It’s official. Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is Mitt Romney’s running mate. And it’s also ‘official’ that Paul Ryan is considered to have a hot bod by Fox Nation, is described as ‘super-fit’ by the New York Daily News, in answer to the question of whether Mr. Ryan’s biceps are getting more attention than his budget. Well, apparently, at least by the New York Daily News. That's just a mini-sample of the 277,000,000 hits you'll get on Google for the words "Paul Ryan hot bod". Contrast that with the mere 65,000,000 hits for the words "Paul Ryan economics" (Mr. Ryan is known politically for his economic plans for the country).
I am sick and tired of the nonsense that passes for news. I couldn’t get away from Mr. Ryan’s physique without turning off the television and refusing to read any national newspapers.
The last election cycle, I actually stopped watching Chris Matthews out of disgust at his show's open sexism in the treatment of Hilary Clinton. Whether for her or against her, watching Chris Matthews (liberal) and Ann Coulter (conservative) giggle like school girls over whether Mrs. Clinton’s calves are fat or not, whether she should wear one strand of pearls or two and tut-tutting over the cleavage shot captured by C-SPAN in their from-the-galleries downward camera angle frustrated and offended me almost beyond words.
If (and it’s a huge and very sarcastic if) there is anything positive in this similar treatment of Mr. Ryan, I suppose it’s that we have now devolved as a nation to the point where men are objectified as much as women. (Well, we all know that isn’t even a little bit true, but I trust my point is taken).
For the record, if anyone should care even a little bit,
(1) I do not care, not even a little, what Mr. Ryan’s percentage of body fat is. I understand why he would care; but I do not.
(2) I do not care, not even a little bit, what workout regimen Mr. Ryan uses. And I am still bemused that the interviewer of Mr. Ryan’s trainer (well, actually the trainer for all of Congress – yes, they apparently have a professional trainer for the Congressional fitness center [and yes, they’ve got their own fitness center]) asked cooing questions about Mr. Ryan’s workout regimen and didn’t even bother to raise the question of how much it costs the taxpayers to assure that Mr. Ryan and others in Congress remain physically fit.
(3) I do not wish to see photographs of Mr. Ryan’s physique. Unfortunately, searching the web for an informal count of stories about policy versus stories about physique, I was treated to the image of Paul Ryan shirtless. I don’t know how many ways to get this point across, but here it is put another way: Running for the office of President or Vice President is not a beauty pageant.
Please, please, please, people of the United States, can we please grow up? Can we please get down to the very serious business of picking our next elected officials? Can we please stop caring about the unimportant? Can we please stop being distracted by the silly baubles others put before us and pay real attention to the real issues?
If all we ever do is look at the cover, we will never bother to read the book. And trust me on this: what’s inside the book matters way, way more than the cover. Everyone in the world, including those who are running, understand that far better than we seem to.