ISIS, immigration and Obamacare were the sound-bites driving the 2016 Presidential election. We heard about these issues ad nauseum. In my opinion, there are two giant issues devastating Americans and our economy that we never heard a peep about – obesity and domestic violence. These two elephants in the Trump White House living room are destined to get bigger and more debilitating.
According to the National Institute of Health (Statistics compiled in 2010) 2 in 3 adults and 1 in 3 children are considered overweight and 1 of 3 adults is obese. We are well on our way to fulfilling the prophecy of the 2008 children’s movie Wall-e. The story line is that Earth’s inhabitants have traded healthful, garden-based foods for what they can buy cheap at the mega-store, Buy-n-Large, the Earth is a trash bin, and the Earthlings are so fat that they now travel in hover chairs because their flaccid, obese bodies can no longer walk. One trip to WalMart indicates the movie script was based in reality.
Between 2001 and 2012 6,458 US troops were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the same period 11,766 US women were killed by an intimate partner. In short, we have a health crisis and a war going on in the United States that Donald Trump is not only whoa-fully unqualified to address – he is part of the problem on both fronts.
Unless you have been living under a rock the past 10 years then you have heard that Donald Trump hammered Rosie O’Donnell with disgusting smears including calling her a “Pig” based on her weight. He is also famous for calling 1996 Miss Universe, Alicia Machado fat. For a nano-second it is amusing to note that Trump is now fatter than these two women, until the reality of what this means to our country sets in.
Neither Obamacare, nor whatever Trumpcare is going to look like can solve the problem of obesity. It is not a genetic disease. Obesity comes from putting in more calories and bad calories than the body can use. If you grew up in a home with obese parents then you may have a predisposition to obesity – meaning, if you model your parents’ eating habits, obesity will probably be the first and foremost health issue to show up. It does not mean that obesity was inevitable because of your DNA.
The number one solution for obesity is personal responsibility – get back to the garden, stop shoveling in “Junk” foods and get out of the chair and exercise. Hilary Clinton is also overweight and unfit so there was zero discussion about this national epidemic in the election cycle.
Many of the entitlements Trump is railing against are going to the obese and unfit so they can get drugs and scooters instead of shovels and seeds and exercise equipment. With Trump’s waistline expanding before our eyes (He can’t even button his suits anymore) there is no hope he will get his head out of his ample butt on this issue anytime soon.
Domestic violence stems from an attitude that is prevalent in almost every religion, that women are the property of men. One of Hilary Clinton’s anti-Trump commercials showed a clip of him saying, “It is dangerous to let your wife work.” That same ad showed him admitting that he didn’t respect women. Ivana Trump filed court documents including a vivid story of how she was raped by Donald Trump in a blind rage. And the now famous Billy Bush/Trump tape confirms that Trump considers sexual assault the privilege and perk of his star status.
Since money and safety were the big hooks for Trump supporters let’s talk about money and safety.
I grew up in a Trumpish household, which I now recognize as domestic violence, and I attracted it in adulthood. The statistics show that children who witness and live in a denigrating and/or violent home will be at risk for domestic violence in adulthood.
Statistics about the economics of domestic violence are elusive because the fallout is hard to put into a spread sheet. But here is a peek at what my experience cost the tax payers and my circle of friends.
I fled my home with a ten month old baby in my arms after being threatened with murder for the last time. I had no income, no savings, no family and nowhere to go.
Over the next three years the State of Oregon gave me two domestic violence grants of $1500 each to help me gain safety and stability. I borrowed thousands of dollars from friends and got on food stamps and SSI benefits. I received $600-$700 a month in government handouts for years.
Get a job you say? My son had been traumatized from the womb on and I wasn’t going to turn him over to strangers to raise while I worked a minimum wage job that would barely cover day care and not support us. I worked tirelessly trading work for rent so I could raise my son myself. Besides, I had a new job as a full-time litigator.
I spent six years litigating Pro Se to protect us, while daddy ran up $12,000 worth of legal bills instead of supporting his son. The state had to spend money over and over chasing him and eventually jailing him for 45 days before they started garnishing his wages and social security to get us child support. It takes several expensive government agencies to make that happen. If Trump eliminates any of the government agencies that process these claims children will go hungry and actually die on the streets in Trumps Great America!
I am not overweight or obese, as I nearly died from bulimia and took personal responsibility for my eating habits that were driven by my emotional baggage. I got back in the garden where health comes from, and off the sugar, which is driving obesity and diabetes to pandemic levels.
We label obese people disabled and hand them a ton of entitlements that able-bodied people have to pay for. There are no perks or government handouts for eating responsibly or strapping on your running shoes. But you can get paid to roll your scooter through Walmart and fill your cart with deadly, sugary, nutrient-dead foods. In Wall-e’s world this phenomenon led to the end of Earth as we know it.
There is little the average citizen can do about ISIS or The Wall Trump plans to build, but we can each take responsibility for our own bodies, eating habits and exercise plans. And we must teach our children to honor each human being as equally precious and deserving of love, respect and safety.
Trump’s mouth and antics have given me much fodder to discuss appropriate behaviors with my now 12-year-old son. As a mixed race child he is flat frightened to live in Trump’s America. As a survivor of domestic violence I am very concerned about him following in Trump’s and his father’s sexist footsteps. And like my former self, my son wants to sedate his emotions with junk foods. I am fighting the good fight to teach him healthier coping methods.
Who will model personal responsibility, civility and respect for women in the Trump administration? I can’t name anyone. What will happen when Trump pulls the rug out from under domestic violence programs? The results will be as devastating as Nazi Germany. The streets are already cluttered with the bodies of children and adult children survivors of domestic violence freezing and begging for help, as the obese roll by them on their scooters. Not Great America!