Thursday, October 25, 2012

Uncle Sam's Illness

"Dr. Mitt", Uncle Sam, and "Dr. Barry"
A Responsible Approach vs Hopey Changey Happy Pills

[from billlifka[ I have a deceased uncle (let’s call him Sam) who was a heavy smoker. He was feeling poorly and a doctor diagnosed his condition as an advanced case of lung cancer. Sam didn’t want to hear that so he went to several other doctors who delivered the same verdict, along with the prognosis of an early, painful death.
One of these, Doctor Mitt, was quite experienced in the field and had cured many cancer patients before. He promised Sam that he could be cured if he were willing to undergo treatment that would be very uncomfortable for a time but would return him to robust health as he had enjoyed before he became addicted to smoking. The treatment would require that Sam cease smoking immediately and submit to chemotherapy and radiation. His hair would fall out, temporarily, he’d be extremely nauseous most of the time and he’d lose much weight. On the other hand, Dr. Mitt would prescribe modest doses of pain killers and a special diet of food and food supplements that would build up Sam’s total body to offset much of the damage to the localized cancer area.
Sam considered this advice but sought an easier solution. 

In all professions, there are practitioners who tell their clients what they want to hear. Usually, they are successful in their practices since most humans want to hear what they want to hear. And so it was that Sam was able to find other doctors who told him just the opposite of what Dr. Mitt and others of his persuasion had told him.
Principal among these was Dr. Barry who was a glib, handsome devil who was very popular with his patients, especially the ladies. Dr. Barry said all that discomfiture was unnecessary and, most likely, was bad; even a little bit of suffering caused patients to lose hope and hope was known to be the best medicine for any kind of ailment. Giving up smoking, according to Dr. Barry, was also bad; resultant unhappiness was another cause of the loss of hope. He prescribed stronger pain killers that produced a euphoric feeling in Sam for several months. 

After a few months, the stronger pain killers and the continued smoking didn’t make Sam any better. In fact, his condition steadily worsened and he spent an extremely painful eight months until his early death. To the end he recommended Dr. Barry to friends and associates as a doctor who cared deeply for his patients. 

This is a true story but I’ve changed the names of my uncle and the doctors to protect the guilty and the innocent. You might have noticed the similarity between my real uncle’s story and the on-going story of our Uncle Sam. My uncle’s immediate family members were enablers to him in his choice of a comfortable short term over a successful long term cure. Currently, Americans have the opportunity to enable their Uncle Sam to continue in his rotten habits that feel good in the very short term but will lead to his painful death in the slightly longer term. They have an alternate opportunity to restore him to full health and a long life. Which will it be? 

This analogy may offend some but it’s dead on. Just because one is a lemming doesn’t mean that one must follow one’s leader over a cliff. Many lemmings are credits to their species and have the intelligence to know a cliff is ahead and it’s time to ease themselves to the sides of their pack and not get swept over in the crowd. It will allow their species to survive, which should be high on their list of instincts. Their next step should be to select a leader with more common sense.

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