Governor Chris Christie is the Target of Size-Profiling (Again)

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.

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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.

 

 

37 thoughts on “Governor Chris Christie is the Target of Size-Profiling (Again)

  1. I don’t know enough about Gov. Christie politically to comment on that but I I will agree that he would feel better if he lost the weight. I did want to add that Hillary Clinton HAS long been criticized about looking different. Her weight, her hair, her pantsuits and those headbands….

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    • I was specific with my words to be clear that no respectable citizen or news organization would do it. I don’t judge Hillary based on her looks, nor do I judge Obama for his.

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  2. You met him?? How cool is that? I think he’s a very respectable leader. Ive always been impressed by how he handles himself publicly in the face of criticism.

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  3. I’ve only heard about him a little, since he’s not in my state, but everything I’ve seen says he’s an incredibly intelligent, well spoken, clearly capable and confident man. I’d certainly consider giving him my vote.

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  4. We each have a responsibility to prioritize our self care and our health. Loosing weight is a difficult task. Not prioritizing our health impacts many areas of our lives. Being too busy is one barrier that can be removed if health is a priority.

    The moment I found a way to remove the barriers is the moment I was better able to take care of my self and my daughter, my job and my life.

    Remove the barriers. Never easy. Always worth it. Karen P

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      • I had no idea that you were speaking on his behalf.

        In the end, it’s all about barriers and priorities no matter what. Clear focus on those two items can be the difference between change and staying the same.

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        • I agree that it’s all about priorities, but I’ve always thought it was up to the individual to decide their own priorities for themselves. We all have limited time and energy, but who am I to say someone else is spending theirs in the wrong place? I try to spend my time and energy focusing on myself rather than criticizing others.

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  5. We would do well to read a bit about an obese former president of the United
    state, who not only served, while severely over weight, but went on to serve as chief justice of the supreme court after his presidency, the only former president to have served on that court.
    6 feet tall, he wighed aroun 350 pounds when he left office.
    His name? you find it.
    He did have a lifelong battle with weight and there were health related issues to be sure.
    But he did live for about 20 years after he left office.
    My point, he was able to serve, his weight notwithstanding.

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    • Yes, Dad. You’re right. Unfortunately, the president you’re talking about didn’t have to go through the media circus that candidates go through now.

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      • I just read a article on Taft. He was hounded about his weight in the media, including the famous “bath tub” story that we are finding out now had no merit. Not arguing just stating something I read…..yesterday, in fact. :)

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        • His tub incident, which was presumably fabricated much later, still doesn’t even begin to compare to the media coverage that candidates go through today.

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      • No. But my point is, he, his obesity notwithstanding, completed his tenure in the oval office and then served on the Supreme Court.

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  6. Great post and I completely agree that his size should not matter as long as he’s doing his job and doing it well. Being Canadian, I don’t know a lot about him, but I saw him on TV during the hurricane and I saw him on Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People. During the Barbara Walters interview she asked him if he felt being over weight would hurt his chances at presidency. I think that’s ridiculous. No one knows what he’s going though and for all we know, he could be on his way to losing the weight.. maybe he’s already lost 20lbs.. who knows. People need to get over themselves and realize that weight loss is a constant struggle and not something that comes easy. Why is it OK to poke fun at someone who has a food addiction yet it would unacceptable to make fun of an alcoholic?

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  7. As a person who has had a 50 yr battle with her weight I totally understand where you are coming from. I am a Lifetime WW member (at goal “again” since 2010). I have worked very hard to get my weight off and stay off! It took some health issues to make me see the urgency of losing weight again (in 2010). This needed to be a priority! Since getting back to goal I have run 6 full marathons and 20 half marathons. This would have been impossible before my weight loss. Now… I am going to be blunt – Yes…Governor Christie is being judged by how he looks! Unfortunately, if he can’t get his health/weight under control how can he possibly seek higher office? Obesity is a huge problem in our country. The stress and strain of such a political life would certainly cause additional issues for his health.

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  9. I do agree with you that he would be a great President. I have to say I don’t think he was being judged at all. All of us that are overweight know there other risks that are associated with our conditions – heart disease, diabetes, etc. Being overweight puts you at higher risk. Being POTUS is an extremely stressful job. (Take a look at Obama’s hair color before he entered office and now. Lots and lots of gray.) Stress also causes heart problems and being overweight makes it an even greater risk. There have been past President’s whose health was also discussed. I remember the media discussing Clinton’s health while in office (he ended up having bypass surgery when his term ended) and Obama has been criticized for his smoking. It all comes down to health. We want a healthy President that has a good head on his/her shoulders. That’s pretty much what it boils down to.

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  10. Although I for the most part like Gov. Christie and respect the way he governs NJ, his weight would play into a decision for me to vote for him for president. Such as who he chose for VP. He’s not obese, he’s morbidly obese and he’s also at the age where even though you’ve been a healthy fat person all your life, it begins to catch up with you. I know this from experience.

    I agree that doctor was totally out of line speaking out about him on tv. As far as his appearance on Letterman, I think he had his reasons for doing that or he wouldn’t have. It was his choice.

