The United States presidential election seems to be a race between two cartoon characters rather than a campaign to find a leader for one of the most powerful countries in the world. The rat race continues with claims that Democrat leader Hillary Clinton might be too “weak” and unhealthy to lead the country due to a bout of pneumonia.

Health concerns have been a point of contention in this election because Clinton, 68, and Donald Trump, 70, are the oldest competing campaigners in US history. At the 9/11 ceremonies on Sunday, Clinton appeared to faint in public and her doctor later announced that she had come down with pneumonia. The media and Trump supporters have latched onto this diagnosis as proof that Clinton is “weak” and may not have the strength to lead the country.

Both candidates have previously released health reports to the public, with Clinton offering a two-page detailed report stating she had previously suffered from blood clots and fainting. On the other hand, Trump gave out a four-paragraph report in which his doctor explained he had “astonishing health” and would be the “healthiest president yet”. Comparatively, it is easy to see which candidate is giving the most information on the status of their health.

Though Clinton has been honest about her health in the past, her bout of pneumonia plays against her, especially considering she is the first female candidate in history to run for president in the United States. Opponents may use her pneumonia as an example of how her status as a woman makes her weaker. If Trump had become sick during the campaign, he would have claimed it was because he was working so hard and has been putting ‘the people’ first.  Americans would have applauded his efforts. Sure, with the campaign in its final two months, this is not a good time to be fainting. But Clinton is a human being and all people, men and women, are susceptible to getting sick. Let’s not play a double standard.

The way that many Republicans and media outlets are claiming her illness makes her a weak competitor is ridiculous. Pneumonia is a fairly common occurrence, affecting over one million Americans per year. In fact, her attendance at the event even though she was ill shows she is quite strong and dedicated to her campaign.

Maybe the people backlashing Clinton should be looking inward and should assess why they are placing so much pressure on one individual to be perfect. Is it now necessary to elect a leader in perfect health? Have the rules changed and to err is no longer human?

The US election is a prime example of how propaganda can be so damaging to the democratic process. Clearly, it pushes candidates to the brink of exhaustion and wastes time focusing on trivial issues. Perhaps Clinton felt she couldn’t rest even though her doctor ordered it because of a potential backlash, which is completely unacceptable. Instead of goading Clinton and calling her weak for getting sick, let’s focus on making sure Trump doesn’t get elected — because then we will surely have bigger problems than a bout of pneumonia.

Stayed tuned as election day grows closer as we will find out the fate of the United States on November 8, 2016.


Kaeleigh Phillips is Women's Post sustainability coordinator. She specializes in writing about issues relating to the environment, including renewable energy, cycling, and vegan recipes!

1 Comment

  1. Andre Levy Reply

    “If Trump had become sick during the campaign, he would have claimed it was because he was working so hard and has been putting ‘the people’ first. Americans would have applauded his efforts.”

    Sheer, baseless speculation.

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