Joxam wrote:I mean while we're not exactly a news site or anything I DO honestly believe that it is unprofessional as hell for anyone other than a normal citizen on like twitter or something to say that he's mentally ill publicly (the discourse here falls under that category so I'm not talking about any of you). Any doctor who wasn't a piece of shit you asked about it should immediately say that without weeks of personal therapy and personal interviews they would not be able to diagnose any mental illness and then leave it at that instead of what most 'experts' nightly news shows walk in front of a camera do who say all those things and then immediately start to diagnose him or other people like him.
I've got pretty mixed feelings on this. Bandy Lee
is walking a fine line here but she emphasizes that she's not diagnosing any specific clinical condition from the president's behavior, merely evaluating warning signs that he is dangerous.
We are assessing dangerousness, not making a diagnosis. The two are quite separate: Assessing dangerousness is making a judgment about the situation, not the person. The same person may not be dangerous in a different situation, for example. And it is his threat to public health, not his personal affairs, that is our concern.
A diagnosis, on the other hand, is a personal affair that does not change with situation, and you require all relevant information — including, I believe, a personal interview. Most people who are dangerous do not have a diagnosable mental illness, and most people with mental illness are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.
Also, once you declare danger, you are calling first for containment and removal of weapons from the person and, second, for a full evaluation — which may then yield diagnoses. Until that happens, physicians and mental health professionals are expected to err on the side of safety and can be held legally liable if they fail to act. So we’re merely calling for an urgent evaluation so that we may have definitive answers.
In doing that, we are fulfilling a routine, public expectation of duty that comes with our profession — the only part that is unusual is that this is happening in the presidency. Perhaps this is reason to build in a fitness for duty, or capacity, exam for presidential candidates, just like for military officers, so that this does not happen again.
Adding a "fitness for duty" test on top of the president's annual physical sounds like a reasonable requirement on its face, but of course mental fitness is not as easy to test as physical fitness. Newsweek
has more details on what such a test would entail.
Regardless of any mental health evaluation, his behavior is clearly dangerous and erratic and he should not be in office, and his party's unwillingness to impeach is...I don't think it's reasonable to call it a constitutional crisis, because the Constitution has clear steps for what to do here; it's just that one branch of government is not doing its fucking duty. (There is
a possibility it could still happen -- Mueller's investigation seems to be going a lot faster than Watergate ever did -- but we don't have any Republicans with the integrity of Barry Goldwater anymore. I still believe there's a line Trump can cross where the Republicans will have no choice but to impeach, but I have no fucking idea what that line is
The question of mental health may be an important one, but in an ideal world it would be a moot point, because there are plenty of reasons to remove him from office regardless of any medical diagnoses.
And yes, it's also a fair point that we shouldn't stigmatize mentally ill people; we've had many presidents who suffered from mental illness, and it did not prevent them from executing the duties of the office (Lincoln is the most obvious example, but we can even hold up presidents I really don't like
here; W was a terrible president, but I have no reason to believe his history of alcoholism had anything to do with that). Trump is unfit to be President; mental illness may play a role in that. But that's about Trump, and does not generalize to any other president or any other person showing signs of mental illness. I understand that people are wary of another candidate being stigmatized the way Eagleton
was; the risk is real and people need to be very careful that we don't start heading in that direction. But I also take Lee's point that she's assessing danger, not a medical condition.