A History of Illness Surrounding the Presidency

Krist Muñoz-Malavé, Staff Writer

Democratic Party Candidate Hillary Clinton’s sickness has recently brought back the discussion of health in our Presidents. Should it matter what health our Presidents? Do the American people really care about this subject matter?

Historically speaking, it appears that it does not.

One of the greatest presidents that America has ever had, Dwight Eisenhower, suffered a serious heart attack in 1955 and had to be hospitalized, according to the Washington Post. John F. Kennedy, known by most for being young and healthy, suffered from Addison’s disease. Grover Cleveland had surgery for a cancerous tumor in his mouth back in 1893. Woodrow Wilson had a stroke in 1919.  Franklin Roosevelt had polio and was confined to a wheelchair.

This lists go on and on and on.

However, sometimes our history can be misleading. After all, the majority of health issues that have occurred in office have been kept hidden for the public. Due to this, the public hasn’t been able to form an opinion on it. So while at first glance it seems like it doesn’t matter to the American people, it certainly has been a subject that they have thought about in the past.

For example, President Reagan’s age was a big concern for most Americans due to the fact that he holds the title for the oldest President in United States history at the age of 69.

The topic of healthy candidates has become increasingly important this year due to both the age of of our presidential candidates, Clinton being 69 and Trump 70, and because of the health issues Clinton had earlier this year when she was diagnosed with having pneumonia.

The real question to ask is whether the health of a candidate should be a leading factor in whether they deserve the vote of the people.

In my opinion, no, no it should not be.

Clearly, an overall healthy candidate is very important. However, we should look towards their qualifications, integrity, and work ethic before we even think about health. As I’ve shown above, many of the greatest presidents America has ever had weren’t exactly in the best shape. Even so, they effectively and successfully lead our nation through wars, civil unrest, and  a pile of other issues. They were able to do so not because the American people looked to their well being as a deciding factor before voting, but instead because they chose to pick the candidate they felt was best fit for the job.

So when you go out this year and fulfill your duty as an American by voting, remember to prioritize the things that really matter as you come to a decision on who to vote for.