Airline stewardess Kathy Truax has been fired from her job because she is four pounds overweight. Her airline set a weight limit of 135 pounds for her height of feet, seven inches, and she weighed in at 139 pounds.
Kathy says this is discrimination because no weight limit is applied to pilots. Obviously, whether Kathy weighs 135 or 139 pounds has no bearing on her ability to serve meals and wait on passengers. It may have a bearing on whether her shape is pleasing to the eye. She questions whether employers have a right to set higher standards for female symmetry than they set for male.
If airlines are permitted to have regular weight and other health examinations for their employees, should we not do likewise for politicians? Jim Bishop’s new book entitled “FDR’s Last Year” documents the fact that President Franklin D. Roosevelt flunked his health exam at Bethesda Naval Hospital before he ran for his fourth term in 1944. The doctor’s grim conclusion was that Roosevelt might die at any moment.
Bishop tells how the President’s physician lied to the coun try, and even to the President, and that the White House palace guard engaged in a “conspiracy of smiles” so that no word of Roosevelt’s dangerous condition was ever leaked to the press or the public.
It was during FDR’s last year that he went to the Yalta Conference inside the Soviet Union, and there turned over to dictator Stalin the control of Poland, vital bases in the Far East, and millions of anti-Communist Russian refugees. Many of our present day problems were caused by these vast concessions to Communism made by the dying Roosevelt at Yalta.
Jim Bishop has pioneered a new form of historical writing based on eye-witness testimony and interviews with actual participants in historic events. His new book even includes an interview with convicted spy-perjurer Alger Hiss, who was one of the top advisers of President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State Stettinius at the Yalta Conference.
Woodrow Wilson is another example of a President seriously ill during his last year in office. He had suffered a paralytic stroke and was virtually incapacitated. Many people believe that Mrs. Wilson functioned as the acting President while the public was kept in the dark about how ill Wilson really was.
The deception of the public about Roosevelt’s and Wilson’s health should be contrasted with the almost embarrassingly frank public discussion of President Eisenhower’s heart attack in 1955 and ileitis in 1956. And the press has reported Richard Nixon’s recent illness in the fullest detail, although it is hardly of earth shaking importance now that he is no longer in the White House.
Maybe it would be a good idea to require our Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, and Supreme Court Justices to pass regular health examinations. Their work is, we hope, at least as important as that performed by the much-examined, often weighed, airline hostesses.