I am deeply disturbed during every election by the rumors that abound over the candidates' private lives. But the latest rumor about Dukakis' mental health bothers me for a very different reason.
Yes, it is too bad that opponents are only too eager to spread misleading "facts" or outright lies. And it is also unfortunate that the press feels it necessary to promote them. But what bothers me about the latest rumor is not that it got out or that it is not true, but that it should even matter in the first place. Even if Dukakis had seen a psychiatrist for depression, should it really matter? The man's brother died for Pete's sake! I would be more worried if he hadn't been depressed. I thought this country had matured enough to acknowledge that it is only human to need help sorting through life's problems.
The issue in this case is not about the fact that a rumor was spread; rather, that this type of rumor would be treated as a threat to any person's candidacy.