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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Clinton’s nail in the coughin’: candidate health transparency

Last week in Darts and Laurels, we here at the Alligator gave a dart to the human respiratory system for causing Hillary Clinton to cough. This is problematic because it set off a series of nothing more than bulls--- arguments that — ignoring actual problems in this country — focused on personally attacking Clinton for her health. Typically, those who simply have nothing to bring to the table perpetuate these types of arguments. Ad-hominem attacks are nothing more than a distraction from a total ignorance of political know-how.

Since then, the circumstances have changed. Sunday morning while at a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony in New York City, Clinton’s health problems were on full display. Footage surfaced of Clinton being helped into a black van that drove her to her daughter’s apartment. In the video, two security agents are literally holding her up, dragging her limp legs into the car. Her feet do not move at all, which implies she was unconscious. It is clear that without the assistance of those agents, she would have collapsed onto the floor.

The video is incredibly discomforting. Regardless of where your political allegiances may lie, there is something uncomfortable and demoralizing about watching someone struggle like this. It also raises questions about her health that her opponents spewed last week.

After the video’s release, her campaign has confirmed that Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia two days before the ceremony. And yet, she was still in attendance. When we’re sick, we here at the Alligator prefer to stay in bed with some Netflix and medicine, thank you very much.

We understand why Clinton is apprehensive to disclose information about her health: Giving the rumors a response may have cautiously dignified them, and it may in turn have legitimized her health-related concerns.

But as we get closer to Election Day, physical and emotional health become factors when evaluating who we want to entrust with our nation’s presidency.

Over the course of the primary and the national campaigns, both candidates have put themselves and their bodies through an incredibly exhausting and grueling process. If there’s a serious medical issue, the country deserves to know, and we are grateful Clinton cleared up the brewing rumors.

However, while health should be considered (a president did die from pneumonia, after all), we hope her bout with illness does not completely take away from her campaign platform. It’s frustrating when something temporary (Clinton’s coughs, Donald Trump’s eviction of a baby from a rally) pulls attention away from the bureaucratic, economic and international policy approaches that will alter our country’s future.

Regardless of how you feel about them, we ask a lot of our presidential candidates. We ask them to spend months and years traveling across the country, holding multiple rallies and gatherings in one day, kissing who-knows-how-many germ-ridden babies. At the end of the race, the winning candidate will not be 100-percent healthy, but if he or she is dealing with a serious ailment, a bit of warning is nice. Good on the Clinton campaign for coming clean.

Last week in Darts and Laurels, we here at the Alligator gave a dart to the human respiratory system for causing Hillary Clinton to cough. This is problematic because it set off a series of nothing more than bulls*** arguments that — ignoring actual problems in this country — focused on personally attacking Clinton for her health. Typically, those who simply have nothing to bring to the table perpetuate these types of arguments. Ad-hominem attacks are nothing more than a distraction from a total ignorance of political know-how.

Since then, the circumstances have changed. Yesterday morning while at a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony in New York City, Clinton’s health problems were on full display. Footage surfaced of Clinton being dragged into a black van that drove her to her daughter’s apartment. In the video, two security agents are literally holding her up, dragging her limp legs into the car. Her feet do not move at all, which implies she was unconscious. It is clear that without the assistance of those agents, she would have collapsed onto the floor.

The video is incredibly discomforting. Regardless of where your political allegiances may lie, there is something uncomfortable and demoralizing about watching someone struggle like this. Even worse, it unfortunately raises the questions about her health that her opponents were spewing last week. Clinton must address this topic head-on. The conversation was started long ago, and, although its origins were nothing more than mudslinging slander, to ignore this pattern would be irresponsible of us as voters. As bad as it may be, at least she’s not wearing a massive fake orange hairpiece to make her look younger.

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Speaking of fake things that cover up the hideous, Clinton’s press secretary Nick Merrill said, “During the ceremony, she felt overheated.” Quite simply, the math does not add up. Clinton fainted about an hour and a half after the ceremony had already ended. While coughing and being dehydrated are clearly not enough proof to trigger a conversation about Clinton’s health, the fact that these episodes came about at such a pivotal time in the campaign certainly warrants a conversation about her state of physical health. Clearly, it would be in her best interest to hold some type of press conference concerning the matter, or during a rally or campaigning event to simply dispel these rumors once and for all. If her health is not ideal, perhaps she needs to tell the public what specifically is worrisome about her health and what she’s doing to take care of herself. Politically and in terms of public relations, it is disadvantageous for the Clinton campaign to let her opposition tell the story about her health, with Clinton only doing clean-up work when necessary. Rather than reacting passively to these accusations, Clinton should have the courage to address this (hopefully superficial) problem once and for all.

We understand why Clinton is apprehensive to do this: Giving this (hopefully) bulls*** argument a response might cautiously dignify it, and it may in turn legitimize these concerns. Therein lies another problem though: These concerns are legitimate now.

On the other end of the political spectrum, nobody has raised questions about Donald Trump’s health. Are we really to expect that a 70-year-old man has such thick, luscious and colorful hair? We here at the Alligator demand Trump hold a press conference that runs from at least 11:59 p.m. to 12:01 a.m., as proof that he does not turn back into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight.

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