And the craziest national election is modern history just keep getting crazier. Recently, Republican Donald Trump supporters have been pushing the idea that Hillary Clinton has some kind of serious ailment (ranging from Parkinson's to epilepsy) that she is concealing from the public. Last month, former New York Mayor turned bug-eyed Trump supporting fear monger Rudy Giuliani gave an interview in which he encouraged people to "go online and put down 'Hillary Clinton illness' and take a look at the videos for themselves." The videos in question were childishly slowed down images of Clinton reacting to things while right wing "experts" claimed that they proved existence of her brain damage, or whatever.
Sadly, what's going on here is obvious: just as the so called "birther movement", that claimed that President Barack Obama was lying about being born in America, gave a smoke screen to racist comments by implying that Obama's Presidency wasn't legitimate, this new movement is allowing right wingers to make sexist comments about Clinton. (Trump, it must be mentioned, was a prominent birther back in 2011, and he has never admitted that he was wrong about it). Although no one is saying that a woman can't be President, by talking about her alleged medical issues, it lets them use words like "toughness", "strength" and "stamina", all things normally associated with male strength, when talking about her. The right wing media has always been good about dog whistles, playing up to its mostly white male audience's fears without coming right out and saying women and minorities aren't fit for office.
Unfortunately for Clinton, this crazy conspiracy got a boost this weekend when she, while attending a 9/11 memorial, had to leave early. Although it was initially chalked up to heat exhaustion, once a video of her needing help to get into a vehicle surfaced, she admitted that two days earlier she had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Thinking that it was, in her own words, no big deal, she soldiered on with her campaign, not even telling some of her advisers about the diagnosis, until her collapse on Sunday. So, just as the White Water investigation back in the 90's eventually led to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, once again we have a Clinton accused of covering something up that turns out to be partially true. Hopefully, her bout with sickness will not hurt her in the coming election, while convincing her to release a full medical report sometime soon. Both she and Trump have been too reticent on this issue, especially when one considers that Clinton is 68 and Trump is 70. (At 69, Ronald Reagan was the oldest when he took office in 1980.) Considering just how much being President appeared to rapidly age both George W Bush and Obama while they were in office, good mental health is important. (Physical health not so much, remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran the country from a wheelchair). And hey, if health is going to be an issue in this election, I would encourage people to consider that Trump is an admitted junk food junkie who works himself into a red faced lather during each speech. The picture of modern health he isn't!