The state of mental health of our politicians, statesmen and other public figures is very important. The need for an optimal standard of mental health among our national leaders can not be over emphasized. This is so given the nature of the decisions they are required to make, and given the nature and extent of the tasks they are required to perform.
This relatively small group of people who run our countries have much of our fate in their hands. In a certain country, the president, about 435 congressmen and about 100 senators together decide the fate of the populace.
The populace of this country exceeds three hundred and twenty million people; and the land area of this country is more than three million square miles. This shows the power and responsibility of our political leaders, and the importance of their being of sound mind.
It used to be the case, since the end of the second World War, that mentally unstable politicians, statesmen and other public figures holding office were mainly to be found in the third world.
Even in the third world, mentally unstable politicians were only expected to hold the reins of power following a military or other coup d’état, or a popular uprising.
Second world countries, perhaps, might be expected to produce the occasional unstable political leader (the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, is a good example of this point). Such a despotic leader could never be expected to come from a first world country in the post World War 2 era.
The world thought that it had seen the last of the first world’s mentally unstable politicians, following the demise of Hitler, Mussolini, General Francisco Franco, Stalin and General Hideki Tojo. Leaders of a similar mental state to these were not supposed to hold political office ever again in the first world.
First world countries have been vigilant since 1945 in keeping persons of unstable mind out of high political office. The good reputation earned by the first world countries for civilized behaviour in high political office and other areas of public life, since the end of the second World War, has so far been cherished and well protected.
This situation, however, might be changing soon. There is now a person who seems to be of a very unstable mind seeking election to the highest political office in a prominent first world country. This person is their party’s nominee for the country’s highest political office in the upcoming general election.
This person’s speech and behaviour remind us of the speech and behaviour of the Axis powers leaders during the nineteen thirties and nineteen forties. This person speaks and behaves like a despot, and ignores rules and conventions in their quest for power. This person shows no regard for others, relative to the consequences of this person’s speech and actions.
This person is considered by some medical experts to be mentally unbalanced. Dr. Drew Pinsky, Physician and radio talk show host, told CNN’s Don Lemon that this person seemed to be suffering from multiple mental illnesses.
Maria Konnikova, New Yorker science and psychology writer, writing on the website Big Think, suggested that this person might be suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD.
One expert, Dr. Robert Geffner, President of San Diego’s Institution on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, says there are three aberrant disorders psychologists look for: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD; impulse control disorder; and anti-social personality disorders. Dr. Geffner says that the presence of these disorders along with bullying, existing in the same person, is a “dangerous and frightening combination”.
What happens if this person is elected to their country’s highest political office? What domestic and foreign policy principles and practices will this person pursue after the general election if they are successful at the poll?
Mentally unstable persons and persons who are, otherwise not mentally well, should not be allowed to contest elections for any level of political office. All applicants to such elections should be required to undergo medical tests to verify their mental health status. Periodic mandatory checks to determine the state of mental health of prospective and actual political leaders should be a necessary requirement during their stay in office. Such checks and testing should be easy to implement. Strict psychological examination of suitable applicants to the Secret Service is standard procedure. This psychological examination can be used as an initial example module for the psychological examinations of our political leaders. The list of persons to be routinely checked should include, the president, the vice president, congressmen, senators, governors and mayors.
By Edward Fagan