Calls for Biden to withdraw intensify over health concerns

Calls for Biden to withdraw intensify over health concerns

Shafaq News/ Voices are growing louder, demanding that US President Joe Biden step down due to his “inability” to hold his position again.

In an article in The Atlantic, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, an oncologist and a vice provost of the University of Pennsylvania, analyzed the health condition of the American president, considering that Biden’s problem is not his age but “it’s his ability to function.”

“As people age, they tend to retain what is called crystallized intelligence, the knowledge and skills that accumulates over a lifetime. Barring any brain injury or neurodegenerative disease (Alzheimer’s and its ilk), one’s vocabulary, general storehouse of facts, and recall of how to do things, such as knitting and skiing, remain robust—and may even improve—into old age. Conversely, even in the absence of disease, a different set of cognitive skills—fluid intelligence—tends to peak in a person’s middle years and then progressively decline with age.” Emanuel explained.

“Fluid intelligence describes our ability to pay attention, exercise mental flexibility, and solve problems. People use fluid intelligence when faced with unfamiliar information that must be organized, and when they have to solve a new problem or navigate a familiar one in unusual circumstances. It’s what allows us to focus on important information or tasks while ignoring extraneous factors, and to hold one thing in mind while manipulating it, as we do when, say, calculating a tip.”

Expressing what happened to Biden during the debate with Donald Trump, Emanuel pointed out that “Biden displayed a striking deficit of fluid intelligence. He showed problems concentrating, difficulty with verbal fluency at the end of almost every response, an inability to spontaneously recall information, poor reasoning concerning issues that he was asked about, and a failure to respond to unexpected challenges by Donald Trump. Crucially, the debate was not unique. Biden has had good and bad days throughout his presidency, but diplomats, journalists, and even Democratic lawmakers have noticed and commented on his growing cognitive problems for many months.”

“Trump also displays many of these mental weaknesses—and others. His recall of names and events is poor, as is his capacity to concentrate, maintain his attention, and reason about new situations. Just consider his recent assertion that electric batteries could sink boats (and enable shark attacks), or that battery-powered airplanes would be grounded by the mere presence of clouds. But Trump’s displays of cognitive lapses have in many cases been eclipsed by his shameless, chronic lying. He appeared more energetic and lucid than Biden at the debate, but his answers were stuffed with factually false claims—thrice as many as Biden made.”

“The different components of fluid intelligence begin to decline at different ages—mental-processing speed, for example, appears to peak in your 30s—and the exact timing and speed of that decay is highly variable from person to person. Some people’s mental slowdown becomes more pronounced in their 60s. For others, fluid intelligence remains strong well into their 80s. The rate of decline depends on many factors, including genes, physical activity, and education. Brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia will accelerate the decline. Biden’s cognitive changes do not necessarily indicate dementia or neurological disease. (The White House has denied that the president has Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia.) His performance is perfectly consistent with normal aging. And that is just as worrisome.”

He mentioned that early in his presidency, Biden asked perceptive questions, concentrated fully, and was engaged and lucid in his comments. “I spoke with him in small groups on Zoom several times during the 2020 campaign, and was honored to serve on his COVID advisory board in 2020 and 2021. I did not notice any of the problems that have become so apparent in the past week. But now he has clearly deteriorated. His recent declaration that he will avoid events after 8 p.m. suggests that, somewhere inside, he recognizes the decline too.”

According to Emanuel, Biden, as a politician, has been engaging in debates and Q&A sessions for some 50 years. “His responses on expected topics such as abortion should come easily. Yet a slight change in setting—a silent stage with only Trump and CNN moderators for company—was enough to make his comments on the subject display a staggering failure of fluid intelligence: “Look, there are so many young women who have been, including a young woman who just was murdered, and he went to the funeral. And the idea that she was murdered by an immigrant coming in, to talk about that. But here’s the deal. There’s a lot of young women are being raped by their in-laws, by their, by their spouses. Brothers and sisters, by—it’s just ridiculous. And they can do nothing about it. And they try to arrest them and they cross state lines.” Such incoherence points to the kind of deterioration that was not known to have plagued Franklin or Rehnquist at Biden’s age.”

“The White House and the Biden campaign have suggested that the president’s problems at the debate stemmed from an exhausting travel schedule and a cold. Such explanations do not inspire confidence. Yes, it’s common for elderly people to bounce back more slowly from stressors. But even if jet lag and illness exacerbated normal cognitive limitations, said limitations remain, ready to surface again. And who knows when the next life-and-death decision will need to be made? Crises don’t wait patiently for presidents to be fully prepared. Someone whose cognitive competencies can be compromised as badly as Biden’s were by routine travel and a mere cold may be able to live a normal life, but they’d be hard-pressed to endure the rigors of negotiating with Congress or a foreign leader, much less making multiple rapid decisions when some future domestic or global disaster emerges.” Emanuel said.

He suggested for Biden to take George Washington’s example and withdraw from the 2024 race. “In so doing, he can teach the world how to rise above politics, to sacrifice for the greater good. He, too, could become a hero. This election will determine the fate of the democracy in this nation. Many talented Democratic leaders from swing states could beat Trump. One of them should take the baton from Biden. That would truly solidify Biden’s legacy as a public servant and a successful president.”

In 1796, at the end of George Washington’s second term, he knew that the public would have elected him again and again, as many times as he wished. But he shocked the world by voluntarily relinquishing his executive authority. It made him a hero of all time.

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