The “Birthers” Have Become “Healthers” About Clinton’s Pneumonia
While the run for The White House is mere weeks from being over, there has been a growing push to question Clinton’s candidacy.
In the same way “birthers” questioned President Obama’s nationality, the “healthers” are arguing Clinton is afflicted with the fallout of devastating brain injuries or something else –- the conspiracy theorists can’t seem to get their script together.
While there is no dependable proof to support these claims, Clinton’s physician has continually reaffirmed the positive condition of the past secretary of state’s health.
Seeds Planted in 2012
Just before Clinton was to testify about the Benghazi assault in 2012, she became dehydrated, fainted and sustained a concussion. Her appearance was delayed to allow her time to recover.
The former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, postured that Clinton was feigning poor health and had caught a “diplomatic illness” to avoid Congress’s questioning.
The weeks following the injury didn’t help Clinton’s case. She would be hospitalized and given blood thinners to melt a clot behind her right ear.
Rove Watered the Seeds in 2014
Over a year after departing the State Department, Republican tactician Karl Rove nourished the healthers conspiracy theory by insinuating Clinton sustained brain injury in the 2012 episode.
“Thirty days in the hospital? Then wears glasses meant solely for persons with traumatic brain injury?” Rove said.
A day later, Rove tried to retract his remarks claiming that he had never used the phrase “brain damage.” He also admitted that Clinton had not, as he had claimed, stayed a month in the hospital. Politifact put a “False” label on Rove’s statement, but it was too late for the health — the plants of a conspiracy had been watered.
In the middle of a photo-op in the capital, Clinton turned away journalists’ questions with “no” and a head shaking — nothing different than someone would do when talking with a friend. It wasn’t the end of the story.
Over a month later, pro-Trump blogger Jim Hoft saw the video and ran a headline on his Gateway Pundit site saying, “Did Hillary Just Suffer a Seizure on Camera?” Of course, Hillary hadn’t, but it didn’t stop the rumor mill.
Over the next few weeks, right-wing outlets, and even the Trump campaign started to echo the theme. Fox News host, Sean Hannity, jumped in with gusto and pulled together a panel of “experts” to view the video clips.
None of the doctors gathered by Hannity had checked Clinton. One of the physicians, Dr. David Samadi, is a urologist
While the conspiracy hypotheses bloomed, heightened by Trump’s rehashed claims that Clinton is too exhausted or feeble to manage the White House rigors, “inquiries” from right-wing blogs began to converge on a singular item of gear held by one agent.
On Twitter, conspiracy theorists started to focus on what they claimed to be a syringe for anti-seizure drug diazepam.
Just not the case. A Secret Service spokesperson, Nicole Mainor, rejected the story. “The thing in the Detail Leader’s grasp is just a spotlight,” she said in an email.
What Does Clinton Say?
Clinton has not been shy about commenting on the challenges of the campaign. “I try to eat right and get enough sleep. I try to exercise,” Clinton said in a podcast following the Democratic convention. “I won’t pretend that I like it. I don’t. I try to keep up. Just try to get the energy storage loaded again,” she added.
The Democratic nominee even made fun of the health conspiracies on Jimmy Kimmel’s late show on August 23.
“Take my pulse while I’m speaking with you,” Clinton joked, implying her pulse rate would skyrocket as she chatted about Trump.
What’s Going on With Clinton’s Health
No one knows. Well, no one except Clinton and her physician. There’s plenty of guesses to work from. Unfortunately, those assumptions fall right into the game plan of the healthers.
If Clinton’s health problems are not pneumonia related, then what are some possible (medical) candidates?
Aphasia is a language disorder that reduces an individual’s ability to process language, speak and understand others. According to the National Aphasia Association, the most frequent cause is a stroke. While there is no evidence that Clinton experienced a stroke, there has been speculation built on how she speaks in interviews.
Some media outlets are spinning the possibility that Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder affecting about 1 million Americans. Clinton’s habit of holding a microphone in her left hand while holding her right to her chest has been pointed to by opponents as a sure sign of Parkinson’s.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, seizures range from unpredictable to episodic. While there may be jerking movements in an arm or leg, it’s usually accompanied by falling, sleepiness and fumbling movements.
Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that may damage any part of the body. In lupus, something goes haywire with the body’s immune system and the person’s immune system can’t tell the difference between foreign invaders and the body’s own healthy tissues. Many of lupus’s symptoms happen with other illnesses; it is for this reason that Lupus is often called “the great imitator.”
Does any of this mean that Clinton is medically unfit for the presidency? Most healthcare experts say no, it doesn’t.
“The plain fact is there is zero evidence that anything is seriously wrong with Clinton,” says Dr. Marina Gafanovich, a prominent Manhattan physician. “ If suffering from pneumonia or having an occasional coughing fit is proof of a major health problem, then 80-percent of the nation has that mystery illness.”
Jerry Nelson is an American freelance writer and photojournalist and is always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the million-or-so who follow him on Twitter @ Journey_America.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on September 13, 2016.