By all accounts Surgeon General nominee Dr. Regina Benjamin is an extraordinary woman. She is an African-American family doctor who has spent most of her professional life serving the people of Bayou La Batre, a poor rural Alabama coastal community. She makes house calls, pays for patients’ medicines, works for free when there is no money. She’s had heaps of honors poured on her head , including a MacArthur genius award. She rebuilt her clinic twice, once following Hurricane Katrina and then a year later when it was destroyed by a fire.
She is an active Catholic and, if her office nurse is to be believed, she is one of the more than 90 percent of Catholics who have no problem with birth control. (I have rarely met a devout Catholic working with poor people who is not an advocate of safe and effective contraception — from nuns in Chile to priests in the Philippines. They get that having children you cannot afford degrades the soul perhaps even more than the body.) This, then, is a near-perfect public face for a president embarking on a controversial last-ditch effort to fix our health care system and serve the poor.
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.
Read more on Regina Benjamin at NewsOne.com.