Yesterday, during a 9/11 memorial service, Hillary Clinton and her team made an abrupt and mysterious departure. As the Democratic candidate attempted to leave, she lost her balance and required assistance to get into her vehicle. One passerby caught the incident on video, which prompted nothing short of a media eruption.
Immediately after the video was made public, people, led by the power steering media, demanded information regarding the health of the former first lady.
This forced Clinton’s medical team to disclose that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia only two days before the memorial. During the service, Clinton felt overheated and dehydrated, which prompted her to leave the event. Yesterday, Clinton’s physician, Lisa R. Bardack, released a statement regarding Clinton’s health.
“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies,” Bardack said in a statement. “On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule. While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”
Now, many have begun to wonder what a pneumonia diagnosis means for the abilities of the 68-year-old candidate. In short, it means that she is a woman over 60 who has been powering through an intense campaign tour and fell ill, like a regular human being.
For most of the recent campaign, Clinton has been getting unfair judgement about whether or not she is healthy enough to run the country, while Donald Trump’s medical physician more or less admitted to rushing through his medical history form in five minutes. Also, Clinton has been pushing through her campaign bus tour with a schedule so packed, it would exhaust the average American.
So why has Clinton’s health suddenly taken center stage?
The brutal truth is that it is a weapon to make her appear weak. She has stood in the face of investigations and scandals that have not toppled her strength or demeanor. However her health is something that can be scrutinized because we live in an ageist society that assumes a person, especially a woman, over a certain age is no longer capable of handling a demanding job (even though Franklin D. Roosevelt suffered from polio while in office).
All in all, as voters, we have to stop letting assumptions and unfair bias about Clinton’s health affect the decision making process. At the end of the day, Clinton is 68 while Trump is 70. Both candidates surely experience health-related issues that an average person of their age will experience.
As history shows us, diseases like polio, Alzheimer's and Addison’s did not keep presidents from doing their job. So we can assume a mild bout of pneumonia and dehydration is not enough to thwart the capability of a candidate.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)