There’s been a lot of talk lately about the health records of Presidential candidates, and with good reason. Look, the nominees for the two major parties are the oldest candidates ever, and even the Libertarian and Green Party nominees are no Spring chickens. Voters have the right now know if the person they vote into office will be able to serve out their full term.
Asking for reasonable proof that candidates are in good enough shape to make it through their term isn’t racist or sexist. It’s just good sense.
No one wants or would be happy with a bait and switch. I’m sure both Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are perfectly capable of running the country. But we’re not voting for either of them. We want the candidate who we voted for on election day to be the one who’s walking into the White House on inauguration day.
I don’t think anyone here is asking for some comprehensive, invasive peek into the candidates’ private lives. And simple things like having manageable pneumonia or being overweight aren’t and shouldn’t be red flags.
But if someone is mentally ill or physically ill enough that they’ll have to skip major events and appearances because they’re too sick to get out of bed, they shouldn’t be running for President, and we shouldn’t be electing them.
Apples and Oranges
And for the record, FDR and his staff worked very hard to initially keep private and then downplay his illness. So we need to stop bringing that up. It wasn’t a “Hey, everybody! I’ve got polio!” thing.
Ron Reagan almost surely was suffering from early onset dementia while still in office. But you never heard anyone say “Hey! The President’s mental state is really bad, but it’s no big deal!”
The point is, no one wants to be seen as weak or incompetent. Furthermore, had the citizens of this country known about either leader’s health complications from the get go, they would have been passed over or demanded to step down.
I’ll leave it at this. When you buy a new or recent car (made within the past five years), you have the right to assume that, with proper maintenance and care, it’s probably not going to fall apart the second you drive off the lot. You know it won’t last forever, but it’ll probably get you through the next few years.
That’s the assurance we need in a President. Yes, things happen. But why would we willingly elect a candidate who is physically or mentally ill, knowing they’ll have to be replaced in a year or less? It just doesn’t make sense.
by Elisabeth Elston