Girl Scouts sell, have become quite symbolic and controversial lately. It seems like just about everyone sees a political agenda, a conspiracy theory, an environmental threat, and just about everything else that is wrong with the world in these cookies and the organization that sells them.


Earlier this week, Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris refused to sign a House resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America. Why? It looks like he sees Thin Mints as a symbol of a radical, left-wing, anti-family, political agenda.


In a letter to his fellow representatives, he said he had done a “small amount of Web-based research” and found “abundant evidence” that “proves that the agenda of Planned Parenthood includes sexualizing young girls through the Girl Scouts, which is quickly becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.” That, along with the Girl Scouts' association with Michelle Obama, feminists, lesbians and communists, has made the politician decide to withdraw his daughters from the Girl Scouts and put them in the “American Heritage Girls Little Flowers organization.” (It looks as if American Heritage Girls is one organization, and Little Flowers is a separate organization. But, we’ll ignore that for now.)


It’s not the just the political right that has a problem with the cookies. Environmentalists, who are generally seen as on the left side politically, take issue with them, too. To many environmentalists, Girl Scout cookies are a symbol of rain forest deforestation. Many of the cookies contain palm oil, and palm oil plantations notoriously destroy rain forests and the animals that live in them. Last spring, when Change.org urged people to post about the issue on Twitter and on the Girl Scout’s Facebook page, negative comments were removed from the Facebook page and the commenting settings were changed. Hmmmm… cookies as a symbol for anti-environmentalism and censorship.


Anti-obesity groups are against Girl Scout cookies, too. A few years ago, the National Action Against Obesity (NAAO) called for a boycott of the cookies, and one of the reasons is because they lead to “diabetes and obesity.”


There you have it. Those cookies are symbols of a struggle for a family to eat healthy; radical, left-wing, anti-family, political agenda; anti-environmentalism and censorship; and our country's war against obesity. Those cookies certainly are evil.


But, sales of the cookies are actually up in some areas. The Christian Post reports a 6 percent increase this year in the Washington area. So despite all the boycotts, protests, and concerns, people are still buying the cookies. Not everyone sees more than just a cookie when they look at a Thin Mint. Some people just see a cookie.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

The politics of Thin Mints
Sometimes a cookie is just a cookie. Sometimes it's a symbol of all that's wrong with the world.