If Paul Campos were running for president, I’d consider backing him. Seriously.
If Campos used an ounce of the methodical reporting, rational examination of the numbers and plain ole’ common sense he uses to deconstruct stereotypes and discrimination against fat people towards, say, the American economy, the nation would be much better for it.
In his latest column, “Yet another excuse,” Campos takes on right wing idiot Michael Savage, who recently suggested America’s health-care woes could be solved by interning fat people in what he euphemistically calls “work camps.”
Savage, the appropriately-named conservative radio host, vented his disgust toward “fat women” and claimed non-thin Americans do not deserve access to health care. Ironically, as Campos points out:
That a shameless demagogue like Savage advocates concentration camps for people with what he considers inappropriate bodies is bad enough (Savage’s parents, it’s worth noting in this context, were Jewish).
There are many people who believe fat people don’t deserve equitable access to health care, or insist that fat people ought pay more for equal coverage. But – or so I would hope – there are few people who would agree with the shock-jock that fat people should be rounded up and corralled in concentration-like camps.
But as Campos notes, “The same sort of ignorant hysteria that fuels Savage’s foaming at the mouth also inspires more respectable, but potentially much more dangerous, suggestions from our political elite.”
Case in point: Barack Obama in the Dec. 7 Democratic presidential primary.
During the debate, the presidential hopeful claimed the Medicare system could save a trillion dollars – yes, a trillion – if we hopped aboard the obesity time machine to 1980 – see the Big Fat Blog discussion of it here.
And, of course, it’s common knowledge that former fattie and diet-industry shill Mike Huckabee, who’s steadily gaining amongst conservative voters, has turned his own battle of self into a national crusade against fat(people).
“The theory, it seems, is that an ounce of weight loss is worth a pound of Medicare spending,” writes Campos of Obama’s remark. He then goes on to briefly deconstruct the claim, before ultimately concluding:
…The reason Medicare costs are skyrocketing is because Americans are living longer and longer lives, and very old people almost always eventually become very sick people, who are very expensive to care for.
Indeed, those who wish to do their patriotic duty, in fiscal terms, ought to aim to die of massive heart attacks at the precise end of their economically useful lives.
The reality is that a significant portion of the anti-fat hysteria that has gripped the culture over the past decade is driven by a desire to find any plausible excuse for not doing what every other developed nation in the world does: provide basic health care for all citizens.
It seems the real elephant in the room isn’t obesity at all, but rather, our attitudes towards fatness and the current system affording health care to privileged Americans.