If you believe in the healing power of prayer, you may also believe that negative thoughts can make a person sick. Even if you don’t believe in prayer, you might believe in the power of positive thinking, and that decades of being harassed, vilified and investigated could take a physical as well as emotional toll on a person.
You can see where this is going. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, 68, has been diagnosed with pneumonia and apparently fainted at a 15th anniversary 9/11 observance in New York City, causing her to take a few days off the campaign trail. Her age, “stamina” and the pace of the race all may have contributed to her illness. As might the constant drumbeat of hate directed at Clinton by legions of “deplorables” and other Hillary detractors.
The mainstream media have used Hillary’s illness to turn conspiracy theories about her overall health into a “real” campaign issue. Clinton made matters worse when she called Donald Trump’s racist, sexist, xenophobic and Islamophobic supporters a “basket of deplorables.”
While Trump fans have gleefully embraced the “deplorable” moniker, and his campaign events continue to look like Nuremberg rallies, many of Hillary’s so-called supporters have been holding their noses and talking about the lesser of evils. In politics, that’s what’s known as an enthusiasm gap. In real life, it means a lot fewer people are wishing Hillary well than are wishing her dead.
The media have declared Clinton’s fainting spell to be another blow to her campaign, and her withholding her medical condition another sign that she can’t be trusted. But as some have noted, Clinton exhibited strength, not weakness, by sticking to her schedule as long as she did, while suffering from walking pneumonia. Her illness also showed that rather than being a robotic “Clinton machine,” she is an authentic, flesh and blood, human being, who’s been under a lot of stress.
Yet outside of a few flower deliveries to Clinton’s Chappaquiddick home, there’s been no grassroots effort to include her in prayers, or just wish her a speedy recovery. No flood of get-well-soon cards, or hashtags like #GWSHRC or #prayingforHRC, and it remains to be seen how many of her so-called supporters will even bother to vote on Nov 8.
The idea that people can make things happen by believing hard enough is sometimes called the Tinkerbell effect. It is named after Tinker Bell, Peter Pan’s tiny fairy friend, who is saved by children believing in fairies. With less than two months to the election, Clinton’s recent illness should be a wake-up call to her supporters that their lack of faith in their candidate may be jeopardizing more than an election. Despite a vast right-wing conspiracy, a philandering husband and withering criticism from all sides, Clinton has soldiered on to preserve Obama’s legacy and become the first female president. Now that she is faltering, it is time for her supporters to do just that — support her.