Hillary Clinton’s Pneumonia Scares the Hell Out of Me

What in the actual fuck is even happening right now?  How is it that intelligent, thoughtful people have managed to succumb to Steve Bannon and Trump’s….can you call it a whisper campaign if they’ve been screaming about it at the top of their lungs?….propaganda on Hillary Clinton’s “poor health”?  In a chimerical effort to distract everyone from Donald Trump’s joke of a letter, which reveals absolutely nothing about his actual health, from someone who is perhaps his doctor, the Trump campaign has been guffawing like an insufferable child who has won a game of “Made ya look!” after Hillary revealed on Sunday that she has pneumonia. Somehow, serious journalists lost their goddamn minds after Secretary Clinton left a 9/11 Memorial ceremony early, became dizzy, and lost her balance or fainted momentarily as she was getting in the car.  Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post made a hard 180 from, Okay, enough with the talking about Hillary Clinton’s health, to, Hillary Clinton’s health just became a real issue in the presidential campaign, just a few days later.  On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw, in all his infinite wisdom and years of medical training asserted that Secretary Clinton should go to the hospital and see a neurologist to assuage people’s fears.

ABC even reported that she had died.  DIED!  ABC!  This wasn’t Breitbart or some fringe wackadoodle “news” site. I swear to god, it’s like the scene in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear loses his goddamn mind. 

 Rather than apply Occam’s razor and, you know, common sense, mainstream media and regular people have allowed conspiracy theory to take the place of reason.  Rather than accepting that fainting and getting dizzy is something that plenty of people do when they’re overheated and dehydrated, because she’s Hillary Clinton, something more sinister must be at work, like brain damage or Parkinson’s.  Rather than giving Secretary Clinton some time, space, and privacy to be evaluated by her doctor before releasing a statement, everyone foamed at the mouth to know what was going on because they had the patience of a 5 year old who had snorted lines of Pixie Stix.  A doctor evaluated her and issued a letter.  Secretary Clinton has pneumonia, she became dehydrated, and she just needs to rest.  So, reality: Clinton has a fairly common illness, from which she will recover.  In addition, she has been continuing to campaign, despite her illness, which is incredibly badass.  What everyone else hears: ZOMG!  Pneumonia!  She’s dying!  How can she be president if she can come down with an illness like pneumonia!  This feeble female can’t continue, so she’s using a body double!  You can tell by scrutinizing her body!

Misogyny, with a side of presidential campaign

Andrew Jackson had chronic headaches, was losing his eyesight, and had bleeding in his lungs.  Grover Cleveland had a cancerous growth removed from his mouth as he sailed around New York Harbor in a yacht.  Because of his obesity, William Taft had high blood pressure and heart problems.  The exhaustion he suffered because of his sleep apnea sometimes caused him to sleep through important meetings.  Woodrow Wilson suffered so many strokes that he became blind in his left eye and paralyzed on his left side.  He also kept this a secret for as long as he could before the 25th Amendment was invoked. FDR had polio.  He also had cardiovascular disease, which he knew about when he ran for reelection in 1944, and which caused his death just months into his fourth term.  Eisenhower was diagnosed with Chron’s disease in office.  He also suffered a major heart attack and a stroke while in office.   JFK flat out lied during his campaign that he had Addison’s disease.  Of course he did have the disease of the adrenal glands.  In an adrenal crisis, it would have been possible for him to lose consciousness.  Ronald Reagan, the Republican gold standard, led our country while his mind fell victim to Alzheimer’s.  George H.W. Bush had Grave’s disease, but more importantly, atrial fibrillation.  This sort of irregular heartbeat made him susceptible to blood clots and stroke.  Then there was the incident that happened in Kyoto, Japan, which everyone laughs about now, but was very scary in the moment.  W passed out while choking on a pretzel.

These men lived and were confronted with some serious health challenges, and some that were not so serious.  The incident that President George H.W. Bush had in Japan is so similar to Secretary Clinton’s episode on Sunday.  Although, while he just had the flu, was okay, and was just fine to continue leading our country, it’s actually the ghost of Hillary Clinton who’s been campaigning this whole time!

