Michele Bachman gets migraines. And this should disqualify her from running for, or being, president?
She isn’t my candidate, but this seems off key, uncomfortably like piling on. Jack Cafferty is on CNN now describing how Bachmann had to take the extreme step of seeing doctors for the symptoms, and that she even had to turn off the lights and retreat for a spell when the symptoms hit. “Serious, potentially debilitating health conditions”: Jack asks whether this should be a “political issue.”
She’s even had to get a note from her doctor.
Does Jack and the rest of the crew not recall that John F. Kennedy dealt with debilitating pain throughout his life and his presidency? His severe back problems, heavy medications, and Addison’s disease did not prevent him from being the leader he was (see Cuban Missile Crisis).
It seems strange to be reacting with such a truism, but: those who suffer from medical ailments don’t choose to do so. JFK did not choose to have back pain or Addison’s; Franklin Roosevelt did not choose to have polio; Ronald Reagan did not choose to have Alzheimer’s. As detailed by historian Joshua Wolf Shenk in his book, Abraham Lincoln did not choose to suffer from depression; in fact Shenk concludes that it “challenged a president and fueled his greatness.”
Shenk reports that upon taking office, Lincoln was “in the dumps” and around the period of Fort Sumter was observed “keeling over with a heachache” (p. 175). Maybe even a migraine.
This is not to make comparisons between the Congresswoman from Minnesota and the 16th President of the United States in terms of stature. None applies. But it is to make a comparison about physical health and personality and perseverance. We all face physical challenges in our lives, some more than others. It does not stop us from being who we are, or realizing our potential.