Well, the cat is out of the bag. Hillary Clinton has the flu! Quick, grab your children, grab your meds and head for the closest exit before she gets a chance to hug you.
Australians have been most bemused by the coverage of the U.S. Democratic candidate’s flu diagnosis this week. Headlines such as “Clinton collapse raises new fears about fitness for Oval Office” and “Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis raises worries for Democrats” illustrates just how much pundits equate political competency with health.
Image source: ABC News.
And we're not talking about the 'glow-in-the-face, run for 5km a day and drink kale smoothies' kind of health. We're talking about the 'never get sick despite a gruelling schedule, multiple time-zones and being exposed to hundreds of strangers every day' kind of sick. Hands up if you've never gotten the flu? PUHH LEASE.
Americans have a strange fascination with virility in their political leaders. Consider the case of George Bush senior, who contracted an unfortunate case of gastro in Japan in 1992. Not only did he collapse during a banquet given in his honour, he also vomited on the Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi before being rushed out. The media was gaga all over that one for days.
Image source: The Times
There is however, one Australian who will know exactly what Mrs Clinton is going through, and that is our very own Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull, himself suffered from the common flu bug during his campaign trail this year in June, and boy... did he look sick. He even subjected himself to Tony Jones on Q & A, and his replies were nasally to say the least. We felt so sorry for him that Fairfax even reported that he should have taken a sick day and "rug up in bed with chicken soup and a wheat bag."
I imagine Mr Turnbull's 'get well' note went something like this:
I heard you were crook and wanted to send you a message of support. Being sick on the campaign trail is a real kick in the balls.
I was ill on the campaign trail earlier this year, and seeing that footage of you buckling at the knees brought back some crazy flashbacks. There's no remedy that I can recommend to you that Twitter hasn't already offered.
We're not spring chickens anymore, (even though everyone knows that your 60's are the best years) look after yourself mate.
Malcolm Turnbull bravely trudging through the flu back in June. Image source: Getty Images.
Mrs Clinton is getting no such sympathy from the crowd. Clinton's campaign agreed to release her medical records in a bid to reassure the public about her health. This came after what was perceived to be the suppression of her true condition earlier in the week; a coughing fit that was blamed on allergies. She was accused of sneakiness, and doing what millions of women around the world do on a regular basis when they are sick: soldiering on without complaint. No man flu in this corner.
Age has been occasionally brought up as a factor in the nation's obsession about health. Mrs Clinton is a respectable 68 years old, while her opponent Donald Trump is 70 years old, which would basically qualify him for a pension in Australia.
Public service announcement: take your sick days. Post continues below...
It is ridiculous to think that any indication of illness in our politicians is a sign of weakness. In the U.S. people expect the presidential candidates to eat fast food (to come across as relatable), work 20 hours a day, shake millions of germy hands, hold thousands of snotty babies, sit through stinking hot ceremonies, travel to multiple cities in a day, withstand frigid temperatures, not take holidays, operate on very little sleep, and NEVER get sick. Doesn't sound like a very healthy lifestyle does it? And not only is it unrealistic, it's not HUMAN. Did I just walk onto the set of The Terminator?
Hillary Clinton, we've got your back. Soldiering on is a bad ass move and harks back to your Madame Secretary days. Maybe just take it easy on the antihistamines.