The bottom line is that this wouldn’t be that serious of an issue if Hillary was not a woman.  She would have been allowed 5 minutes of privacy to get her shit together.  At this point, I imagine the press will want to know every time she does have a shit.  Presidential candidates should certainly disclose to the public any ongoing health concerns, which could interfere with their ability to do the job.  Secretary Clinton has done that, yet she’s being held to a higher standard.  Why?  “Well, she’s not trustworthy, so you can’t believe anything her campaign puts out.”  Okay, putting aside the fact that you’ve obviously been suckered by Congressional Republicans in the 90s, it’s not as though Donald Trump is the portrait of integrity, (that he bought with $20K earmarked for charity) and has provided satisfactory disclosure on his actual health.  The reality that Hillary and every woman knows is that we are not allowed to be sick.  If we are sick, then we are weak, a hypochondriac, or an attention-seeker.  It’s a known fact that doctors frequently discriminate against women and treat them as though they are overreacting.  And think about this: have you ever found out that a man is staying home for a sick day, and the first thing you or someone else says is, “Wow!  He must really be sick!”  However, if a woman calls out, there’s murmuring about what she’s actually doing with her “sick” day.  And lord help you if you’re a woman with a chronic illness.  So we as a society already treat sick women with disdain and suspicion.  I actually had a man say to me yesterday that Clinton isn’t a badass for campaigning while sick with pneumonia for the following reasons: 1) Hitler had siphylis, and 2) While he maybe admitted to her toughness, true badassery is reserved for people like Chuck Norris.  Any woman who can’t push through, or avoid getting sick altogether, is weak and not fit to lead.  Trump’s campaign has been sure to keep all those negative feelings and stereotypes at the surface, hoping that it would pay off.  On Sunday, they hit the jackpot.

My 8 year old daughter, Rachael, can understand how unbelievably gross this and all the other sexism at play is.  Why is it so hard for the media, especially the left-wing opinon media, to eschew all the conjecture and the idea that having pneumonia really does call into question whether or not Secretary Clinton is otherwise healthy?  Clinton is met with scorn, should she not allow the press to follow her, making it crystal clear that Secretary Clinton has no right to her own body, the space around it, and any privacy at all.  Meanwhile, it’s totally cool that Trump gave the press the slip so he could go have another “medical evaluation”, which he will discuss on “Dr.” Oz.    It makes me physically hurt and shake with anger when people are able to see the yellow journalism, identify the sexism, and admit the double standard, but they just shrug and say it’s okay because Hillary.  We really are a bunch of pudding brains.

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I am absolutely livid with the level of political discourse in our country right now.  As a woman, I take all of this personally and am offended.  And fuck off; no I will not calm down!  We have reached a point in our country’s history which will define the soul of our nation for many years to come.  Frankly, I am terrified, now, that Trump will win, no matter how many news stories and opinion pieces I share on Facebook to a group of generally like-minded people.  I am terrified that Donald Trump will take the oath of office in January, all because Hillary Clinton happened to catch pneumonia.

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And….They’re Off!

   

Our school year has finally begun!  And not a moment too soon, I think.  I had a difficult time doing much of anything this summer for some reason.  Mike had a hard time picking up the slack because he was under extreme stress from work and worry for the health of his parents.  So the girls had a massively high level of cabin fever and were ready to be among their own people, having recess and music, art and STEAM.  Even if it meant homework and getting up early on purpose.  
 

Our geeklet

Rachael is in 3rd grade, which is insane, and I refuse to accept it.  She’s approaching tweendom, with the rolling of the eyes, the annoyed attitude, and the noticing of boys.  After Back to School Night and Open House, I was a bit concerned over whether Rachael would have a good year.  And by a bit concerned, I mean I was kind of panicking and burst into an ugly cry after we got the girls into bed that night.  I had heard that third grade was a big jump from second grade, but after her teacher’s presentation all I could think was, Oh my god!  This is where the magic of learning comes to die.  I was also completely turned off when her teacher announced that there was no excuse for failing to complete the homework for each night.  After all, if she can teach all day and take classes at night to earn her doctorate, then our families are certainly able to ensure that our children complete their homework.  Look, I don’t have a problem with insisting on homework completion; that’s not the issue here.  Her seemingly myopic view of reality, in which she seemed to preemptively take offense at the notion that we all don’t have our shit together, (because she has hers together) just gets my back up.  Believe it or not, it is actually rather hard to squeeze in time for homework when you only have four hours to do a combination of the following: have a snack and recover from your day; spend time in time out for rolling eyes at mom/talking and/or screaming back; any after-school clubs and activities; dance class; dinner; chores; parents can’t help you read a word in your homework because your younger sister is having a complete meltdown; shower; read before bed.  But, I’m trying to let it go, (obviously, because I’m blogging about it) and hope that this is just a case of a not so great first impression.  Rachael seems to really like her. Also, they’re going to be studying rocks and soil this year, which is totally in Rachael’s wheelhouse, especially after just having gone to geology camp a couple of weeks ago.

