At 36 years of age, I’m too young to really remember a whole lot of details about Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Unfortunately, my earliest political memory is the backlash following Michael Dukakis’s infamous “tank photograph” that many feel effectively handed George H.W. Bush the White House in 1988.
What I do remember is 1994 when it was announced that Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s and people saying, “We knew it!” in reference to the years of speculation regarding our 40th president’s mental health.
So when this current “president” references that speculation to defend questions regarding his own mental health, he doesn’t seem to understand that by doing so, he’s basically validating the concerns millions, not just in this country, but all over the world, have about whether or not he’s mentally stable enough to be “president.”
At least twice now Donald Trump’s referenced the media’s questioning of Reagan’s mental health in his unhinged rants where, ironically, he’s asserted that he’s “like, really smart” and a “stable genius” — by acting like someone who’s not well mentally. Somehow Trump thinks referencing someone who died due to complications related to a degenerative mental condition is a good idea when trying to defend his own mental health.
That in and of itself proves he’s not “like, really smart.”
I joked with a friend that Trump’s attempts to prove he’s mentally stable by ranting and raving about his mental stability, often in incoherent, childish ways, is like someone feverishly screaming and yelling at people about how they don’t have issues with controlling their anger.
Furthermore, in 2011, Reagan’s son confirmed that his father was showing signs of Alzheimer’s while he was in office, validating those who questioned whether or not Reagan was suffering from some form of degenerative mental disease we later learned was Alzheimer’s.
Not only that, but when the media questioned Reagan’s mental health, they weren’t questioning whether or not he was mentally stable enough to be president, they were questioning his memory, his frequent lapses and whether or not he had a condition that could impair his ability to govern effectively.
Again, concerns that were validated in 1994, and again in 2011, with the revelations that Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s and his son confirming that he showed signs of the disease while he was in office.
When it comes to Trump, while some have claimed they think he has dementia, most question his overall mental stability for a number of reasons. These questions aren’t just about whether or not he might be suffering from some form of dementia, we’re talking about whether or not he is mentally sound enough to govern at all.
In the 80’s, nobody feared Reagan was going to start a nuclear war because Mikhail Gorbachev insulted the size of his hands. Nor did people wake up every morning fearful of what sort of immature, petty, and childish rant Reagan would go on during the several hours each day he woke up to watch and obsess about cable news.
I feel that it’s also important to point out that Trump’s father actually died from Alzheimer’s.
The bottom line is, if Trump’s trying to prove he’s a “stable genius” and “like, really smart” he’s doing a piss-poor job of defending his case. Referencing a past president many thought was suffering from mental illness while he was in office, who just a few years later publicly admitted he had Alzheimer’s and whose son confirmed he was suffering from the disease during his presidency, is not the best way to “prove” that you aren’t suffering from some sort of degenerative mental disease.
Then again, a mentally sound and intelligent person would know that — which is why Donald Trump doesn’t.
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