Hypocrisy Check: If You Think Suffering Lingering Effects From A Stroke Disqualifies John Fetterman For The U.S. Senate, How Can You Support Herschel Walker?

Those who fervently believe that it is important to the future well-being of the nation to get the U.S. Senate out of clutches of the Democrats understandably regard the U.S. Senate race in Georgia, where ex-football hero Herschel Walker is attempting to knock Sen. Ralph Warnock out of office using celebrity, Donald Trump’s endorsement, an “R” next to his name and little else, as a crucial battleground. However, one can’t espouse ethical principles and discard them when they become inconvenient. (Well, one can, but it is dishonest and wrong.) The same people who rightly insist that John Fetterman’s lingering disabilities resulting from a May stroke make it irresponsible for him to continue running for Senator in Pennsylvania are choosing to ignore Herschel Walker’s claims that he has been “cured” of dissociative identity disorder (DID), aka. multiple personality disorder, that favorite mental aberration of Hollywood horror movies.

In fact, Walker is using his allegedly former crippling mental malady as an asset in his campaign. The various scandals that have besieged his campaign, especially the recent accusation that he paid for a woman’s abortion though he now condemns the procedure, are brushed aside by Walker as the results of a mental illness he no longer has.

“As everyone knows, I had a real battle with mental health, even wrote a book about it,” the candidate says in a campaign ad.“And by the grace of God, I’ve overcome it.” Hallelujah! Walker’s 2008 memoir, “Breaking Free” revealed that he had been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. (Let’s accept that as true, just to simplify matters.) Walker claims that he was four times more divided than Joanne Woodward in “The Three Faces of Eve,“with 12 “alters,” different personalities that he developed to help him cope with a traumatic childhood. Today he describes himself as cured, his eleven false Herschels banished  “by the grace of God.” All those bad things the other Herschels did are irrelevant to the one running for the Senate: he either doesn’t remember them, or they were the work of a now vanished Bad Herschel. You know, like Norman Bates’ mother killing Janet Leigh in the shower. In an interview with Axios last year,  Walker compared his condition to a broken leg, saying, “I put the cast on. It healed.”

Except with this particular problem in real life, it’s not that simple. Mental illnesses can be managed and controlled sufficiently to allow a sufferer to function in society, even to accomplish impressive things (think “A Beautiful Mind,” the true story of schizophrenic genius John Nash) but they are never “cured.” Symptoms can and do re-surface, even after long periods of peace, with the trigger often being stress.

Fortunately stress isn’t a major factor in politics, governing or leadership.

I jest.

The New York Times spoke with several specialists, including Dr. David Spiegel, a Stanford University psychiatry professor who studies and treats dissociative identity disorder. “You can get better,” he told the paper.  “But it doesn’t just evaporate.” Spiegel explained that people with dissociative identity disorder, which can be mild and afflicts an much as 1% of the population, flip into alternate personalities involuntarily, unlike the rest of us who may play different roles in different situations. Spiegel  uses hypnosis to treat such patients as part of intensive therapy; there is no medication for DID, just for some of its symptoms such as depression.

The specialists interviewed cautioned that they could not talk ethically about Walker specifically because they had not examined of treated him,  but pointed out that some of the episodes he blamed on his “cured” condition were not consistent with what is known about the problem. The bottom line is that Walker has not enlightened voters about his mental health in any substantive way, despite using his alleged history of DID as an explanation for conduct that would (and should) be problematical for any candidate for office.

If one wants John Fetterman to stop stalling and obfuscating and to release full medical records that explain exactly what his cognitive pots-stroke problems are, then one cannot allow Herschel Walker to shrug off a multitude of inconsistencies and poor conduct by saying he had a mental condition that is now “cured.” Me, I don’t care what a candidate’s party, policies or promises are: I don’t want Senators who have trouble understanding speech or Senators who have multiple personalities, and I really don’t want Senators who lie about the seriousness of either problem.


Source: New York Times

22 thoughts on “Hypocrisy Check: If You Think Suffering Lingering Effects From A Stroke Disqualifies John Fetterman For The U.S. Senate, How Can You Support Herschel Walker?

  1. Both those races are a race towards the bottom. I can’t this is the best either state can come up with. Makes me glad I don’t live there.

    Sure, have them both release their medical records. I doubt it will make a lick of difference… which is the saddest part of that whole episode.

  2. Herschel Walker, John Fetterman, Stacey Abrams, Mandela Barnes, Tony Evers, Tim Michels, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, etc, etc. The list of terrible state and federal politicians goes on and on.

    Let’s face it, there are so many terrible people running for national and state level political offices on both sides of the political aisle that in some states the choices for any particular office are a lose-lose. I’m to the point that I will not vote for any Democrats for any office but the choices I’m seeing across the country for Republicans and Independents aren’t much better. We’re scraping candidates up out of the gutter. The caliber of choices we have for candidates really sucks and I think the reason for that is the ethical and intelligent people simply don’t want to get into politics because they know without a doubt that they’re going to be constantly attacked and drug through the mud with bull shit smears and innuendo filled and blatantly false propaganda. Morality has become quaint in the USA.

    Also, I can’t watch political ads at all anymore because they’re all full of bull shit propaganda and twisted lies. My wife and I are constantly hitting the mute button on our TV during the advertisement breaks on major networks so we don’t have the hear all the political bull shit. We’ve nearly gone full streaming and screw the networks just to get away from the political bull shit.