I also hope that Rachael will work at establishing some more friendships this year.  Rachael is such a shy introvert that, prior to this year, she’s really only put her time and effort into her one best friend.  Unfortunately, her best friend is going to the gifted and talented elementary school this year.  Rachael will still see and play with her, as they just live around the corner.  She complained last year of feeling lonely.  I have explained to her over and over again that it’s fine to be an introvert, but if you want someone to be friends and want to play with you, you have to put in the effort now.  You actually have to speak to people and try to engage with them.  I asked her if she played with anyone at recess yesterday.  She said no, she did her own thing.  “But, I talked with people at lunch and at my table in class.  Happy?”  This morning, I introduced her to the older brother of Zoë’s new kindergarten best friend.  He is also in third grade, and doesn’t know many people because he has been homeschooled prior to this year.  I figured, he needs a new friend, she needs a new friend, win win win.  Right?  Guys, if the scowls little girls give could kill, I wouldn’t be typing this.  

A little anxious, but ready to go!

In the days leading up to the first day of school, I had never seen Zoë so anxious about anything.  Maybe because it was one of the few times when she managed to put her fears into words, rather than simply acting out.  Oddly enough, she was really focused on worry over not being able to operate the computers and their programs correctly.  I think she felt a bit of relief once we met her teachers and saw her classroom.  Fun fact: although she has a teacher who is new to the school, it’s the same classroom Rachael was in for kindergarten and the same assistant teacher!  I’m thankful for the teacher Zoë has.  She’s been teaching for 20 years, holds degrees in both general and special education, and has four children of her own.  So, just like the Femputer on Futurama, she know what do.  There will be an additional special education teacher in the room to assist Zoë.  While Zoë is fine, academically, for kindergarten, she does have an IEP for ADHD and the social behavioral issues which stem from that disorder.  So we feel like she’s in really good hands and feel good about our decision to send her on to kindergarten.

It was exciting on Back to School Night to find out that a friend from Zoë’s preschool class would be in her class this year!  Zoë was also introduced to another little girl by her teacher that night who, lo and behold, we found at our bus stop yesterday!  They were so excited to see each other!  I know it made Zoë’s apprehensiveness, with regard to riding the bus, lower just a bit.  Once the bus came, Zoë knew the drill and dutifully walked toward the bus steps.  I practically had to grab her in order to kiss her goodbye because she was so focused on her mission.  At the bottom of the steps, she paused and looked up at the driver hesitantly.  With some gentle encouragement from the driver, Zoë almost literally climbed those huge bus steps.  Mike and I watched Zoë and her friend as they tried to figure out where they should sit, finally settling on the seat behind the driver.  And, in all the chaos and focusing on Zoë, Mike and I failed as parents and accidentally didn’t say goodbye to Rachael.  I made sure to give her extra hugs and attention when they got home.

Zoë was exhausted when she came home.  She had had a great first day of kindergarten!  She was terribly excited to have gone to the library and checked out her first book, Silverlicious.  (Okay, I like the Pinkalicious series, but can we all agree that Pinkalicious is a giant brat, and it’s probably because her parents never seem to punish her for bad behavior?)  The class took a tour of the school, under the pretense of looking for the mouse from, If You Bring a Mouse to School.  Zoë giggled as she showed me the movements they learned during the movement activities her class did, forming a potato with her arms over her head, and then peeling the potato one arm at a time.  She made a fish tail with her hands on her lower back and wiggled her toush, demonstrating how the students maintain their personal space in line.  As Zoë chattered on and on about the things they did at school, her new best friend from class and the bus stop, and how she wanted to make a pretend school classroom of her own, it was clear that her anxiety about kindergarten had been dropped on the ground and left behind.  After all, she had better things to do.

Mike told them to make a silly face.