Regina Benjamin is supremely qualified to be surgeon general—except on one count, argue some: “The anti-fat brigade wonder if a country plagued by obesity should have an above average-weight woman speaking to public health,” writes Frances Kissling in Salon. Yes, we should, Kissling says. Countless Americans are trying to gain dignity and lose weight, and “having a confident, big-bodied and big-spirited woman” as surgeon general can inspire them.
“It's good to know that even doctors struggle with their weight—and lead full and active lives in spite of adversity,” Kissling notes. As the Sonia Sotomayor hearings have reinforced, President Obama seems committed in his nominees to “the idea of bringing into public life those whose experience enhances empathy rather than disdain for ordinary people.”