Hillary Clinton's Health Scare Was A Good Thing — Here's Why

Like every other non-doctor on the internet, I have opinions on Hillary Clinton's health.

And as a non-doctor on the internet, I am going to go further and actually prescribe something!

Not for her, for the rest of us: We should all take a chill pill.

Yes, the health of a presidential candidate less than two months before an election is a matter of national concern. The leading presidential candidate, no less.

And yes, obviously we should all be both concerned for Clinton's health and relieved that she seems to be well-recovered. ("SEEMS to be well-recovered, SEEMS," mutters a dark corner of the internet from under a white bedsheet.)

But in the wake of Hillary's health scare, the inveterate crazy of this election season has certifiably popped off the hook.

The news triggered a wave of concern trolling, conspiracy theories, and dudes in comment sections foaming at the mouth to install Bernie as the nominee (not how democracy works, but anyway). It's time for everyone to step out of that heavy navy suit, get out of the baking sun, and take a load off those poor feet before we ALL overheat.

Overheating in 80-degree weather while wearing a dark suit more appropriate for a chilly boardroom is not surprising.

And after we've all had a chance to recover in the cool confines of Chelsea's apartment (okay, this metaphor has gone far enough, because we are definitely NOT invited to Chelsea's apartment), we can take a nice, deep breath and realize that this minor medical episode has actually been a good thing.

"How can you say that, when there's a BODY DOUBLE walking around attending events as Hillary Clinton?" screams the dark, delusional corner of the internet before we remember to use our blessed block button.

Yes. FaintGate, Walking-PneumoniaGate, OverheatGate, CanSomebodyGetMyShoeGate — whatever you want to call it — is actually a positive development. Here are five reasons:

Hillary Is Okay!

This is the most important thing. Hill, you had us worried! Overheating in 80-degree weather while wearing a dark suit more appropriate for a chilly boardroom is not surprising (google "wedding fainting videos" or read up on Kanye West's Yeezy season 4 show). Still, that video was upsetting to watch, and it was even more upsetting to learn that you'd been diagnosed with pneumonia stemming from allergies just two days before. It was a relief to learn that you'd been examined by a qualified physician — the same one who had previously examined you and declared, "Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as President of the United States." Lisa Bardack, MD, later assured us that you were "re-hydrated and recovering nicely." (While an assessment from the qualified medical expert who actually examined you wasn’t enough to satisfy some Dr. House wannabes online, I for one am happy with the outcome.)

Hillary Clinton is a fixture of American political life, a beloved — yes, beloved! — elder statesperson who has millions of ardent fans and supporters, as demonstrated by math. We want her to be okay. And it’s a relief to know that this well-liked, caring, charismatic, and highly qualified candidate who tends to have excellent approval ratings while in office is in good health and expected to fully recover from a rough weekend. Get better, Hill! And cool it with the doctor's visits! Basket of deductibles, amirite?
Hillary Clinton showed real stamina and strength when she weathered 11 hours of questioning from a congressional committee.
Hillary Has Stamina & Strength

"BRB just gonna go knock out a few meetings, speeches, fundraisers, interviews, and photo ops while rocking some pneumonia!" This is a thing Hillary Clinton, candidate for president of the United States, could credibly have tweeted this weekend, if she weren’t so disciplined on Twitter, even on an Android phone.

We all saw the Benghazi hearing. Hillary Clinton sat coolly during (often insipid) questioning for a marathon 11 hours, stopping only to brush off her shoulder. That showed some serious stamina! This unfortunate episode doubles down on that, showing her mettle as she packed in a full weekend of events while ill. As Hillary supporter Jeff Campagna so perfectly put it in a Facebook post making the social media rounds:

"Hillary was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, yet still held a national security meeting, a press conference, did an interview, took pictures with about 100 people, and gave a great speech to a crowd of 1,000 people that same day. And she was amazing. When was the last time you did that much with pneumonia? When do you think Donald ever has? But we all know our mothers have taken care of us no matter how they felt. I hope Hillary takes care of herself, because pneumonia is no joke. But if Trump makes an issue out of this, it will not be because he's concerned about whether she is healthy enough to be president. It will be because he's afraid that on her worst days she's a million times more able and prepared than he is."

Let's be real: Conservatives haven't been fanning conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton's health because they are concerned about her.

But even more important to note, she was ill and still went to show respect at the 9/11 memorial service. She pushed through because it mattered. That's a pretty good quality in a president, methinks.

We Are Having A Convo About Sexism (Again!)

