Political Oncology

A while back I penned a speech to give at a TP meeting.  I never had a chance to give it as the meeting was cancelled.  With very little updating, it seems relevant, so I share it here.

I have been a doctor for 38 years. Half of that time I spent treating cancer with chemotherapy. It was a terrible experience to use deadly chemicals. They threatened the life and health of each patient, not only making them feel bad, but look bad too. I strived to use only proven treatments with a published track record of success. It took a lot of time reading and discussing matters with colleagues daily to be able to choose the best treatments to recommend and use.

One of my challenges was fighting the charlatans peddling their false cures while bad-mouthing the efforts of doctors like myself. They wooed their victims with promises of cures with their useless and sometimes harmful treatments while fleecing patients and their families of their life savings. Some of my patients couldn’t believe they had a potentially fatal illness. Mountebanks would manipulate patient denial to support fraudulent and costly treatment. Others were afraid, and would seek the solace of these swindlers, soothing the fears with false but expensive therapy. All to often these folks who refused conventional treatment would show up on their own, or dragged in by relatives, when it was too late to offer them more than hospice and comfort care.

Fortunately, great strides have been made, and we now see treatments for cancers that are directed at the problem which do not attack the vital organs and the rest of the patient. They convince the cancer cells to stop their bad behavior, and return to normal function.

Our country, this great experiment in democracy, this rich society of many cultures, is threatened by a cancer of elitism, entitlement and taxation that is eating away at our spirit, our financial and physical security, and our freedoms. In the last decades the promises of Hope and Change all too much resembling the “alternative” treatments of Cancer Quacks have been chosen over the more conventional but less convenient pathway of personal and moral responsibility.

We are seeing what happens when the charlatans are in control. Our economy is failing, our political and military stature in the world is seriously challenged, and our population is torn by divisive bitterness encouraged by government-approved words and actions. Any attempts to point out their failures are buried in fabrications, distortions, personal attacks and distractions, just as those who challenge cancer woo-meisters are countered today.

We don’t have to resort to violence – like chemotherapy, radiation therapy or radical surgery – to treat this cancer. The risk to the United States of America is too great. We have treatments that our Founding Fathers left us more than two centuries ago – Free Speech and the Ballot Box – that we can use reform this malignancy.

We’ve heard from some candidates who are offering to be part of the cure for America. But just as we should research and question our doctor before embarking on a treatment regimen for cancer, we need to see more than words and assurances. We need to identify and avoid the charlatans and well-meaning incompetents. We need to see a record of accomplishment, and we need to hold every candidate who is elected accountable for their promises and actions every day of their service to their electorate.

The Tea Party movement is not about Republicans or Democrats. It is about people challenging the false cures of taxation and entitlement that has stripped our country of economic and social vitality. It rejects false cures, designed to enrich those in control with money and power, that both parties have failed in the past to successfully challenge. Some of these “special interests” are using planned violence, disinformation and propaganda, backed by the money in their treasure chests of campaign contributions, to inactivate this movement.

We can not let this happen.

We can not succumb to violence, mis- and dis- information, inflammatory and divisive rhetoric or actions.

We can not blindly support candidates based on their Party affiliations, and keep re-electing them without a critical review of their actions.

We can use our Free Speech to inform our community. We can use our free speech to inform our candidates and elected officials, daily, that we want intelligent actions and will not tolerate less than excellence and integrity. We can live our lives in support of the principles that formed our Union.

We can use our Votes wisely every chance we can get. Or we’ll lose the chance to use them.

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