I rarely discuss politics my blog, even though it’s important to me, because it’s such a polarizing topic, but if you’re a regular reader, you know that I have a lot of respect for Gov. Chris Christie. I spoke to ABC News about him yesterday, and I’m talking about him here today because so many of us understand what he’s going through right now. I certainly do.
Governor Christie was on Late Night with David Letterman Monday night, and he did what many of us have done in our own lives. He made jokes about himself because he knew that Letterman would if he didn’t do it first. He attempted to show the world that he is aware and that he takes responsibility. He was preemptive, and I don’t blame him for that. I can’t speak for the governor, but in my experience, it hurts less to seem indifferent when people use me as the punch line for their jokes.
Though the show was filled with laughs, Gov. Christie spoke in a serious tone about his weight issues the following day. He has faced judgment from people who know nothing about his personal life and habits. He even faced criticism from a former White House doctor who asserted that looking at him (without examining him in any capacity) was enough to judge his health. She suggested that by his looks, alone, that he could die in office. She pissed the governor off, and she pissed me off too.
In our society, we often judge others by what we see. And though the doctor should have acted more responsibly, she speaks for countless people who relentlessly and ignorantly judge the obese without knowledge or empathy. Judging the governor, myself and the 30% of Americans who struggle with obesity is wrong, but it happens everyday.
Yesterday I was asked whether or not I thought he was fit to be president, and my answer was categorically yes. Regardless of your political views, it’s easy to see that he has what it takes. If you have any doubt about it, take a look at the way he handled himself during Hurricane Sandy. He worked tirelessly around the clock, and he showed incredible strength and stamina. He did what he was elected to do, and he did it well. He’s still doing it well.
He was judged for his size when he ran for office in New Jersey, and he will be judged when he runs for president (if he decides to do it, and I believe he will.)
Governor Christie is strong, tenacious and determined, and he is a phenomenal leader. Losing weight is hard, but I believe he can do that too. I believe he would feel great if he did, but I absolutely believe that he will make a fantastic president regardless of his size.
No respectable citizen or news organization would blast President Obama because he looked a little different than former presidents, nor would we openly criticize Hillary because she looks different. I’m not making excuses for him, but I’d like to point out that he is doing his job. He’s obese, but he also works hard for the people of his state.
Losing weight is overwhelming, and it takes an incredible amount of dedication, time and patience. In order to be successful, we have to make ourselves our top priority, and the governor has other things at the top of his agenda right now. He is New Jersey’s leader, and he is doing precisely what he was elected to do.
If weight-loss was as simple as most in the multi-billion dollar industry would have us believe, then we’d all be thin already. This journey is different for all of us, and while Governor Christie certainly doesn’t need me to defend him, I’d like to remind everyone that we are all human. We are all flawed, and we all deserve to be treated as equals.
A few weeks ago, I spoke to ABC about the stigma surrounding obesity. This nation lacks empathy, compassion and respect for the obese, and the America that I know and believe in is better than that. We don’t judge those who struggle with addiction – unless the addiction is food, and that needs to change NOW. Many of us need to rethink our positions, and many of us need to recognize that this journey is incredibly hard and incredibly personal.
Politics aside, Governor Christie deserves your respect as a human being.I deserve your respect as a human being, and common sense tells us that it is ridiculous to choose our government leaders based on their looks as opposed to their merit.