Neurorehabilitation professor and speech language pathologist at Boston University Swathi Kiran;
When people have a stroke, “that does not mean they can’t think through and rationalize and objectively analyze every question,”
Vox’s Keren Landman has a good article on the topic if you wish to read it. At the least, it is objective. The point of view is not flailing around with excuses of why Fetterman should not run challenging his ability to be a Senator. Fetterman’s speech was often halting, his thoughts were occasionally incomplete, and the words and phrases he used didn’t always fit their context.
The questions asked and the biased assumptions stated about disabilities are misunderstanding how a stroke impacts cognitive capacity.
Approximately two weeks previous, candidate John Fetterman gave an interview with NBC correspondent Dasha Burns. John was using live captioning technology for assistance in answering questions asked of him. It Dasha Burns was making a made an observation about his need to read her questions in order to understand them. Her verbal observation touched off an avalanche of questions and bad takes.
Back and forth Tweetering between 1 and 2:
1. “So anyone who’s speech has been effected can’t run for office? I mean we have a governor who can’t walk so I think folks with disabilities can and do almost anything. But sure shows ur true colors.”
2. No, but mental disabilities are way different than physical disabilities. If you can’t put a sentence together and have trouble understanding a question you are not fit for congress. Not a diss.. just fact.
1. That isn’t what happened even by t/reporters account. She said that he needed t/aid of a transcription program. His mind seems fine but his processing & speech affected. My family member has processing difficulties but is also an A student; taking a min doesn’t reflect intelligence
Fetterman caught himself in the back and forth with Dasha Burns.
Fetterman: “I always thought I was pretty empathetic. Emphatic. I think I was very—excuse me, empathetic. You know, that’s an example of the stroke. Empathetic. I always thought I was very empathetic before having a stroke…”
This is not a mental issue, it is a physical issue which can be remedied, An issue which may go away after a few months. With constant verbal use, he more than likely will improve in his verbal capabilities.
On John Fetterman’s stroke causing cognitive changes rendering him unfit to serve in the Senate?
These are not unreasonable — although in both the NBC interview and in a podcast interview recorded October 10 with New York magazine’s Kara Swisher, herself a stroke survivor, “Fetterman’s thinking and expression appeared to be intact.”
Questions become ugly and political when asking if someone requiring accommodations similar to the ones Fetterman used can also do the job of governing. These questions conflate the use of language-assistive devices with intellectual delays. More broadly and precisely they can be weaponized politically. Weaponized as they were by the campaign of John’s political rival Mehmet Oz. The doctor’s campaign questions conflate disability with weakness of character and mind.
Many elected officials already use assistive technology, from glasses to wheelchairs to hearing aids and beyond. If you are worrying about verbalization or intellect, go listen to Senators Scott, Tuberville, and candidate Herschel Walker.
“Senate candidate John Fetterman survived a stroke. It could be an asset if he’s elected,” Vox, Keren Landman