In sickness or in health: Should politicians be required to release medical records?
As we approach Election Day, the public and the media become more aware of the candidates running for the most important office in the country and, potentially, the world. The scrutiny candidates go through is astonishing, and it gets worse by the second.
When the United States of America was founded, the constituency did not have as much power and proximity to its country’s politics as today’s electorate.
I am a non-resident alien who knows more about Hillary Clinton’s personal anecdotes than about the policy-making process of my home country. Personally, I find this to be an interesting aspect of American politics but also disturbing to some extent.
I deem the close examination of the candidates to be unnecessary.
At the end of the day, it is our duty as citizens to make an intelligent choice.
However, the magnitude of coverage candidates receive and has turned into a bizarre game of seeing who reveals more instead of who fits the role best.
Under any other circumstances, asking for someone running for office to disclose health records would most likely be seen as an invasion of privacy, rather than something necessary to check a box on the list of attributes for the perfect candidate.
Yet, presidential candidates are forced to demonstrate that they are not only professionally capable to hold office but, to demonstrate their health is impeccable and will most likely stay that way.
Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech immediately after being shot; John F. Kennedy served while dealing with Addison’s disease, among other ailments.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was partialy paralyzed because of polio.
Woodrow Wilson suffered strokes before and during his presidency; Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s before even being elected.
Still, all of them are seen as some of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States.
Lately, health has become a factor of importance that, years ago, was not as imperative considering a candidate.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton released their records last year. Both of them were cleared as unbelievably healthy. The truth behind that statement is still to be confirmed. Trump was even said to be “the healthiest individual to be elected to the presidency.”
The public and the media use this information, or lack thereof, to attack the candidates.
A majority of Americans now care more about who is healthier than who is the best leader.
Is there a better example of that than having every news source talk about Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia rather than the comments made by Donald Trump about minorities?
We are reaching a point where it seems that the best candidate is not the one with the best credentials and capacity, but that he or she is in best shape. That suggests that instead of focusing on the candidates’ vitality, we should focus on the constituencies’ mental health.
Stephanie Sanchez is a sophomore journalism major from Ecuador.