Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mr. Health Care Reform topples to tobacco

Fidel Castro has reportedly not smoked since 1985 (amazing when you consider how iconoclastic he is with his cigar). Now, the 64-year-old Brazilian president, Lula de Silva, has given up smoking, something he's done since his teenage years.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, is struggling to give up. He has tried since attaining office to quit and hasn't been successful yet. "No, I can't," Mr. President?
De Silva takes a detached point of view on the issue. "On these sorts of things, you don't give advice," he said, referring to Obama's apparent lack of will power. "Everyone can do what they want if they're of age. Everyone knows that it's not good for your health." No arguments there.
The Guardian newspaper opines that if smoking provides the Messiah with stress relief, then it may be good for him, despite the fact that he may be seen as a bad influence on impressionable teens. They related a tale of Lyndon Johnson who didn't smoke once as President, but engaged in an orgy of tobacco upon leaving office and died four years later.
It is hard to know if The Guardian is being serious here—certainly not the first time I've felt that way about them—but I do know how hard a habit it is to kick. I smoked off and on myself for five years, and, like de Silva, I preferred cigarillos, sucking on rough, unfiltered smoke. Enough was enough, though; after five years of trying to beat a habit I had stupidly been sucked into, and being quite depressed about it, I gave up for good in February 2008. It has now been over two years. I still have a penchant for nicotine gum—don't know when I'll kick that habit—but my lungs are recovered; I hardly ever cough and I'm passionate about running.
Obama wanted the Presidency, and now he's dealing with loads of fallout that seemed inconceivable the day he was elected. He reminds me of the head of air traffic control in the movie Airplane: "My cabinet's in disarray, I'm still struggling to pass health care reform, Republicans are winning Senate seats, got this war in Afghanistan to figure out ... Looks like I quit the wrong year to quit smoking!"
So, I agree (for once) with The Guardian. Let the man smoke. America can ill-afford a twitchy, nicotine-deprived grouch at the helm.

1 comment:

goddessdivine said...

Love Airplane!!

I still hold to my belief that smoking is a disgusting habit. And however much I think Obama is an idiot/hypocrite for doing so, I have much bigger bones to pick with him.