Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, is running for a United States Senate seat in Maryland. The question is: Why? What is her real motivation and, more importantly, is she fit to run for public office at any level, let alone the federal level? This last question was important when she filed to run for the Senate in January of 2018. Now it is even more worthy of examination, following her most recent, public flirtation with suicide.
When one considers the media’s previous obsession with the mental state of President Donald Trump, it is not unreasonable to expect that any candidate for Congress should also be of sound mind. Manning does not appear to meet that criterion.
Manning and Gender Dysphoria
Even putting aside – for the moment – the suicide bid, the question of Manning’s sexual self-identity should be considered. Though she may not have been clinically diagnosed, the former soldier and convicted felon may well be suffering from a mental disorder known as gender dysphoria; a condition suffered by many who describe themselves as ‘transgender’.
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), gender dysphoria “involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.” The diagnosis of this disorder can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). According to this manual, the criteria for diagnosing an adult or adolescent is that the condition lasts at least six months and the subject meets at least two of six criteria. Chelsea Manning certainly appears to meet all six of those criteria.
Mental State Matters…Right?
Many people, of course, might say “so what?” Manning – if, indeed, she is suffering from gender dysphoria – did not consciously choose to be its victim. Should she be punished for that condition? Should she be deprived of any right, because of it? That would depend on the standards to which we wish to hold our elected officials, or even private citizens, for that matter. Many left-wingers, for example – including Democratic politicians and so-called journalists – took it upon themselves to diagnose the president as being mentally unfit for office, despite not having a shred of clinical evidence to support such a claim. Further, an even larger number of these leftists would like to see mandatory mental health checks for private citizens who wish to purchase firearms.
The question of mental or psychological capacity appears to be of great importance. Following those concerns, then, is it not also important to ensure that someone wishing to become a U.S. senator, with all the grave responsibility and power that office commands, be unfettered by psychological issues?
The APA provides more information on the subject of gender dysphoria. The potential complications associated with this disorder should be of concern when considering an individual aspiring to the Senate:
“Gender dysphoria is associated with high levels of stigmatization, discrimination and victimization, contributing to a negative self-image and increased rates of other mental disorders…Adolescents and adults with gender dysphoria are at increased risk for suicide.”
Additionally, according to the APA, “In adolescents and adults, preoccupation with cross-gender issues can interfere with daily activities and cause problems in relationships or in functioning at school or work.”
Three Suicide Attempts
Manning aims to unseat Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and her platform includes shutting down prisons – literally setting free all inmates, eliminating the country’s national borders, providing healthcare and a basic income for all, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Those proposed policies should be cause enough for concern, but policy platforms are not, in themselves, disqualifying factors; it is for the voters to decide which candidates and policies they prefer.
In the case of this candidate, it is psychological instability that should be the focus of discussion. This instability manifested itself recently when Manning posted a photograph to Twitter of what appeared to be her own bare feet on a window ledge several stories above the street. The photograph was posted with the simple caption “im sorry.” Manning also twice attempted suicide while in prison; serving part of a 35-year sentence for providing WikiLeaks with classified information.
Regardless of what one may think of her political views, her lifestyle choices, and her struggles with sexual identity, it would seem to be nothing short of irresponsible to support Manning’s bid for a seat in the Senate. Having a mentally unstable individual casting vital votes on issues of national importance is concerning enough. Compassionate and rational voters should look even beyond that, however, and ask themselves if it is even fair to Manning – given her obvious mental fragility – to expect her to serve in such a demanding and, often, unforgiving role.