from crooks and liars
The sickening hate of our new Surgeon General
By John Amato
Friday Jul 24, 2009 7:45am
As soon as Dr Regina Benjamin was named as our new Surgeon General the right wing haters crawled out from under their rocks. Every single move President Obama makes is immediately transformed into some socialistic/Nazi/Witch doctor conspiracy theory which is amping up the crazies and violence is sure to follow in even greater numbers now than it already has. C&L has vigorously objected to several of President Obama's moves on policy, but the freepers even attacked the jeans he wore when he threw out the first pitch at the All Star game.
Now they've expanded their hatred and have unleashed vile attacks on Dr. Benjamin.
The only problem seems to be that some people think the face is too fat.
From her photos, it appears that Dr. Benjamin will need a generous size 18 military uniform. The anti-fat brigade has been arguing in various online comments sections about her BMI and whether or not the term obese applies. These chattering masses wonder if a country plagued by obesity should have an above average-weight woman speaking to public health.
For me the answer is a resounding yes. This country is full of above-average weight women and children struggling for dignity as well as to lose weight. Achieving either of these is not easy. (Never mind that none of these criticisms have mentioned any actual health concerns Benjamin might or might not have, instead presuming "obesity" as a catch-all for bad health.) Having a confident, big-bodied and big-spirited woman as America's family doctor could do more to improve their health than skinny HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius. It's good to know that even doctors struggle with their weight -- and lead full and active lives in spite of adversity.
Amanda Marcotte has an excellent post about this story.
Yet, as Marcotte points out, there is an increasing tendency to see all of this as yet another opportunity to marginalize and shame certain segments of society based upon appearance:
By saying this, I’m not making any health claims about weight. That discussion, while interesting, is beside the point of this post. It’s enough to know that most people strongly associate health and weight. So when disingenuous sexists start to bellyache about the dangers of letting fat women out in public, they get traction, because it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to suggest that not being perfectly healthy is a moral failing that should be punished with social disapproval, shaming, ostracism, and lowered access to society. Of course, we double down on fat people, and triple down on fat women, because of plain old prejudice, but this isn’t happening in a vacuum. Smokers, people who don’t eat right, and other people with poor health habits are also considered morally inadequate, if harder to judge because they’re harder to spot. The fetish for health management is, I suspect, a large reason that the anti-vaccination movement has taken hold. People who want an edge in the moral olympics of prevention are inventing counterintuitive (and anti-intellectual) shit to do in order to win as the bestest, most deserving of good health.
I would like to add my 2 cents. I believe that Dr. Benjamin is being attacked because of what she represents. Because her life story is not only an American success story,but it's a story of those who gave back.
Is anyone under the delusion that if she were some hotshot from a major city hospital, who shills for whatever BigPHARMA she could find that she'd be attacked by the right wing?
Of course not.
She is a medical doctor, who, because of a GOVERNMENT PROGRAM FORGIVING THE MEDICAL SCHOOL LOANS of doctors willing to go to underserved communities, was able to go an underserved community and work. Not only does Dr. Benjamin go there, but she STAYS there. Opens up a clinic, and gives medical care for FREE.
When her clinic is destroyed during HURRICANE KATRINA, does she pull up stakes, move to greener pastures?
She remains there, dedicated to her patients. To that community.
When it is burned in a fire (now, I could wear the tinfoil hat, but I won't..I'll accept the explanation that it just ' burned'), does Dr. Benjamin give up on the community?
So, you have a Black woman, from humble beginnings, who went to HBCU's, got into and finished medical school, used a government program to find a way to serve others, and doesn't ditch said community when the time is up.
Can you all see where this has very little to do with how much Dr. Benjamin WEIGHS, and everything for what she REPRESENTS.
SHE represents EVERYTHING THAT THE MODERN MEDICAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IS NOT.
She serves people that this country would rather not admit exists, and if they do admit it, then they don't believe that there's nothing wrong with these people not having any decent healthcare, which is what happened before Dr. Benjamin got there.
NOT CHARGING PATIENTS?
Who is this woman?
Some kind of socialist?
They hate that she went to TWO HBCU's'.
They HATE the GOVERNMENT PROGRAM that allowed her to serve a poor community.
They hate anything that reminds them of the utter failure that was Hurricane Katrina, and anything that would show sympathy towards the people that survived through that.
Dr. Benjamin might not be great on television (I don't know about her tv skills), but I'm willing to put serious money on her interpersonal skills. I'd be willing to believe that, in Townhall settings, that she could sell Healthcare Reform in a way that very few could, because of her story.
Plus, they know she's not a quitter. She's a fighter. For those who don't usually have a voice.
Of course they hate her.
She's a challenger to the corrupt, amoral, evil system of healthcare that exists in this country. She can't be lobbied. She can't be bribed to stop speaking out for those who need her help; for those Americans that need healthcare. For those Americans like the ones she's dedicated a nice portion of her life to, even though they're in Nebraska, Oregon, Kansas, Maine. She knows those folks. She's heard their stories before; she has taken them into her heart.
Don't let them distract you. The ' weight' issue is just a smokescreen.
They know Dr. Benjamin's power lies in her own personal story. They know that if you asked the average American,
' what would you want in your own doctor?'
That more than most would be describing Dr. Regina Benjamin.