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Should we require presidents to have their mental health verified? Jimmy Carter wanted a panel of physicians who would routinely evaluate the Commander-In-Chief's psychological health, and many say checking the mental capacity of the person who...

Should presidents be required to pass a mental health exam?

Should we require presidents to have their mental health verified? Jimmy Carter wanted a panel of physicians who would routinely evaluate the Commander-In-Chief's psychological health, and many say checking the mental capacity of the person who...

Should presidents be required to pass a mental health exam?

Should we require presidents to have their mental health verified? Jimmy Carter wanted a panel of physicians who would routinely evaluate the Commander-In-Chief's psychological health, and many say checking the mental capacity of the person who will control our nuclear arsenal is just common sense. Yet some of our greatest leaders struggled with mental health issues. Abraham Lincoln was famously depressive--would he have been disqualified? Do you think presidents need a psychological exam?

PERSPECTIVES

While the idea of evaluating the president's mental health isn't new, it's come up far more often in this election cycle. US Politics reports:

The idea of requiring presidential candidates to undergo psychological evaluations arose in the general election campaign of 2016, primarily because of Republican nominee Donald Trump's erratic behavior and numerous incendiary comments. Indeed, Trump's mental fitness became a central issue of the campaign.  

But some say having a mental health exam could disqualify some candidates unfairly.

This Change.org petition demanding Donald Trump undergo a mental health evaluation has received more than 34,000 signatures. Congressional representative Karen Bass of California, who created the petition, says:

Donald Trump is dangerous for our country. His impulsiveness and lack of control over his own emotions are of concern. It is our patriotic duty to raise the question of his mental stability to be the commander in chief and leader of the free world.

A recent study at Duke concluded that several past presidents had signs of bipolar disorder--Lyndon Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt among them. 8 percent of past presidents exhibited evidence of alcohol abuse or dependence. 

Psychology Today cites one author who argues that some mental illnesses could actually equip leaders to perform well in times of crisis, as they may be more able to cope with upheaval and uncertainty. Would psychological testing deprive us of a worthy president?

Many point to Ronald Reagan's Alzheimer's diagnosis as evidence that our presidents must have regular mental health evaluations. While spending a day in the Oval Office in 1987, his son noticed aides were providing his father with scripted index cards--a technique he often used when giving speeches--for phone calls lasting five minutes at most, implying signs of a failing memory. 

"Dems are covering up that Clinton is medically unfit for office!"

No, you're thinking of GOP, covering up Reagan's alzheimers IN OFFICE.

-- Gareth M. Skarka (@gmskarka) September 11, 2016

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