To The Editor:
Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions regarding the president’s qualifications to serve.
I am hoping some mental health professionals in the area read the column by Alan Dershowitz, “Don’t Diagnose Trump — Respond to Him.” Per Mr. Dershowitz, it is unprofessional, unethical and absurd for a mental health professional who has not examined President Trump to offer a diagnosis or psychiatric prediction about him.
Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have no more right to pathologize a president or a candidate because they disagree with his or her political views than do prosecutors or politicians have a right to criminalize political opponents.
Do you know what countries are notorious in declaring political opponents mentally ill without examination? Soviet Union and China are the most notorious. They lock up perfectly sane people because they were political dissidents.
It is very dangerous for a democracy to begin pathologizing political differences. I now refer to the election of 1964 (Goldwater vs. Johnson),which was pointed out by Mr. Dershowitz.
Based on interviews with more than 1,000 psychiatrists, they concluded that Barry Goldwater was mentally unstable. Goldwater lost the election and Johnson went on to wade the U.S. into a war in Vietnam that claimed over 58,000 lives, as well as hurt the U.S.’s standing in the world.
Not one of those 1,000 psychiatrists had ever met Goldwater . . . they just didn’t like his politics.
Following the Goldwater-psychiatrist debacle, the American Psychiatric Association declared it to be unethical for a psychiatrist to offer any kind of a diagnosis on a public figure without having examined that person.
I’ll end with Mr. Dershowitz’s final paragraph: “Let’s leave the diagnoses to doctors who have examined their patients and not remove a duly elected president of the United States from office on amateurish speculation that he is mentally incapable of functioning in office.”
God help the psychobabble community!