Tuesday, September 13, 2016

When Political Leaders Cover up Their (Bad) Health

I had pneumonia when I was 40 years old. I did not know I had it. I just thought I had a bad cold. I did not feel good on Monday, but I went to work all week. I felt worse every day.

By Friday I felt terrible. I was having trouble breathing. My windpipe felt sore. I thought, “I’ll rest up over the weekend and get well by Monday morning.” Instead, I felt worse on Saturday afternoon than I had Friday. I now knew that this was no ordinary cold.

Sunday afternoon, I was nearly delirious, but I went to a doctor who was actually seeing patients on the weekend. He diagnosed pneumonia right away and injected me with an antibiotic before he gave me a prescription for it.

I did not go back to work until Tuesday.

At age 40, pneumonia is nothing to monkey around with. For someone who is nearly 69, even if she has her own personal doctor and can drop into “Chelsea’s emergency department” any time she likes, it won’t lead to a full recovery if she doesn’t rest and take proper medicine. Yet Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is playing with fire in seemingly making her health decisions subject to political expediency. The notion of some of her “defenders” that she is admirably “powering through” her illness by going to events is nonsense. She is now more wisely skipping her previously scheduled travel plans in order to rest. (She planned to make her get-together with California campaign donors into a teleconference.)

Covering up the bad health of a national leader or candidate is not new; it has repeatedly been a historical problem. In 1932, presidential candidate Franklin Delano Roosevelt carefully avoided displaying the fact that he had polio and could not walk without crutches—or, most of the time, even with crutches. It was no secret that he had polio, but he was always pictured so that his disability did not show. He was photographed being propped up by those around him, but the picture was always cropped to make it look like his literal supporters were just standing by him or were not there at all. FDR also developed serious heart disease, but that condition was also kept from the public, even during his last campaign for his historic fourth term. He died before he finished the term.

Before Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a severe stroke during his second term, and the White House kept it from everyone. Mrs. Wilson—née, Edith Bolling—essentially ran the White House, deciding who saw the president and even making policy decisions, albeit with the input of the president’s most trusted advisers. Congress suspected that something was wrong because Wilson stopped appearing in public, so a meeting at the White House with several congressmen was arranged. The President was having a relatively good day but sat throughout the meeting. When the congressmen left, they were somewhat satisfied although they had nagging questions. The White House kept this cover-up going for the better part of two years.

President Grover Cleveland had major surgery while he was president and covered up his illness (cancer of the jaw), treatment and recovery. People wondered where he was, but, after his recovery, he made an appearance and was able to put on a good show, so it was believed that the rumors about his health were false. A journalist who had correctly reported that the president had undergone major surgery was publicly humiliated and professionally ruined.

Now, by making a comparison to Roosevelt, Wilson, or Cleveland, I am only making a comparison in terms of medical information about a leader. I am in no way intending to compare Hillary Clinton to these presidents in any other way. (She should be so lucky.)

Nevertheless, when I compare her medical situation to that of German Chancellor and supreme dictator Adolf Hitler, her defenders will automatically assume that I am comparing her to Hitler in every way. I am not, of course. I am only making a comparison of the two individuals’ medical situations.

Hitler’s health was fairly poor toward the end of his rule. He suffered from Parkinson’s Disease among other ailments, but this was not generally known. His personal physician, Theodor Morell, told his patient that he was injecting him with vitamins, which the patient readily believed, although it was a lie. Morell was actually giving the leader of Germany a cocktail of which the primary ingredient was amphetamines. All Hitler knew was that, as weak and rotten as he felt beforehand, Doctor “Feelgood” Morell always gave him back the spring in his step.

Now, if Mrs. Clinton’s doctor is giving her drugs that cover up her symptoms rather than curing whatever disease(s) she might have, then she (the doctor) is doing neither her patient nor the American people any favors. My reason for saying this is that the evidence of Sunday, September 11, 2016, is that Mrs. Clinton was very weak when she left the public event at the 9/11 Memorial, but, within a very few hours, she was caught on camera practically dancing.

The people of the United States have been lied to about the health of their leaders before. This is simply selfish on the part of the leaders. If they are not healthy enough to lead the country through any emergency that might arise, they should refrain from running for or continuing to serve as president.

1 comment:

  1. And of course, JFK was in pretty much constant pain. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/08/the-medical-ordeals-of-jfk/309469/