State of Matter

About a week ago, Rep Ronny Jackson sent a letter, cosigned by 13 fellow Republicans, to President Biden, urging Biden to undergo cognitive testing. He wrote:

The American people should have absolute confidence in their President. They deserve to know that he or she can perform the duties of Head of State and Commander in Chief. They deserve full transparency on the mental capabilities of their highest elected leader.

This is the same Ronny Jackson who was WH physician to Trump, G W Bush, and Barack Obama, the same Ronny Jackson nominated by Trump to serve as secretary of Veterans Affairs before allegations arose about Jackson’s on-the-job drinking and workplace hostility.

I don’t disagree with Jackson about this letter to Biden, this particular urgency; However, I’d take it further. Not only should Biden undergo cognitive testing, so should all potential and sitting politicians tasked with making decisions that affect the lives of their constituents. All potential and acting politicians that determine a US foreign policy so damaging/deadly to people who live in countries rich in resources required to keep a dying US Empire intubated.

Continually, we’re bombarded with tangled information from corporate news, bits and pieces that necessitate examination in an attempt to separate truth from fictionalized opinion—you know, the communications assaulting our gray matter. And speaking of gray matter: University of Oxford affiliated researchers, analyzing the brain scans of COVID-19 patients, have noted a pattern of gray matter loss linked to the virus.

Moreover, the scientists reported that their findings relate to loss in the brain’s limbic cortical areas. This is consistent with a symptom experienced by most COVID-19 patients, the loss of taste or smell. The study also suggests that the gray matter loss associated with COVID-19 may increase the risks of dementia.

Curious about more functions of the limbic system, I hit Wikipedia to read:

The limbic system is often incorrectly classified as a cerebral structure, but simply interacts heavily with the cerebral cortex. These interactions are closely linked to olfaction, emotions, drives, autonomic regulation, memory, and pathologically to encephalopathy, epilepsy, psychotic symptoms, cognitive defects. The functional relevance of the limbic system has proven to serve many different functions such as affects/emotions, memory, sensory processing, time perception, attention, consciousness, instincts, autonomic/vegetative control, and actions/motor behavior.

Reread that, please, for its significance. I don’t give a fuck about a “Decider’s” sense of taste or smell, but emotions, drives, memory, psychotic symptoms, cognitive defects, yeah, those speed right past troubling on their way to terrifying. Especially when I consider the members of Congress who’ve had COVID-19. And of Donald Trump whose condition was much more severe than we were led to believe. Donald Trump who controls the Republican Party and also certain members of Congress who identify as Democrats but are afraid to vote for any bill that would incur the wrath of the fascist, malignant narcissist who still insists he won the election, who still dances toward Oval Office occupancy.

But wait, there’s more: The amygdala, “which is the deepest part of the limbic system, is involved in many cognitive processes and is largely considered the most primordial and vital part of the limbic system.” In animal experimentation, monkeys whose amygdala were damaged exhibited behavior changes, including fearlessness, forgetfulness, out-of-control sex drive. Maybe like grab ‘em by the pussy. Maybe like overenthusiastic hair sniffing.

So, yeah, demand cognitive testing of all political candidates, all those aspiring to run for office, threatening to run for office, and already positioned in Congress. And then make public the results.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: