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May 29, 2017

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A rare show of political civility

Republican Huckabee terms himself a "recovering 'foodaholic.'" He once weighed 135 kilograms, a whopping 300 pounds. When the former governor heard Michelle Obama's tune, he began reminding Americans that their country relies on volunteers for its armed forces. At the moment, he says, 75 percent of the young people eligible to join the military are actually not eligible at all because they are obese or too overweight to pass muster. Huckabee labels the situation "no longer a health [or] economic issue," but "a national security issue."

Stop pummeling the first lady about her drive for healthy food, is his advice to disgruntled Republicans. She is not trying to lock up the cookie jar or drive pizzerias underground.

Fellow Republican New Jersey Governor Christie admits to a 30 year battle with his weight. With reporters, he is apt to dip into the present tense for his verbs. "And it's [still] a struggle," he says. His view is that children are smart to do all they can to avoid his difficulties. "More power to them," he says. "I think the first lady is speaking out well."

I will readily bet next month's pocket money (a modest sum, I confess) that this is the tamest column about politics that you've ever read. Perhaps in a Mark Twain-like way, I am here to ask a simple question: How long has it been since you heard a political leader of one party say something even remotely kind about a leader (even a spiritual leader, such as Mrs. Obama) of a rival party?

I may never vote for Mr. Huck Finn, (oops), Mr. Huckabee, or Governor Christie. I like it very much, however, that those two gentlemen are willing to admit that, upon occasion, even a Democrat can be right.

I apologize for not writing this week about Taiwan. We all know we have no overweight people here, young, middle-aged, or whatever. And, of course, our political leaders, unlike those in other lands, are constant paragons of civility.

Father Daniel J. Bauer SVD is an associate professor in the English Department at Fu Jen Catholic University.

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