Candidate Trump has made it very clear that he finds overweight people to be contemptible. You know the statements:
[About Rosie O’Donnell] “Fat ass.”
[To a heckler] “It’s amazing. I mention food stamps and that guy who’s seriously overweight went crazy. He went crazy.”
[About DNC hacker] “Could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”
[About Miss Universe, Alicia Machado] “Miss Piggy”
There are many, many more examples.
I’m guessing you may think you’re a little too heavy, with a few too many pounds in the wrong places, wide in the middle. Many of us feel that way.
From a political strategy point of view, it’s probably not a smart move to offend overweight people. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 36.5% of Americans are obese, and many more are technically overweight; many more than that are aware they could afford to lose a few and are probably sensitive about the spare pounds they’ve put on over the years. That’s a lot of people. But that’s not my point.
Being in the food world, I have a lot of friends who probably feel they’re tipping the scales at more than just a few pounds. I’m talking about people who are not medically at risk but are just bigger than the medical charts say they should be. I honestly see a little body fat as a sign that people are enjoying their food, their life. As candidate Trump said about Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, she’s “someone who likes to eat.” I’m sure she did and does. Most of us do. And just about everyone is probably sensitive about their weight. And when a potential leader of our country sees them – you, me, us – as objects of ridicule, the likelihood is high that many people will feel personally assaulted. That’s politically bad news for candidate Trump.
The bad news for our country is that we could end up with a man at the top who doesn’t like overweight people and whose contempt is likely to spread throughout the population, making it okay “again” to call someone a “fat ass” (and a lot worse) without being considered – or feeling like – a bad person.
That’s the America we’re headed for with candidate Trump, a place where people who are even a little overweight – and that’s most of us, at least in our own minds – will feel more shame. It’s hard to see how that will make any of us feel great again.