Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson Without Considering Mental Health Care – ChicagoNow (blog)


This election is exhausting. I am so ready for November 9th. Of course, that future could include a President-elect Donald Trump, which terrifies me. I agree with the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board that Trump is “a man not fit to be president of the United States.” I would add that both third party candidates, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, are not fit to be president either.

According to the Tribune, Gary Johnson and his running mate William Weld “offer an agenda that appeals not only to the Tribune’s principles but to those of the many Americans who say they are socially tolerant but fiscally responsible.” While the Tribune believes that the Libertarian candidate is a principled option, I believe that it is unprincipled to endorse a candidate who does not include mental health care in their plan for the presidency.

In 1998, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson vetoed HB 315. The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) strongly criticized this decision because the bill “would have established a pilot program for state employees providing coverage for mental illnesses equal to that offered for other physical illnesses.” This was an irresponsible decision that put fiscal concerns before people living with a mental illness.

In its editorial, the Tribune does not address Johnson’s position on mental health care. Johnson and Weld’s website addresses PTSD in the “Support Our Veterans” section by stating that Johnson would “remove outdated federal obstacles to the testing and use of medical cannabis to treat PTSD and other conditions for which it has shown promise.” There isn’t a mental health section on their website, so I’m not sure if this is how Johnson aims to treat all mental health conditions.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton has a comprehensive mental health plan that includes a national initiative for suicide prevention, treatment instead of a prison sentence for low-level, nonviolent offenders, and integrating the country’s mental and physical health care systems. It is so important that a presidential candidate includes mental health care in their plan for the country because, according to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults experiences mental illness in a given year.

The thought of Trump being the next president causes me a great deal of anxiety. Just yesterday morning, instead of enjoying my cup of coffee, I read that Trump had tweeted about Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe who Clinton talked about in the first presidential debate, and her supposedly real sex tape. Clinton brought up Machado in the debate to make a point about how Trump views women. He had called Machado “Miss Piggy” when she gained weight.

Trump is a sexist, racist, orange Mr. Potato Head. He simply cannot be president. It is reprehensible that the Chicago Tribune refuses to fully take a stand against him by endorsing a candidate who will never be president. The Tribune states that Clinton “is undeniably capable of leading the United States,” but then does not endorse her because she is not a “a practical-minded Democrat.” In my opinion, it is not practical to endorse a candidate who does not address mental health care. The country needs a president who is concerned about all Americans, including the most vulnerable. I look forward to voting for that candidate, Hillary Clinton.

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