Polarizing, against-the-grain personalities always bring pertinent issues to the forefront, intentionally or not. The presidential aspirations of Andrew Yang brought the subject of a basic income system into American intercourse again (read “Universal Basic Income is Unwise But Imminent”). Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem kneel down brought about renewed discussions of police ethics and racial discrimination. As President Donald Trump’s weight becomes the latest punching bag for media outlets, the topic of obesity once again takes the spotlight. However, standing in the shadows of obesity is another pressing issue. An issue that flies over the heads of many of today’s media pundits. An issue that, if left unchecked, could be a large contributing factor to the downfall of American culture as we know it.
Many pockets of American society sanctimoniously tear down others who pose some sort of emotional, psychological, or ideological threat to them. A venture into a Reddit forum or a Facebook timeline will show many people describing Kanye West as “crazy”: crazy for supporting Trump and wearing a MAGA hat, crazy for marrying a Kardashian, crazy for his interview on The Ellen Show, crazy for making a gospel album. What is legitimately crazy is playing the lottery. A 2016 Gallup survey suggests that nearly half of Americans play the lottery, spending over $1000 a year on tickets. Considering that the odds of walking away with the biggest lottery winnings are 1 in over 292 million, consistently spending money to participate in a game of chance is “crazy”.
Donald Trump nemesis, Nancy Pelosi, recently earned herself an award of Excellent Verbal Achievement in the Twittersphere with her recent comments about the POTUS taking hydroxychloroquine:
"As far as the President is concerned, he's our President and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group -- morbidly obese, they say. So, I think it's not a good idea.”
As a result, memes fat-shaming the President are making the rounds:
Trump is a man who has dished out more than his fair share of insults during his political career, so he is not immune to taking a few himself. The irony (and there is lots of it) is that other public figures are celebrated by the masses for being overweight. Singer Lizzo has become a Billboard chart-climber, as she perpetuates the phrase “body positivity”. For years, many Hip-Hop acts like Fat Joe, DJ Khaled, and Rick Ross escaped criticism for their weight. Generally speaking, the political and entertainment arenas are vastly different, but we have seen a merging of the two cultures in ladder years. Trump is the poster child of the celebrity president. In politics, there are numerous overweight governors and mayors, who only get criticized for it when they pass an unpopular policy. Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker is obese, but because Illinoisans feel he is doing a good job with handling the pandemic, his weight is brushed under the rug. Is #PlumpPritzker trending anywhere?
There is this saying about stones and glasshouses.
The Twitter world is amusing itself as #PresidentPlump and #PlumpTrump is trending, but the nation’s obesity rate hovers over 42%. Furthermore, 18% of Americans are considered “severely obese” (which Trump is not as of this writing). Yes, he holds the highest office in the land, but people should not hold someone else to a standard that they are not willing to hold themselves to. Even if that someone else is the President.
Human nature is full of hypocrisy and contradictions. We are ALL flawed beings. Instead of fascinating ourselves with alliterative hashtags and screaming about how much of a hypocrite someone else is, we should take a moment to observe our own lives and always strive to better. A lack of personal accountability continues to chip away at the foundation of our society.
We are ALL hypocrites.