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Monday, October 3, 2011

BULLYING AND THE FAT GOVERNOR

Yesterday in the New York Times, Frank Bruni wrote an editorial regarding the media's skewering of Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey, who is the latest in a long line of bright shining hopefuls for the republican party presidential nomination.  I don't know a lot about Governor Christie, though I've seen him speak and found him to be intelligent, engaging, and full of good energy and positive ideas. But believe me, this is not a political endorsement!

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey
The reason some of the pundits have been going after Governor Christie is because he's fat.  Not just a little chubby, or sort of out of shape, but really, genuinely obese.  If you had to sit next to him on an airplane, it would be uncomfortable.  If he was in front of you at a movie, it might block your view a bit.  He undoubtedly shops at the big and tall store, as he is rumored to weigh close to 300 pounds.  But does that mean he wouldn't be a good president?  Does it mean that the American people would have a hard time turning to him in times of crisis for leadership, inspiration and comfort?  That seems doubtful to me, if he has the other qualities it takes to lead our country - something we are desperately in need of at this moment.


The real problem here is the way the media is bullying this man for being fat.  This is what children do to each other on the playground, and bullying is about the most heinous behavior a child can exhibit, and the most demoralizing for a child to experience.  So why is it ok to attack a man who is in the public eye for being fat?  Can you imagine if the talking heads did this to a woman?  The outcry would be instantaneous and furious.  


It seems to me that everyone, even those who are slim, fit, and committed to healthy eating and exercise in a big way, struggles with their weight. Some are much more successful than others at being able to control their appetite, work out consistently, and live a healthy life.  Because Governor Christie is fat, he is assumed to be undisciplined, lazy, unmotivated and slovenly - which seems a bit unfair.  Who knows why he's fat?  And frankly, who cares?  If a candidate was pockmarked, or short, or bald, or just plain ugly, we all might think those things would keep him or her from getting elected, but the commentators on television and in the papers would never say anything about it, because mentioning those things is not politically correct.


 If Dick Cheney could be vice president after 5 heart attacks, and George Bush, a recovering alcoholic, could be elected president, and if Jack Kennedy, who lived in chronic pain and took multiple medications could effectively lead our country, a fat guy should be able to be in the oval office too, if he's qualified and intelligent.


  


 It's commonplace for children to bully the fat kid, and its acceptable for news anchors and editorial writers to bully the fat politician...and that's not right.  Let's try and show some restraint, some respect, and some self-control when going after a candidate.  Criticize what they have to say, what they've done, or what their ideas are.  But  really - let's leave the fat guy alone.  Because, believe me, he knows he's fat. And so does the kid on the playground, the one who's being bullied right now.  

To help stop bullying, click here for organizations that offer support and guidance, courtesy of the Ellen Degeneres show.

2 comments:

beniceorleavethanks.com said...

Very interesting viewpoint. bullying happens in all sorts of places, and we need to start respecting people and their differences.

Kendra said...

Welcome to my soapbox! People with weight issues are the one group we allow to be publicly humiliated and mistreated. So many who consider themselves to be "tolerant" or accepting of a long list of minorities (race, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability) will make cruel and hurtful comments about and to others who are obese. Let's get real: No one chooses to be fat.