Since America under the new administration is taking a cruise down memory lane wearing rose-colored glasses, this week I’m throwing it in reverse for breakfast cereal, that staple of red-blooded middle-class families, representing all that’s good in America – simple, sweet sustenance.

It needs to be saved. Those big boxes of it, made in America, with things to read on the back and the occasional small prize inside, are a dying breed; the cherished tradition on its way out. Beautiful crunchy stuff with the power to heal broken hearts and minds risks dying like oysters Rockefeller and TV dinners.

Cereal sales in the United States are way down, according to Mitchell Hartman on the “Marketplace” podcast. Cereal sales have been falling 3 percent a year since 2012, rapidly losing market share to smoothies and gluten-free, low-carb “on the go” products. Millennials shun cereal altogether. Two separate ingredients, a bowl and a spoon? That’s a lot.

“Breakfast cereals have become a dinosaur,” analyst Phil Lempert, also known as the “Supermarket Guru,” is quoted.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget, purporting to balance itself in 10 years while reducing taxes, increasing military spending and not cutting Social Security or Medicare, is like a dinosaur, too: the Trickledown Economisaur, killed off by dehydration during the era of Ronald Reagan’s rising tide. But Republicans have the right to keep fighting for a magical economy that grows without food or water. If enough people believe in it, it’s fun like the hearts, moons and clover-shaped marshmallows in Lucky Charms. Fluff and fairy dust mixed in with tanks and weapons, like powdery-colored puffs of sugar mixed with oats.

The art of cereal is dying, not just the consumption, and that’s sad! Where have all the shapes and colors gone? Nothing comes with a smiley face anymore. Nothing glows in the dark.

American ingenuity and capitalist instincts under President Trump and his business-oriented family should lead Cereal 2.0, a movement to put emoji-shaped, puffed orange (or red, white and blue) cereal on kitchen tables across the globe. Social media is a great form of modern communication, but you can’t eat a tweet. People can express themselves with cereal, and be comforted by it.

Spreading democracy around the world is fraught with risk. Why not spread instead the peaceful, stabilizing ritual of cereal-eating to places like China and India? The market is huge; the only red line to draw is over fat content, and let’s be clear: Whole milk is the American way, 2 percent if you are weak or a Democrat. Anything less is offensive. Assimilate.

People of all faiths and political parties believe in the trinity of whole body, whole mind and whole spirit, so why did we stoop to dribbling watery skim milk on cereal? No wonder so many people went to smoothies. Fear of fat, thanks to fake news, pushed the American public away from whole milk and marked the beginning of the end. The balanced and beautiful relationship of textures between the liquid milk and solid morsels irreconcilably broken.

Skim milk may suffice to quench thirst or help choke down a peanut butter sandwich, but it can’t hold a candle to a robust bowl of Raisin Bran or dainty Rice Krispies. To bring cereal back from the brink, we must wage a full-throated assault on all dairy products not containing at least 2 percent milkfat. Nonfat is for losers.

Women win with cereal, too. They do the bulk of shopping and cooking for their families, and a cold gallon of milk and two large boxes is a no-fail method of making children very happy, and it’s easy and economical.

Pressure on today’s family to eat together a nightly meal of beautiful, locally grown food can be overwhelming. If not putting out a repast of fresh fish with a perky sauce and medley of farmstand vegetables, backward and in heels, one can easily feel like a slacker. A return to the “Cereal Supper” would be a welcome break. The rules are simple. When the family cook calls a Cereal Supper, all members are on their own – providing another excellent opportunity to pour a giant bowl and not talk to anybody. Who can talk or hear while wolfing down Honey Nut Cheerios?

Cereal can be eaten plain or with fruit, alone or with friends, at night or during the day, and always while sitting at a table, where milk can be spilled without tears. Eating cereal is a great American tradition worth saving.

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights lawyer and a former state senator. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @dillesquire

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