Saturday, October 1, 2011

Chris Christie is NOT "Too Fat" to be President

There are plenty of reasons that I do not want NJ Governor Chris Christie to be elected president. Most of them have to do with the fact that he is yet another right-wing Republican. However, his weight is not among those reasons.

Amazingly, this has become an issue recently, as Governor Christie has been under recent pressure to reconsider his well-publicized decision not to run for president. For example, this recent article by Michael Kinsley declares in no uncertain terms that Christie "can not be president: He is just too fat." Mr. Kinsley, like many others who share his view, see Governor Christie's weight as a moral issue. They contend that if a person can not control his or her eating sufficiently to maintain a "normal" body weight, that this calls into question their self-control and thus their trustworthiness in public office.

There is no question that obesity is a serious and growing public health problem in the United States and other industrialized countries. As a person who has personally experienced with weight issues all of his life, I can say that there are many reasons for this problem. The factors involved in obesity can include family history, education and upbringing, pervasive advertising of unhealthy foods, lifestyle, poverty, and medical issues. It is seldom if ever simply a matter of "will power" or "self-control," as many people assume. For every person who successfully and permanently loses a significant amount of weight, there are many more who struggle unsuccessfully to do so.

The overweight are one of the last remaining socially "acceptable" targets of prejudice in America. This prejudice goes well past jokes and hurtful comments in the schoolyard, extending even to overt acts of discrimination.

There are many reasons to oppose Chris Christie if he should decide to jump into the presidential race. So please, don't judge him for something as superficial as his size.

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