Clinton's Gender is the Reason for Health Criticism

By Kurt Suchman
On September 21, 2016

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia

In the midst of one of the country’s most divisive elections, superfluous topics from Donald Trump’s hair to Hillary Clinton’s diet are seeming to sway voter opinions much more than the issues at hand. In one of the most recent controversies involving the candidates, Clinton’s health has been under scrutiny after the Democratic nominee excused herself from the 9/11 memorial service earlier this month due to illness. Sources reported that Clinton left the service due to a bout of dehydration and was then subsequently treated for pneumonia according to the New York Times.

Clinton’s detractors have used the incident to argue her eligibility in running for president. From accusations of lying about her illness to reports of a supposed Clinton body double taking her place, Clinton’s health has taken a far larger place in the election than what is appropriate. The health of our candidates should be of utmost importance in the election, behind the issues. The role as leader of the free world is both emotionally and physically taxing in ways we cannot comprehend, and whoever is taking on that title must be in their best shape going in. However, the presidential election is not the Olympics. It requires mental stamina far more than physical. It requires experience, education, and leadership that cannot be compromised for the sake of a one-off sick day.

It begs the question as to why Clinton’s health has come into the spotlight the way it did when her opponent Donald Trump blatantly refuses to release his own health records. Furthermore, Clinton’s health scare is far from the first health complication to affect a president. Take John F. Kennedy’s lifelong struggles with Addison’s disease, colitis, and debilitating chronic back pain that left him in a back brace. Or maybe Franklin D. Roosevelt’s polio that left him in a wheelchair. With this in mind, there is an obvious gender gap regarding the health of past presidents and Clinton’s. Where the past presidents were respected to the point that their health was left undiscussed, Clinton is painted as old and feeble for excusing herself for medical attention.

It is abhorrent that Clinton’s health is being scrutinized to the extent that it is. If being the president is so stressful, campaigning for the role is that ten-fold. Clinton has been traveling almost non-stop for the past year and that, in itself, must have compromised her health. Even battling pneumonia, Clinton health should be respected for a woman her age doing what she does. At the very least, we should respect Clinton and her health enough to leave them both alone.

ksuchman@ramapo.edu

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