I recently read an article in The Atlantic that described John F. Kennedy’s attempts to conceal his poor health during the feverishly contested fight for the Democratic nomination in 1960. Entitled “The Medical Ordeals of JFK”, it brings forward previously disclosed medical documents from 1955-1963 about Kennedy’s health in great detail. These records show that “during his presidency—and in particular during times of stress, such as the Bay of Pigs fiasco, in April of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, in October of 1962—Kennedy was taking steroids for his Addison’s disease; painkillers for his back; anti-spasmodics for his colitis; antibiotics for urinary-tract infections; antihistamines for allergies; and, on at least one occasion, an anti-psychotic for a severe mood change believed to have been brought on by the antihistamines”.
At the time very little of these conditions were known to the electorate. One imagines that Kennedy would have deemed widespread knowledge of his physical frailties as being detrimental to his bid to secure the nod for the Democratic nomination and consequentially, his running for Presidency. Despite any views or consensus that Kennedy was a good President one must consider the ethics of his choice to withhold this valuable information about him. It is my personal opinion that withholding this type of information is unethical and that is why I am addressing the issue of medical records.
It is my belief that both physical and mental health play a vital role in a candidate’s ability to faithfully execute a position of high national office as well as their ability to make informed decisions. Right now Donald Trump’s mental health is being called into question and lest we forget Hillary Clinton’s fall on the campaign trail a few months prior. I would propose that an independent, non-partisan medical evaluation of each candidate running for high public office be released to every citizen eligible to vote. It ought to be the well-informed opinion of each citizen to determine suitability for office even if their results return as medically damning. It’s just always a nice thing to be as informed as possible.