Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weighty Issues....

Chris Christie went on Oprah's new cable show recently to discuss a problem issue that they share, weight and how to deal with criticism and ridicule. Oprah Winfrey framed the discussion as a personal issue, opening up about her problems with David Letterman. Christie was just as frank about his own challenges.

Weight is a growing problem. I don't mean that obesity is a growing problem because, frankly, it is not society's problem when a person makes the lifestyle choices that result in obesity (I am speaking as a person who has fought the battle of the bulge himself, by the way.) The culture has embraced a demonization of those who do not conform to elitist standards of how a person should eat and exercise.

Consider Paula Deen. She held the secret of her diabetes diagnosis for three years. Why? Overboard elitist control freaks already equate her love of butter as among the most malevolent forces on earth (of course her southern self-confidence is part of that too.) She obviously knew that a backlash was coming, even though she preaches eating in moderation.

It's not just skinny people doing this. Mike Huckabee and Michelle Obama, have felt the need from time to time, to tell us how we should eat. This is irritating, but fine so long as they just talk. But when they propose spending millions to teach people that eating Big Macs every day is bad, that's when it crosses the line. Government does not exist to act like mommy and daddy, telling people what to eat. Or, like Michael Bloomberg, fashion laws to control consumption.

Chris Christie, and others with weight issues, should be judged by who they are and what they do. In other words, the content of their character. Obesity is a result of choices, not a disease, not a character flaw. Very brilliant people, like William Howard Taft, get weight problems. Very incompetent people, like a few presidents, can remain slim and trim for their entire lives.

It is time to stop judging and marginalizing individuals for their weight. That means that we should stop going on and on about how Americans should live a healthier lifestyle. We know what one is. We either will or we won't. And that is an individual decision.

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