A scant few days after The Atlantic published its cover story on the many ways in which sexism has roiled the 2016 election season, we have a whole new one: double standards about health and wellness in male and female leaders. CNN's Brian Stelter made the point recently on-air. “We should be honest about the double standards that women sometimes face with regards to their health," he said, "with the idea that women are portrayed as being weaker than men, how they have to work harder to show they are as strong as men, especially in workplaces, especially in politics. I think we should be honest with ourselves about some of the subtext here, even as we rightly scrutinize her health today.”

The notion that Hillary Clinton, who has basically worked 16-hour days for years, is too soft is 120% about gender. Full stop.

Amanda Marcotte
Or, more succinctly from Amanda Marcotte on Twitter: "The notion that Hillary Clinton, who has basically worked 16-hour days for years, is too soft is 120% about gender. Full stop."

Let's be real: Conservatives haven't been fanning conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton's health because they are concerned about her. It's an effort to undermine her credibility as a potential president. Rush Limbaugh has said she looked "sick, unenergetic"; Donald Trump, who used "low-energy" to brand Jeb Bush as un-presidential, regularly questions Clinton's stamina despite being a year-and-a-half older than she is. He even points to how she sometimes leaves events to head home and "sleep." Crazy!

Even crazier is that this double standard is somehow being perceived to benefit Donald Trump. In fact, many people are saying that Donald Trump eats terribly, subsisting on greasy, fattening food and things that are fried. He also seems to really like steak. AND we know that the steak isn't that great. He released a glowing letter from his doctor, which detailed his entire 70-year medical history in, wait for it, four paragraphs. (That doctor later admitted to writing said letter in five minutes in the back of a limousine.) Clinton’s doctor released a two-page letter detailing her strong vitals, balanced diet, and commitment to life-lengthening activities like yoga and swimming. And her campaign said Tuesday that she’s going to release even more records about her health.
Hillary Clinton is currently a fan of yoga for keeping her body feeling healthy and young — but she's taken interest in exercise for decades, as this file photo from the 1990s shows.
We also know that, like Beyoncé, she keeps hot sauce in her bag — evidence, if ever there was any, of a woman with a steely constitution.

The Clinton Campaign May Just Stop Giving A Fuck

The media has really descended on this whole Hillary Clinton health thing, and political reporters as a whole seem pretty peeved that they had to wait two whole days and a fainting spell before learning that the candidate had pneumonia. They would like for her to be more forthcoming about everything all the time ever!

They have a point. And, oh my gosh, how much easier would that make everything? Maybe the ultimate result of this whole crazy, ridiculous, foaming-at-the-mouth-for-details-of-Hillary-Clinton's-medical-records-like-they've-never-foamed-for-Trump's-and-also-remember-Cheney's-heart-condition? frenzy will be that the Clinton campaign will finally loosen up the info-sphincter and be more forthcoming when it comes to these types of things. It's already pledged to release more health records, after all. You all went bananas over "basket of deplorables?" YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET.

I am ready for a Clinton campaign that gives zero fucks. It is time. And it would be amazing. But in the meantime, let's just hope that her campaign staff can get her to drink more water.

You all went bananas over 'basket of deplorables?' YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET.

We Are Having A Convo About Self-Care

Hillary Clinton surely did not intend to become a walking (pneumonia) advertisement for the importance of self-care, but she has — and that is good for women, many of whom have taken to Twitter to point out that we habitually work through illnesses because shizz needs to get done.

"It's not always easy for a woman (esp. a mom) to stop and self-care. She is usually vilified for it," writer Wendy Fontaine tweeted. "So glad Hillary is feeling better! Let's remember self-care is the most important. If we are running on E, we aren't able to do for others," tweeted blogger Khadejah Stegall. And former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm chimed in, more than a bit wearily: "To press lamenting @HillaryClinton's health/transparency: 'powering through' illness is what women do: stoically, every. single. day." Added entrepreneur Katie Klabusich: "It's possible Hillary didn't think to alert everyone to her illness b/c like most women since the dawn of time, she works when she's sick."

And possibly the best effect of this whole thing is that everyone with access to the news cycle has been reminded of the importance of staying hydrated. I am proud to share that I switched from Diet Coke to water halfway through this story. Thank you, Hillary. BRB going to the bathroom.
Rachel Sklar is a writer, entrepreneur, and feminist based in New York. She is the cofounder of Change the Ratio, which increases visibility and opportunity for women in tech and new media, and TheLi.st, a network and media platform for awesome women. A former lawyer who writes about media, politics, culture, and technology, Rachel was a founding editor at Mediaite and The Huffington Post. The views expressed here are her own.

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