Donald Trump, who dodged the Vietnam War with academic and medical deferments, hired the equivalent of a rent-a-doc to write an absurd medical report proclaiming that Trump would be the fittest specimen ever to serve as president if he is elected.
Hillary Clinton had the decency and class to say of Donald Trump that he looked “healthy as a horse.”
Despite Hillary’s endorsement of Trump’s health, the Donald, who has no decency or class, has railed against Clinton’s health for months.
On Sunday, as we all know, the Clinton campaign revealed that the Democratic presidential nominee, who seemed to stumble when she got into a van near Ground Zero, has pneumonia.
It is just a matter of time before Trump says, “I told you so,” and resumes his despicable attacks on Clinton’s health.
There is just one problem, Donald.
This is not your father or grandfather’s pneumonia.
While years ago pneumonia could pose a risk to someone’s life, it is almost never life-threatening now due to advances in medicine, including modern antibiotics.
I know this not only because Hillary cheerfully greeted a child outside of Chelsea Clinton’s apartment some hours after the former Secretary of State had to be helped into her van by the 9/11 Memorial.
I know this because, while I am not a doctor, I have taken care of my wife, Barbara, for years. Among other health issues, my wife had pneumonia about five times during a two or three-year period.
My wife has recovered from her respiratory problems. She had surgery for an empyema and has not had pneumonia in the four or five years since.
Of course, my wife, who has also had two knee surgeries, is not running for president.
But it is also true that my wife does not have to take cholesterol-reducing medication, like Donald Trump, whose lipid levels and penchant for fast food could make him a risk for a heart attack, a much more serious condition than pneumonia.
So many of us are tired of Donald Trump’s bullying and lying, but his unseemly attempts to depict Hillary Clinton as lacking the fitness to be president have upset me as much as anything else Trump has said or done, perhaps because I have had my own health issues, mental-health challenges, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which I have tamed and which has not prevented me or my wife from having a good life and functioning at a high level.
It goes without saying that Hillary Clinton has to meet a higher standard of health than I or my wife ever will.
But Clinton, whose mother lived well into her nineties, is going to handle pneumonia at least as well as my wife has.
Which is to say that Clinton will easily recover from this illness and return to the campaign trail when it is appropriate.
Secretary Clinton and others have pointed out that every Republican is going to have to answer for supporting Trump, who, as I pointed out earlier, got a medical deferment as well as academic deferments that kept him out of the Vietnam War.
But it is also true that every Hillary supporter should have to do his or her best to stand up vocally for Clinton against Trump, an artery-hardened chickenhawk.
With that in mind, let me invoke Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi theologian, who lived in Germany during Hitler’s reign.
Niemoller famously spoke up against the Third Reich and was sent to the concentration camps.
With apologies to Niemoller, but not to Trump, here is my take on the pastor’s iconic declaration:
First, Donald Trump and his “basket of deplorables” questioned the citizenship of President Barack Obama, and I did not speak up because the president played hoops for an all-state basketball squad in Hawaii, where he was born, while I sank just a few baskets for a free-floating intramural entity, not even the JV team.
Then, Donald Trump referred to our nation’s leaders as “stupid,” and I did not speak up because I was not one of our nation’s leaders; I was a follower of parking meters, and they are not stupid, and neither am I.
Then, Donald Trump bashed Mexicans and other immigrants to this country as criminals and rapists, and I did not speak up because I was not a criminal or a rapist, and neither are 99.9 percent of Mexicans and other immigrants to this country, including my relatives, some of whom emigrated from Mexico City.
Then, following a Fox News debate during the Republican primary, Donald Trump unknowingly invoked the gravitational pull of the moon after Megyn Kelly cited the Donald’s long litany of misogynistic rants, and I did not speak up because I am not a misogynist, nor a “blood” libelist, and besides, as a fan of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I love the romance of the moon, moonlight and moonshine.
Then, returning to one of his favorite obsessions and targets, Donald Trump dubbed President Obama a “psycho” during the Ebola crisis, and I did not speak up because, even though I have suffered two psychotic breaks, I have never been psychopathic, and neither has the president, and besides I did not want to tell Donald Trump that he was projecting his own psychopathy on the rest of us.
Then, an audio clip surfaced of Donald Trump telling Howard Stern that he was for the second Iraq War, a clip that proved that Trump lied about his supposed opposition to that conflict, and I did not speak up because I was always against the war, and I am not a liar.
But I am fibbing a bit.
For several years, I have spoken up against Donald Trump because he is a liar beyond compare, a racist demagogue and a threat to all the democratic norms that our nation holds dear, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But, now, I feel compelled to speak up even more for Hillary Clinton and against Trump, who for some time now has tried to sow doubts about Clinton’s physical and mental health, even though, as I wrote earlier, it is the Donald, who ducked the Vietnam War not only with academic deferments but also with a medical one.
