Someone call Dr. Bombay, because I'm sick and tired of this being an issue!
After a coughing spell last week, Rudy Giuliani and a small, but vocal, group of republicans, presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's health has been pushed to the forefront of commentary regarding the pending election. During a rally on September 5th, Clinton started to cough enough to impede her speech for a small chunk of time:
Though Clinton jokingly said that the cause of her cause was because "Every time I think about Trump, I get allergic", she later said the real cause was real allergies. (I can vouch for that, because during the summer, if I overuse my voice, my allergies send me into a coughing fit... and I'm only a quarter of a century old!") (Source)
Following that incident, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a small group of dedicated republicans went into overdrive mode, insisting that her health "troubles" make her an unsuitable candidate for President. Yet, in a September 9th interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, the following exchange occurred:
CM: Have you got any evidence besides—do you have any evidence that she’s ill?
RG: I don’t...I have eight times online since January in which she’s had massive coughing fits in which she couldn’t complete her speech...I’ve seen her lifted onto airplanes. And I don't know what’s wrong with her.
CM: I'm not getting anywhere with you...You are adamant there’s a health concern with the candidate for president of the Democratic Party.
RG: I don’t know.
CM: You say there’s a health condition problem.
RG: I don’t know.
CM: Well, what are you saying? What is he saying?
RG: All I do is see all these incidents of her coughing all the time. I don’t know what it is...And I have seen her in several other situations where she didn’t look healthy. (Source)
Another incident occurred today, described by Clinton Spokesman Nick Merrill, "Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th Commemoration Ceremony for just an hour and thirty minutes this morning to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen...During the ceremony, she felt overheated, so departed to go to her daughter's apartment and is feeling much better." She allowed no press to follow her and later said she was "feeling great." Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post says her claims that the weather was one of the reasons she felt ill were dubious, as "the temperature in New York City at the time of Clinton's overheating was in the low 80s...A heat wave over the eastern United States broke last night/this morning..." (Cillizza, a glorified Trivia announcer, was once severely criticized for a gaffe he made on The Post's experimental online Mouthpiece Theater segment, where he said that if Clinton had a beer named after her it would be named "Mad Bitch.") (Source)
So, where does the truth lie?
Here is the black and white of the situation, in my observation. The two months before the election of the president, the campaign itself having gone on for more than a year, are the most trying, as the burden falls on just two candidates to duke it out to the finish. The amount of pressure, criticism, and sheer strength needed is almost superhuman.
Clinton, for her age, is in average health. She has her aches, pains, and clots, but who doesn't at 68 years of age? And, whether we're a politician or not, we are apt to cough and feel unwell from time to time. If I had a newspaper after me every time I coughed, I'd be the most talked about man on earth! As I said earlier, allergies are a true pain in the ass for anyone and the scratchy throat and cough that result from them can be frustrating. Clinton has to use her voice for hours a day, making impassioned speeches and attending the frenzied meetings that every presidential nominee has to endure.
And, Mr. Cillizza, who said that 80 degrees wasn't enough to make someone feel faint? The humidity was at 36 percent the time of the ceremony, with only 8 mph winds. Pressure, temperature, and stress can often lead to feelings of fatigue, as we have all experienced, no doubt. It doesn't matter what age you are: heat is heat and stress is stress.
I wish we could stop pushing the aesthetics of a candidate to the forefront. Who cares about Trump's hair or Hillary's cough? I care about the ideals, experiences, and ethics of the person inside the shell. I want to study their psychology, decision-making skills, and political acumen, rather than debate whether they looked good at the debate.
Aesthetics, an integral part of the philosophy of man, deals with everything "extra" in life, including physical appearance. As we have seen time and time again, a genius may reside in the body of a slob, and a perfectly-coiffed frat boy could turn out to be a violent rapist. Eleanor Roosevelt is a perfect example of this. To quote the late, great Robin Williams, "these may not be women you want to fuck, but you sure as hell don't want to fuck with them!"
Just because Clinton coughs and feels tired, it doesn't mean that her health is a factor against her being the next President of the United States. If she had a debilitating brain tumor, it would be a different story, as the afflicted might have a short time on this earth. The fact is that Clinton's doctors cleared her to run, and they wouldn't do that without ample evidence that she is healthy enough to withstand the rigors of the campaign trail.
The right will make a big to-do about this whole thing, as it is ample fodder to fill their dog dishes to the brim and distract from the real issues. As we saw Giuliani bumbling his way to explain why Clinton's health is a problem, and in fact whether he even thought she has health problems, is indicative of the kind of incoherent, irrational arguments this "issue" is inspiring.
I truly believe that we should never see politicians in the flesh before they're elected. Like many classical musicians, I believe presidents should be auditioned behind a screen and everyone, black or white, man or woman, is given the same equal treatment by the people hiring them. If we don't have the aesthetics to weigh on the mind of the less intelligent of our species, then ideas can once again be king.
So, I ask you all, to show your support by "Coughing for Hillary!" If we only responded to critics who judge Clinton on her appearance and age with a well-placed cough, a lot of pointless conversations would be happily avoided.
Because, Lords knows, there's a little bit of the "ech" in all of us!
(Written on 9/11 at 3:50 pm)
(Update, 6:26 pm on 9/11: It has just been released that Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, which was the cause of her cough and fatigue.)
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