SPRINGFIELD – We stay in a society the place it’s unacceptable to ridicule a candidate’s race or faith, however more and more a politician’s dimension is truthful recreation.
As politics has develop into more and more mean-spirited, fats “jokes” have develop into extra commonplace.
Politicians corresponding to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. JB Pritzker and, sure, Donald Trump, are subjected to mockery due to their weight.
Right here’s what Democratic guide James Carville needed to say about our president earlier this yr on a podcast: “He’s a giant fats loser, all proper. This man hasn’t seen his [expletive] since 1988, he’s so fats.”
Common readers of this column know that I’m no fan of Trump. However I discover no humor in these remarks. And, sure, I notice that Trump has carried out a lot to coarsen public discourse throughout the previous 5 years. Nonetheless, criticize his concepts, his positions on points however not his belt dimension.
A lot the identical could be stated of the chopping remarks I’ve heard about Pritzker.
Commentary on an Illinois conservative web site alternately refers to him as “Jelly Bean,” “Jelly Stomach” and “Jelly Biscuit.”
Hey, I get it. You don’t like his stand on taxes or the pandemic. However what does his weight should do with these points? Nothing.
Unsuccessful legislative candidate Peter Breen prompt to me a number of months in the past that the explanation Pritzker wasn’t venturing out of Chicago extra was due to his “comorbidity.”
After a protracted pause, I stated, “Are you saying he’s too fats?” His response: sure.
Sorry, Peter. I’m not a fan of a few of the governor’s positions both. That stated, he has been an engaged governor who works exhausting. He’s actively working and out there – greater than most of his current predecessors. I’ve seen no indication that he’s anyway impaired in getting his job carried out.
So, speak about his fiscal insurance policies, not his bodily dimension.
Again once I supervised statehouse reporters, I had a reporter in Trenton, New Jersey who routinely referred to Christie as “Gov. Krispy Kreme” throughout our each day workers conferences. I bit my tongue on a close to each day foundation desirous to say, “Do you notice how silly and petty that makes you sound?”
In hindsight, I ought to have spoken up.
After greater than 30 years of overlaying politicians, I can say often those that joke about weight problems are of us who’ve by no means struggled with it themselves.
I do know the battle. At one level, I weighed 100 kilos greater than I do as we speak. Though I’m now at a wholesome weight, I’m humble sufficient to appreciate the recidivism price on weight reduction is frighteningly excessive.
Over the previous 33 years, my weight has yo-yoed greater than a Duncan Butterfly. It’s a each day battle.
Weight problems isn’t a private failing, it’s a illness.
Early in my profession, I had a supervisor who frequently ridiculed my weight and inferred that I and several other different obese reporters had no enterprise in “his” newsroom.
He was not a pleasant individual. However he was the boss and I simply needed to sit there and take it.
It at all times appeared to me that what I wrote, how I reported or how I in any other case performed myself as an worker was truthful recreation for him to guage. However what enterprise was it of his – or anybody else’s – what my swimsuit dimension was?
Nicely, we’re these politicians’ bosses. Let’s consider them the way in which we wish to be judged. Let’s have a look at their efficiency, insurance policies and positions and depart the measuring tape at residence.
Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse journalist and a contract reporter. Electronic mail him at ScottReeder1965@gmail.com.