There’s a picture of this president at the G7 summit in Italy riding a golf cart while the other leaders are walking. The headline is snarky, and, predictably, many liberals had some cutting things to say about it as well.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, and I hate that I have to do anything that even resembles defending this president, but it’s not cool to make fun of someone’s physical abilities and/or looks. I’m saying this with bile rising in my mouth because I loathe this president with the heat of a thousand suns, but wrong is wrong, and making fun of him for riding in the golf cart is wrong.
I want to make a distinction. If there’s something in his health that makes it impossible for him to do his job, that’s fair game. It’s the same when Reagan started acting forgetful at the end of his presidency. It was clear there was something wrong with him, and it came as no surprise to learn he’d been struck with Alzheimer’s while in office.
Do I think there’s something in this president’s health report that makes him unfit to be president? Hell, yes. Is it the fact that he chooses to ride a golf cart rather than walk? No. Even if it means he’s out of shape, it’s mean-spirited to take jabs at his shape.
Look. It’s not about him. I could give two shits. It’s about what you’re saying about fat/out-of-shape people in general. As someone who is both and has dealt with eating disorder issues all my life, I have to tell you it’s not a good look.
It’s also incredibly frustrating to see people who advocate being fat positive or not shaming people based on their looks to make fun of this president’s weight. I know we humans are good at cognitive dissonance, but how can they not see that it’s not about this particular person, but about the attitude in general?
I ask this all the time, though. It’s the same with watching liberals tear into Melania for her accent, for being an immigrant, and for posing for nude photos. It’s one thing to attack conservatives’ hypocrisy of relentlessly slagging on Michelle Obama and then calling Melania classy or whatever, but again, the difference is in the details.
I know it’s trite, but two wrongs don’t make a right. I’m not above stooping to someone else’s level on occasion, but my upper lip instinctively curls when I hear a holier-than-thou person who has been chastising everyone else for not being tolerant suddenly questioning Ted Cruz’s viability for president because he was born in Canada. Or calling Melania a slut because she posed nude. Or making fat jokes about Chris Christie.
I will side-eye you all the goddamn day long. If something isn’t OK, that doesn’t change when it’s aimed at a target you dislike. When people were ripping on Cruz being born in Canada, I pointed out that it was the exact same thing as when conservatives were hounding PBO on the birther issue. They protested that they were just pointing out the hypocrisy, but it was more than that. They were being too gleeful in talking about Cruz being an alien or ineligible or whatever.
It’s my turn to be holier-than-thou. If it’s not right for conservatives to go all birther on PBO, then it’s not OK to make fun of Cruz’s citizenship. If we don’t want the conservatives to be shitheads, then we shouldn’t be shitheads ourselves. I particularly detest the attacks on Melania. Again, when she does something that is objectionable, then she’s fair game. However, making fun of her English or her being an immigrant or calling her a slut is not cool.
I can’t believe I have to say this, but if your morals only pertain to people you like, then they’re not morals at all. If you put down Melania for not being able to speak English very well, then you’re putting down all immigrants. If you call her a slut for posing nude, then you’re not very sex-positive/body-positive at all.
There are ways to point out the hypocrisy without falling into the trap of playing the conservatives’ shaming game. Like with the First Ladies. I could say, “It’s interesting how conservatives like to put down Michelle Obama for not being fit to be First Lady while overlooking Melania’s past.” Or in the case of the immigration issue, it’s easy to point out that all the conservatives who made a huge flap over Obama being born in Hawaii are strangely silent on Cruz being born in Canada, followed up by saying that both are legitimate candidates for president, and that it’s the perception that is off.
Back to this president. There are so many things to criticize him on. So. Goddamn. Many. The fact that he rode a golf cart isn’t one of them. I have lung problems, and even when I’m at my fittest, walking is difficult for me. I used to walk four miles a day, and it was a grind every day. It got easier, but it never became effortless. And, no matter what shape I’m in, climbing up and down stairs makes me huff and puff.
Let’s focus on the important things and not stoop to their level. I know it’s tempting, and I’ve done it a time or thrice myself, but it never feels good at the end of the day. I know it can feel good just to unload on him about everything, but it’s not worth the time or the energy. In addition, it’s not good for us, either. Again, I’m not saying we can’t poke fun or that we shouldn’t point out things that are wrong with this president, but let’s try not to be complete assholes about it. It’s in our best interest to keep it legit.