Presidential health has been a hot topic in the media sphere over the past few weeks, where both Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton have been questioned extensively. Unfortunately, the narrative has been primarily spun by Trump and in a rare case, he ended up being correct about Clinton’s health.
Over the past few weeks, Trump has been supporting the narrative that Clinton has been and is currently in failing health, citing her history of blood clots and numerous episodes of coughing she has undergone during recent campaign stops. Trump either had a lucky week with his spun stories or perhaps he was right on the money.
Either way, Clinton had a brief fainting spell on her way out of a 9/11 memorial service in New York City after complaining of overheating. Her campaign’s recovery time and reaction was abysmal; they cited overheating as the cause of her fainting spell, but soon revealed that only two days prior Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia.
This recent incident begs the question: how much privacy do presidential candidates have in relation to their health and should they have the same privacy as the average American citizen? There’s only one moral answer to this question, and it is “yes.”
Presidential candidates should expect to have the same privacy as the average American for two key reasons: the first being that although presidential candidates are campaigning to become extraordinary members of American life as the head of the executive branch, they are American citizens too and should have the same rights as any other member of our society.
The second key reason is significantly more complex and presents itself as a question: if we begin to critique and analyze the health of presidential candidates as “fit to serve,” or “unfit to serve,” where do we draw this line and what diseases, disabilities or medical issues would specifically be enough to discount an individual from the American presidency? Would these issues be only physical afflictions such as a physical disability, persistent diseases or perhaps mental afflictions like depression?
The line for “fit to serve” would be too large and vague to accurately assess presidential candidate health, and perhaps even more important is the fact that it could exclude millions of able Americans from deciding to run for president, which would be entirely un-American.
Judging presidential candidates by their health on whether or not they are fit to serve is entirely wrong and potentially discriminatory, and while it is a hot topic currently this election cycle, it’s important to engage the topic with critical personal analysis.