The enfeebled chickenhawk, pseudo-tough guy has had the nerve to call Hillary Clinton “unbalanced” and “trigger-happy,” even though he is the one who boasted about shooting people on Fifth Avenue and even though he is the one who encouraged his supporters to “rough up” Trump protesters.
Always lacking in dignity, Trump has claimed that Clinton is physically unwell when numerous presidents, presidential candidates and other leading public figures have not only stumbled on sidewalks or had pneumonia but have also vomited on dignitaries, like the first President Bush; passed out on pretzels, like Bush II; had cancer, like 2008 Republican nominee John McCain; had heart procedures, like former Vice President Dick Cheney; and reportedly experienced seizures, like Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Both Bushes, McCain, Cheney and Roberts are alive to this day.
And Hillary Clinton will almost assuredly live and flourish for years to come.
The same may not be true of the medically deferred Trump, who not only sat out the Vietnam War due to his apparent ailments but who, as noted at the outset, takes cholesterol-lowering medication and brags about eating fast food and getting little sleep, even though these habits increase the likelihood of his succumbing to a heart attack.
If Trump has medical challenges, they are not only of the physical variety. He seems to have the cognitive capacity of Kevin Kline’s character in A Fish Called Wanda.
For all the comparisons between Trump and Hitler, an impotent man, whose hands may have been larger than Trump’s, the Donald bears at least as much a resemblance to Kline’s character in that film about a band of goofball criminals, led by Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and Monty Python veterans John Cleese and Michael Palin, who attempt a heist in Great Britain.
Kline won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his “brilliant” (a word Donald Trump relishes, especially when it comes from the mouth of Vladimir Putin, his buddy with sagging male breasts) portrayal of a moron, who thinks he is an intellectual.
Like Kline’s character in the film, Trump has been called out on his stupidity by a Brit, David Cameron, not John Cleese, who referred to Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims to the U.S. as “stupid, divisive and wrong.”
Trump notably did not respond to the divisive or wrong-headed nature of his hateful policy; instead, he replied to Cameron by saying, “I’m not stupid, okay?”
Unlike Kevin Kline, who truly is brilliant at his craft, Trump unintentionally reinforces his actual stupidity, as well as his hypocrisy and cruelty, almost every time he speaks.
And he has the brainpower of a slug if he thinks that he can fool all the people all the time.
That is because this country has a sufficient number of intelligent people that we can appreciate the value of having a president who possesses sound judgment, even temperament, openness and tolerance toward all Americans and immigrants, as well as true cognitive gifts.
Hillary Clinton has all those positive characteristics and more. She is a team player, who for years sacrificed much of her own ambition for the sake of her husband’s career. She has been publicly humbled, even humiliated, over the decades, yet she has shown a rare strength and endurance, or, as Rudyard Kipling wrote, “the will, which says to them: ‘Hold on!’”
She has more “heart and nerve and sinew” than Trump, a soul-less bully, will ever have, and she has more experience than any presidential nominee in years.
She has also spent a lifetime working on behalf of children, minorities and others, who need our help.
That is not to say that she is without flaw.
She could have been more transparent about her pneumonia by revealing it on Friday, when she was reportedly diagnosed.
And on more substantive matters, she took too casual an attitude toward our nation’s security by using her own server to send and receive e-mails.
But to her credit, she admitted that using the server was a mistake. And unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is not afraid to apologize.
Pastor Martin Niemoller, the anti-Nazi theologian, was also willing to apologize, in his case because he believed that he did not do enough before the war to help those oppressed by the Third Reich.
He may have harbored anti-Semitic views at one time, but he was sent to the concentration camps for protesting Nazi policy.
Niemoller outlived the horrors of the Holocaust and left us with, among other things, his declaration about the need to speak up on behalf of others, including those who are disempowered.
That does not include bigoted morons, like Donald Trump.
But it does include all the people Trump has bullied, threatened, lied about and roughed up.
Yes, we all should speak up against Donald Trump, and not just because he is stupid; we should speak up against him because he is hateful, dangerous and borderline, if I can use that word, treasonous in praising Putin, the most “deplorable” of all those in Trump’s “basket,” at the expense of President Obama, a hoops star, as well as our country’s commander-in-chief.
It would sure be nice if we could see Trump’s tax returns, which might reveal his possible business dealings with foreign governments, including perhaps Russia, with whom he may wish to engage in a modern-day Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact.
As Trump would say, “Russia, if you’re listening, leak those tax returns!”