Friday, September 30, 2011

questions without answers...politics and weight

I confess...I've re-started this post several times.  I am having trouble working through my thoughts and I want to feel like I'm expressing myself well.  I do have "PC police" voices in my head but it is actually much more about truly wanting to respect people.  Part of why it is swirling in my head is all the emotions around the issues and wanting to be respectful of those.

Getting on topic, I've been thinking a lot about weight issues again as people raise them in the context of Chris Christie as a potential presidential nominee.  I don't feel like I can get to many conclusions here, but I do have a few issues swirling in my head:
  • Is his size at all relevant to the candidacy? 
    • While it is not always fair to correlate weight and health, I do think health is a relevant issue when picking our highest elected official.  We want someone to be able to handle the physical toil of a 24/7 job.  We don't want a leader unable to complete his/her term or hampered by illness.  That part feels easy to me..except that weight is NOT always a sign of poor health (I'd worry about health issues in a fit pres too). 
    • But, does it matter that the president is the face of our nation?  I remember looking at the portraits lining high school classrooms and thinking presidents have gotten MUCH better looking over the course of history as media has invaded (Van Buren wouldn't make the cut now).  And I think it sort of does matter that you present a good image.  I do think Christie is still very polished and it is very much possible to look good and be larger.  But it still lingers for me....maybe because our national image is definitely becoming linked with weight.
    • And does the president need to be a role model?  I'm lost on this one.  The "grow up to be president" idea is a big one and part of me does think that means being a good role model.  But, then again, I think the person and the professional are separate roles.  I didn't care too much if Clinton was a bad husband...I wouldn't want him as a spouse but was happy to vote for him as a leader.  Is weight the same thing?
  • Is it fair late-night fodder?
    • I am totally inconsistent here.  I don't like mocking people for their weight.  But Letterman's Top Ten list totally made me laugh. 
    • Does quality matter?  Is it because Letterman did it well that I liked his jokes more than a "You're so fat..." joke? 
    • Part of me thinks that you subject yourself to more as a public figure, but I also hate when celebs are mocked for their weight gain.  Again, I'm not consistent here...and it rives me nuts.
    • It seems MUCH more acceptable to laugh at a fat man than a fat woman.  Is it because women are more likely to have emotional issues with food?  Or is it cultural?  Women bond by saying "You look so cute!" while men often bond more over "Dude, when's the baby due?" 
  • Leading to...What if Chris was Christine?
    • More a comment than anything, but I just can't see a woman of Christie's size being considered for the big gig.
Like I said, not the most productive post in terms of actual answers.  And I haven't made much progress despite playing it through my head for a few days.  But I do think it is all worth the thought...

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