Candidates’ health is a legitimate concern

In what has surely been one of the most bizarre presidential election cycles in the history of the United States, there have probably been several instances that you thought would be the height of absurdity we would witness. Whether it was Donald Trump’s bragging about the size of his penis during a debate, Bill Clinton’s meeting in private with attorney general Loretta Lynch just days before the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation into his wife’s email scandal, or Ted Cruz standing on the stage at the RNC and refusing to endorse his party’s candidate, you’ve had plenty of good choices so far. And yet the Notorious HRC managed to find a way to top them all on the anniversary of 9/11, as Hillary Clinton was hurriedly ushered away from a public appearance, filmed being dragged into her van by security while totally unconscious, and revealed to have been diagnosed with pneumonia less than a week earlier.

Predictably, in this left-leaning news climate that will do everything in its power to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, the media’s most common reaction to the revelations on Clinton’s health has been a disturbingly careless one: “does it really matter what kind of health our candidates are in?” Let me save you the suspense and a couple hundred words here: yes, yes it does.
There is no more important or stressful a job on the planet than the president of the United States, who just so happens to be the head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the world’s foremost military and economic power. Scrutiny as heavy as that which is applied to the candidates for the position is such not because voters like to tear people down, but because it must be ascertained whether the candidates can effectively handle the duties required. Presidents must be prepared to deliver a diplomatic address in a foreign country one day before turning around on the red-eye and authorizing a military assault the next, and if an illness is causing a candidate to lose consciousness from the rigors of their everyday life, then perhaps they are not well suited for the highest office in the land. What Hillary Clinton showed us last week was not a trivial illness; it was a disqualifying display of infirmity.

Naturally there are plenty in Hillary’s camp who will push back against this criticism using one of two arguments: either that we have had successful presidents in poor health before now, or more insidiously, that Clinton remains in suitable physical condition. Those in the former camp like to trot out Franklin Delano Roosevelt, widely considered one of the finest men to ever hold the office despite being afflicted with polio, as the prime example of a person in less than stellar health effectively performing the duties of president. Of course this is somewhat of a false equivalence, as the polio only ever affected Roosevelt’s ability to walk, never limiting his mental capacity or physical stamina in the ways that we have already seen exhibited by Secretary Clinton. Even before this latest incident of her fainting, Hillary has been displaying elements of poor health for several months, wracked by severe coughs inhibiting her ability to speak, disappearing from the public eye and refusing to make statements for days on end, and even appearing to suffer from small seizures on at least two separate occasions caught on video (one during an interview from July 22, the other during a rally on August 4). From appearances alone, it seems as though Clinton’s health problems run a bit deeper than pneumonia and are having a great deal more of an impact than merely affecting her ability to walk. Naturally, the extent of her health problems are all ultimately left up to conjecture and I must admit that being an accounting student and not a medical doctor, I am in no way qualified to diagnose her with anything. Still, this begs a different question: if she truly has nothing to hide, why has Hillary Clinton been so damn secretive about everything?

I’m not talking about her record as a whole here, which is filled with nearly as many retracted statements, contradictory opinions and outright lies as the Donald himself, but instead on the grating lack of transparency surrounding issues of her health. You can start with the fact that for months she has denied being in any condition of poor health whatsoever, despite all the evidence to the contrary detailed above. Or for a more real-time insight into her deception, just take a look at how Mrs. Clinton’s campaign disseminated the news about her latest collapse, initially claiming that it was a heat stroke (the weather in New York City that day was in the low 70s and cloudy, and her advisors were never seen administering her any fluids) before revealing that she had been diagnosed the previous Friday with pneumonia and was taking antibiotics. Seeing as this would mean that the pneumonia is caused by contagious bacteria, one should then question what she was doing out in public at all or why she felt the need to hug and reassure a young girl who just happened to run through security in order to make sure Clinton was all right after her fainting spell (an obviously staged display meant to engender sympathy). Can anyone honestly look at this situation with impartial eyes and say that things seem to add up? We absolutely need to hold our political candidates to a higher standard than this.

Ay, there’s the rub, an obvious point that must be reiterated because so many people seem to miss its implications: those of us who demand transparency and a truthful account of Hillary’s health are not doing so because we believe that citizens should have no right to privacy over their personal health matters; we do it because she is not just an ordinary citizen, she is a public figure who willingly volunteered to run for president. That means that we the people deserve to know what we are getting from her. Regardless of how much any prospective Hillary supporter likes Tim Kaine, they should be entitled in a fair and honest election to know the likelihood that their vote is essentially being cast for him instead of their actual candidate. Nothing in that assertion should be controversial, especially since the left itself used it (rightly!) to poke holes in John McCain’s presidential campaign back in 2008, when he selected the infamously ignorant and unqualified Sarah Palin to be his running mate. It was fair then to ask whether McCain was in good enough health to make it through his term, just as it is fair now to ask the same of Clinton. Kaine certainly is much better suited for the office of president than Palin ever was, but the principle of the matter, knowing what you are getting from your elected official, remains the same.

And for the record, lest this piece appear biased, I expect the same level of transparency regarding physical and mental health from all candidates, including Donald Trump, who produced a letter (supposedly) from his physician which described his “astonishingly excellent lab results” and labeled him “unequivocally…the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Now if that doesn’t scream phoniness, I’m not sure what does, but at least Trump has displayed no outward indications of poor health. Quite to the contrary, he never seems to stop moving, traveling constantly and keeping himself perpetually in the spotlight in stark contrast to his reclusive opponent. And until he shows any sign that his health might be failing, I see no reason to make it an issue with his campaign the same way it has been made for Clinton. The American people seem to agree with me, as recent polls have shown Trump up to a virtual deadlock following Clinton’s disastrous week. In this wacky, gaffe-filled election cycle, maybe this will be the one thing that actually manages to stick and bring a candidate down.

Post Author: tucollegian

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