At the 9/11 memorial service in New York City, Hillary Clinton was rushed to her daughter’s apartment because, as her campaign reported, she was overheating. A video posted to Twitter purportedly showed Clinton collapsing as she waited for her car to arrive. Immediately social media was set ablaze. People from all walks of life suddenly began to criticize Clinton’s campaign and even Clinton herself.
All news outlets stopped what they were doing and began reporting on Clinton’s “medical emergency.” It was later revealed that Clinton was fighting pneumonia and had overheated due to dehydration.
Republicans have been attacking Clinton for the past few months because of her health. Many Twitter users and people on Facebook have been describing her as “Sick Hillary.” Not only do they attack her over her health, they have brought up her age. But Republicans seem to forget that Hillary Clinton is the same age now as Ronald Reagan was when he ran for president the first time in 1980.
This is not the only time a candidate has been lambasted for being ill or older, it happens all of the time.
The year was 1984. Ronald Reagan was the Republican nominee for president and he was running for re-election. After the first debate with Democrat nominee Walter Mondale, many Democrats and members of the media attacked Reagan over his age, claiming that he had shown signs of aging in the debate. Reagan fought back however, releasing his medical reports and at one point said in an interview, “…With regard to the age issue and everything, if I had as much makeup on as he [Walter Mondale] did, I’d have looked younger, too.”
Reagan was one of the first candidates to release medical records to prove he was “fit” for the job. During the second debate, Reagan said, what is now a famous quote, “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience.”
As we all know, age was no issue for Reagan. On election night, he won forty-nine out of fifty states and received 525 electoral votes out of 538.
Now, fast forward to 2008. John McCain was running against Barack Obama. At the time, McCain was seventy-one and Obama was forty-seven. Age and health was once again brought up. Many people argued that since McCain was seventy-one, theoretically that would have put him at eighty years old when he left the office in 2017. Aside from his age, bloggers, news personalities, and politicians brought up a health scare McCain had in 2000.
In August of 2000, McCain had surgery to remove melanoma (skin cancer). This was his fourth time fighting the disease. Unlike the attacks on Reagan, the attacks on McCain hurt him. His bouts with cancer were widely talked about and may have influenced people to instead vote for the young senator from Illinois. As much as McCain tried, he could not shake off the scrutiny from the media. It eventually led to election night where he lost badly to Barack Obama.
“Politicians should not have to release their medical records for all of the public to see.”
People should look past the candidate’s age and health. Unless a candidate is severely ill and is noticeably suffering, there should be no speculations, especially if they release documents regarding their health. It is a petty attack used by both sides to try and woo over voters. It is a scare tactic that occasionally works.
Politicians should not have to release their medical records for all of the public to see. Not everything about someone’s life is meant to be known. The public does not need to know about Donald Trump’s colonoscopy he recently had or whether or not Hillary is on antibiotics for pneumonia. As long as a candidate can accurately do their job without major disturbances, then their health should be off-limits. Candidates are also allowed to take a break from the campaign trail if they become ill. It is time we the public, let politicians and presidential candidates have some form of privacy.