Americans deserve and need to know the health of our President, and our Vice-President; but we do not.
That is right: There is no impartial national medical team for our country’s top executives, or those who seek those positions. Each president and vice-president picks their own doctors, and decides what medical information they disclose. In fact, several presidents have withheld and even falsified their health conditions to the public. Kind of scary to not know the health of the most powerful politician in the world. And, a heartbeat away, it also makes knowing the health of the Vice-President more than a casual concern.
The 25th amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides emergency options, should the president be incapacitated. It lays out protocols for the vice president to take over, temporarily, when the president is stricken. Why rely on such extraordinary measures when we can anticipate, and avoid problems by knowing the health of our president? We have the technology.
In a 1993 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association, former President Jimmy Carter advocated “the creation of a ‘nonpartisan group’ of physicians to help decide when a president’s illness affects his judgment.” Apparently, doctors of previous presidents said presidential disability was a terrible problem.
Examples of hidden conditions:
Reagan fought hard to dispel any rumors about his ill health, even after surviving an assassination attempt and colon cancer. Some historians speculate the 40th president suffered from dementia while he was in office. He was publicly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease before his death in 2004.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy presented the image of youthful vigor, but was in chronic pain due to back troubles from a World War II injury and constantly fatigued from Addison’s Disease (a chronic insufficiency of the adrenal glands).
Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR hid the severity of his polio until after his death in 1945. Roosevelt was barely able to stand as he governed through World War II.
Wilson concealed the fact that he had three minor strokes leading up to his run for the presidency. During his second term, Wilson suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed and blinded on the left side of his body. He couldn’t have a cabinet meeting for nine months.
His vice president, Thomas Marshall, refused to take over; Wilson could only manage his presidential duties with the help of his wife, Edith, who decided which issues deserved the president’s attention.
In this case voters were denied knowledge of conditions that seriously limited Wilson’s ability to govern.
William Henry Harrison
The 9th president of the United States died in his first month in office of “bilious pleurisy” which appeared as “inflamed lungs,” an “engorged liver,” and a “delirious mental state.”
We want to know that our top leaders are healthy enough to perform their vital roles. As we approach the 2016 election, Americans are concerned that we have no reliable way to learn about the physical and mental health of the presidential candidates, and their running mates. Right now, with no other mechanism in place, only the candidates can relieve our concerns.