    We have a huge morality problem in the USA right now.

  3. “The specialists interviewed cautioned that they could not talk ethically about Walker specifically because they had not examined of treated him,”

    Seeing he has both the support of The Donald AND an R after his name, the talented, if beleaguered, unemployed, & laughably discredited Bandy X. Lee might be available…

  4. I get your point but isn’t sociopathy, narcissism, PTSD, and any number of other mental illnesses part and parcel of many political office holders? Do we tell 1 in 5 combat vets who have been diagnosed with PTSD that they can no longer serve because the stress of the office may cause a bad reaction?

    My take on this is that I don’t live in those states. If citizens of those states make the judgement of one being fit for office, then they are. Remember when so many said Trump was unfit to serve. The people across the country in many more states decided otherwise which gave him an electoral victory. This is exactly the same argument made for Biden whose actions are harming many. The only recourse for the public when they make a horrendous mistake is to vote that person out at the first possible opportunity.

    The electoral college (ie: the states) determines who wins the presidency by a majority of their electoral votes. The popular vote merely determines who takes the vote for that state. All the talk about Gore or Clinton winning the popular vote fails to respect the idea that we are not a Democracy but a republic of many sovereign states who have banded together to increase their individual strengths. Each state has proportional representation. The electoral college factors in proportional population and if it should be changed it should discount the non-citizens when computing the number of representative/electors they are assigned.

    People in my state Maryland have no business trying to sway voters in other states and people in other states have no business promoting candidates they like in Maryland. The same rationale for banning foreign contributions to political campaigns in the United States can and should be applied for out of state interests providing material support of candidates that represent the interests of people of the state in which they were elected. Conceptually, the very rationale for the electoral college is to prevent a handful of powerful sates to hold dominion over the many other states; so why do we allow massive flows of money and resources from outside sources to interfere with the will of the people of that state?

    The people of Georgia or Pennsylvania can vote for a post turtle for all I care. So, if I cannot be permitted to cast a ballot in all those other states, I want others to stay the hell out of my state with their money and influence.

    • An excellent point, I think. Not going to happen, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea (neither party would be in favor of it, I think).

      Upon another thought, it seems to me that it wouldn’t pass 1st amendment scrutiny.

      Also, with almost all of the television networks in the bag for one party, banning out of state advertisements would probably magnify their influence, which I don’t think would be good.

      So I guess I like the concept, but I’m not so sure about doing it.

  5. For the record, and for what it’s worth, I support Oz over Fetterman because I think Oz is a decent candidate and Fetterman is a bum with horrible ideas that communicates exclusively in dishonesty. His inability to understand spoken words and be honest about it is just a cherry on top.

    Walker, likewise, isn’t a good candidate. But he’s running against Raphael Warnock, the Senate is important, reality asserts itself and rubber hits the road. I don’t envy the citizens of Georgia having to vote for one of the two, but if forced, I would hold my nose, vote Walker, and not feel particularly bad about it.

      • I would have used the comparative virtue excuse myself, but neither are a fallacy if you approach it honestly. The fallacy involved is an excuse of unethical behavior to try to make it seem ethical… That’s not what I’m doing. There are a LOT of shitty candidates out there this year. I could list 10 people and some inanimate objects off the top of my head that I think could do better than Raphael or Warnock, but as unfit as those candidates are, one of them is going to make it to the senate, the race is close, and I think that retained Democrat control of the senate is a greater risk than anything Walker might do individually. While it’s not a good choice, it might be the best choice available. I think it is, and I don’t think it’s close.

  6. Jack,
    I think this post skirts the real ethical issues. The choice is not between Fetterman and Walker. The choices are between Fetterman and Oz, and between Walker and Warnoff (a Freudian slip, “warn off”, I know I know, his name is Warnock)..

    The real concern here is how to deal with a binary choice (it is binary after all because a vote for a third party is.. how can I say it…not a real vote) when both candidates have ethical negatives. How do you construct an ethics score card?

    Fetterman’s stroke is less important than the fact that he’s a communist. Oz is a carpetbagger but a really smart and deft communicator. Not a hard choice for me if I were in PA.

    You’ve captured Walker’s negatives above and in past posts. Warnock, like Fetterman is a communist. Also not a difficult choice for me were I in GA.

    I say communist in a sort of flip manner, but the majority of the current members of the Democrat party in the House and Senate are pretty indistinguishable from old line communists from Soviet and E German days. Flawed American values candidates 2, Communists 0 for me.

    Is there no one to whom you would consider Walker preferable? Pelosi, Newsom, Sanders, Warren, Cuomo?

    • The point of the post is that if one’s objections and criticism of Fetterman are based on his dubious health and his obfuscation involving it, one must levy the same criticism at Walker. If all that matters is the letter after the name, then OK, but let’s not pretend the stroke is the real issue.

      Fetterman is horrible, but he’s more qualified to be a Senator than Walker.

  7. I’ve got no particular love for Walker – he doesn’t impress me much. But the looming possibility of some kind of DID switch under the strain of office seems a far cry from the certainty of Fettrman’s continuing communication struggles.

    Besides, the Democrats have shown us that even severe mental difficulties should not keep anyone from dreaming big. They could even be President one day!

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