First off, while this thought is triggered by the current occupant of the White House, I intend it to refer to any and all Presidents. (For that matter - any leader of any country. This isn’t an exclusively American issue, I’m sure.)
Would it be in the interest of all American citizens to know the physical and mental state of our President? And if so, shouldn’t such examinations be conducted by someone other than the President’s personal physician? In fact, in the interest of fairness, make it a team of professionals chosen to represent both parties as well as an uninterested bystander of sorts.
And if you agree such an annual examination should be conducted, how much information should be released? Certainly we’d need to know if the Prez has a brain tumor or cancer, and we don’t need to know about an ass zit, but where should the line be drawn? Should we know what meds the Commander in Chief is taking? When we have a woman President, do we need to track her hot flashes? :eek:
Smartassery aside, how much, if any, of the President’s health and wellness and mental stability are we entitled to know as citizens?
While I personally think Trump is dangerously deranged, I agree with this entirely. This is a genuinely slippery slope with enormous potential for abuse even if the examiner manages to remain politically neutral.
This has been a recurrent issue in France. Two presidents have suffered from terminal cancer while in office, in both cases it was unclear if they still were able to handle the job towards the end of their mandate (probably not), and in both cases, the existence of this illness was denied (one of them had promised before his election that he would release periodically a medical assessment. He did, but any reference to his cancer was removed). It’s still an issue that is debated over here.
No. Even as much as I can’t believe the election result, no. The burden and responsibility is and should be on the American voters to reject deranged candidates. If they fail to do so, they can own that. And be ashamed of themselves, and dammit, do better next time.
Wanting to know isn’t unreasonable. Putting a mandate on the Presidency is, however, against the US Constitution. The 25th amendment provides a new check on the President’s health -
This is a political decision, but it could be based on medical information provided the President is willing to turn over medical records. Otherwise the VP and cabinet need to make a decision based on what their eyes tell them.
Using mainstream diagnostic criteria, any person who tells a psychiatrist that he is qualified and deserving of being President of the United States is automatically going to be judged insane. It would be professionally recognizable narcissism and egoism at an institutionalizable level.
Which raises the question as to whether a person actually elected president can be psychoanalytically judged suitable for office using mainstream diagnostic standards.
We need to allow for the fact that only an aberrant person would even presume to be qualified to be president.
And for nuclear technicians, aircraft pilots and gun owners.
However these people constitute a danger. Unless a president wantonly provokes a war — and even then his or her decision will be checked by the diligent Congress — there isn’t an entire lot of harm he can do alone.
If the paranoia of being spied on or false recollections get bad enough, surely any board certified psychiatrist would conclude something was wrong. I mean, yes, there’s subjectivity but if someone is tremoring at the right frequency for Parkinson’s’ and has that characteristic walk and it improves when certain drugs are given, it’s probably Parkinson’s. Nobody board certified is going to see findings like that and conclude “it’s nothing, he’s healthy as an Ox”.
I mean, it is an excellent idea for a sitting president to have very thorough annual check-ups by the best medical personnel the US can muster, as well as ongoing treatment for any issues, large or small, that arise. (Presumably that’s already the case.) But that doesn’t mean the public is entitled to know the results of the examination.