    People have been talking about Hillary Clinton’s thighs and ankles for years. Then it was her hair and now it’s her face. And we all know what some people have to say about President Obama’s looks. Yes, there was an overweight president many many years ago. Way before they were being televised all the time.

    I’m saying his weight would give me pause in voting for him just as someone’s age would.

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  11. I read your blog but don’t comment often. Thanks for addressing this. It ticks me off more than anything. I would vote for a person no matter their shape size, color, anything. If I like THEM and what they stand for, they have my vote. I am chubby, and very healthy. I have no issues with blood pressure, I work out one hour a day. I will probably always have a little weight on me. I am an intelligent person, with good morals. Too bad some people out there can’t see past someone’s body. It’s terrible, actually.

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  12. I could write a book on this subject. Being subjected too biased myself. There has not been, but one Dr. office I’ve walked into that they first thing they brought up to me was my weight (The GYN didn’t bring it up) no matter if I was in there for a sinus infection or a broken toe………….
    All my “numbers” are in their good ranges (cholt, tri, bp, sugar etc.) and the only number that is “bad” is my actual weight. While I agree that I need to be a healthier me (FOR ME) and that right now my age (29) is on my side, its still irks me to be lumped into some big bowl of OBESITY and its problems. If most Dr. had had their way everything wrong with me, every time I was sick, sniffled even, it would be b/c I’m fat. I also get lumped into this lazy, icky, slobs, McDs and buffet eating group of people that apparently ALL fat people are. I workout in the gym 5 hours a week (hope to be at 6 soon) with yoga and zumba and other cardio. I eat reasonably and do my WW plan. I dress nice and I’m at work more than some of my less weight challenged co-workers who get sick. It didn’t matter though when last summer I went to a concert series that was in the middle of a field with a steep hill and I had severely sprained my ankle and needed the golf cart assistance…………people starring at me (my ankle brace was covered by my jeans) like………..”mmmm, if you are that fat, maybe you should stay home.” No kidding! I mean plain out STARRED with no shame. If I had been an old lady or a bit smaller……….wondered if they would have starred so hard?

    I’m not asking for sympathy or to be treated differently. I mean Kenlie, I think we all know you are reasonable person. I totally agreed with you on the airline situation. I don’t want special seats or if I take up an extra seat to be given it for free, but the rules need to be set out and very clear before I purchase my ticket. If their are guidelines or measurements I can look at that tell me I need to buy an extra seat………then I will. Its the same idea of someone walking onto the plane with a carry on too big for the overhead and having to pay extra fees for it to be checked…………..when there were NO measurements on the website or documents for the size of your carry on.

    I’m responsible for my weight, no one else is. Which means you don’t have to accommodate me and in the same right you don’t get to persecute me either.

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  13. Gov. Christie seems like a rarity in politics, someone who talks straight and genuinely tries to do good.

    However, I believe that using the term “judging” can be purposefull inflammatory. It is common sense that being obese is a detriment to health. Any study that talks about the benefits of obesity is not seeing the bigger picture.

    Being a certain race, or a certain gender, or a certain sexual orientation, to me these things have nothing attached to them that are immediately grounds for an assumption of something (I don’t judge based on those things)

    However, most overweight or obese people are trying to change that about themselves, while most other categories of prejudice are not.

    That is why I think obesity cannot and should not get a free pass.

    I am not saying obese people are dumb, or lazy, or whatever other hurtful things are so readily thrown their way, but I do think it is a mistake to equate being obese with the same comparisons of prejudice to things like being a visible minority, or some other category of prejudice.

    I have people I care about in my life that smoke, are obese, and have other harmful behaviours and habits that I wish they would change, I care about them, if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t feel anything for them.

    Maybe I am judging them, but too often past hurts can can make a person so ultrasensitive that they miss the plain truth when someone simply states that being obese has so little benefit, and so much harm.

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    • Oh, Ry…this comment disappoints me in an incredible way. Have you forgotten that you struggled with obesity only a short time ago?
      You should not forget how difficult your struggles were. Remember putting your health in front of everything else, and think about how many times you wished you could do it before you did it.

      No one asserts here that being obese is a great thing, but I do firmly believe that one can be a good leader in spite of it. Every leader has flaws. No one is perfect, and being obese doesn’t make someone so flawed that they’re unfit to lead.

      A doctor who has never examined him made a prognosis that he could die in office, and it was inappropriate. Being overweight does not make him a lesser man or leader.

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      • There are several issues of discussion going on in this thread.

        My point, Governor Christie in 4 years time, if he does not get to a healthy weight, is at significant risk of negative health factors, including death, in the next 8 years.

        If someone wants to argue that with a myriad of other things, well, it doesn’t change something so obvious.

        Is Chris Christie unfit to lead? Not my call, I did not say he was.

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  14. I was at the gym of all places when I first saw the CNN report with the doctor and the headline about Christie being “a timebomb.” I was shocked at the way they were covering it, and I do think the doctor was unprofessional for making that statement about him based on his looks on national TV.

