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.
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.