    I really admired the way that Christie handled the situation the next day and the days that followed. Yes, he’s brash and has no filter, but I am too, so I can respect that in a person, especially when we’re talking about something that is a private health matter.

    You realize, of course, that of this is really saying something, considering that I’m a liberal Democrat from California. :P But, what’s right is right, no matter what someone’s politics are.

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  15. As someone who is overweight, I can certainly say that I believe that it is fundamentally wrong to judge people’s capability or personhood based upon their size…but I also know that what should happen and human nature are two different things. Our President is the most public face of our nation. He represents us and our national cultural values to the world. For better or worse, obesity is synonomous with excess- excess weight, excess indulgence and a lack of discipline. Now I know this is certainly not always the case but that is the perception. Whether appearance should matter or not, as a nation, we want our leaders to appear confident, put together, disciplined, commanding, an image of our health as a nation, particularly to other nations. It’s why we are always shown images of Presidents out running and being active.

    I’m an attorney. I have an Ivy league education and great experience. But I am also an African-American woman who is overweight. I make extra effort to appear tidy and put together because regardless of whether people want to or not, we all evaluate and make judgments about people based upon how they look…because it’s human nature.

    Gov. Christie may very well make a great President but if his want of that role does not constrain him to the point of doing everything he must to get it, including losing weight, he may not be up to the task of what it takes to be President of the United States of America- the most rigorous, taxing, demanding position that one could ever hold.

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  16. Yes yes and yes!!! Food addiction is unacceptable and unrecognized by most people as legitimate. I’m not sure why as research now clearly shows that sugar is in fact an addictive substance. If you put crack in your food,you may get addicted to it. I know sugar is crack to me and I am a junkie. But many regard this as not being a legitimate problem even though the science backs it up. It is sad that we must live in a society that finds it acceptable to crack jokes and call people names b/c they are overweight. I think someone said it right when they said it is the last acceptable form of discrimination

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  17. To me, the difficulty with food adiction, compared to other addictions is that we don’t “need” tobacco, alchohol or drugs to live, but food we do and the temptations is are ever before us.
    Then there is the constant media attention given to food, eat here eat there. Eat this or eat that .
    Eating is a part of how we socialize and too many people just don’t get understand the struggle.

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  18. He shouldn’t be judged on how he looks, his weight, or any other superficial thing. But the sad truth is, he will. And it might just cost him the election.

    It’s not right, and it’s something we SHOULD be working to change, but I don’t think there will be enough momentum in the next 4 years on that end to make a difference. Certainly not with the culture of vitriol the internet breeds.

    I don’t think pudgy Bill Clinton could have won his election if the media and the internet had been like it is now in 1998. The SNL skit about him at McDonald’s is child’s play compared to what scathing comments would be made now.

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  19. As an adoptee, I can tell you that Chris Christie is no stranger to discrimination and I often feel like what goes around, comes around.

    That being said, I agree with Ryan’s statement…

    “It is common sense that being obese is a detriment to health. Any study that talks about the benefits of obesity is not seeing the bigger picture.”

    When Christie says that he is the healthiest fat guy around, I think the statement simply lacks common sense. The measure of health has to be long term and he is ignoring the long-term affects of his behavior and current state.

    Furthermore, do you think that Christie’s antics on Letterman detracted from or fed the stereotypes about obesity?

    It might be interesting to compare Christie to Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, who has also been public about his struggle with weight. It appears that Booker also prioritizes service over self, but he has incorporated and modeled health initiatives in to his daily life to encourage and set an example for his constituents.

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  20. Interesting post. But I have two questions/points:

    You wrote: “We don’t judge those who struggle with addiction – unless the addiction is food, and that needs to change NOW.” I think we DO judge all people with addictions. Alcoholics, drug addicts, cigarette smokers, etc are often judged, and quite harshly at that. Yes, people addicted to food are also often criticized, also harshly. Fact is, almost all of us have some sort of addiction/habit that needs changing.

    “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 wish you could clarify this. What do you mean that Obama looks different? I mean, of course he does, as we are all unique humans. Are you referring to the fact that he is African American? And that Hillary is a woman? I really don’t understand what you are saying there. I think a better analogy might be Obama’s smoking….that is an addiction and for some reason the press isn’t jumping on that. And smoking has proven to be much more dangerous than obesity. And more hideous too! (At least, in my opinion!)

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  21. I am way more disturbed by the fun that Letterman and others like him poke at obese people (and the fact that Christie went on his show and basically condoned that behavior!) than I am a physician stating a morbidly obese person is at risk of dying. It’s unfortunate the way that she went about that and I am saddened because the Gov. seems to be a really stand-up leader that I would be happy to vote for, but this will likely be the issue that will keep him out of the office of presidency. I have struggled with obesity my entire life. I’ve been made fun of, judged, passed over and looked down upon. That hurts. It’s not fair and it’s not right. But I don’t want people to sugar-coat the truth about what being obese means. Finally facing the truth is what has given me the strength to deal with my being overweight and to begin to change. I still have a long way to go and no goofy comedian or rude doctor is going to stop me.

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