In an interview with WLOX yesterday, Chris McDaniel complained, “They scared people to the polls. That’s no way to behave.” When I read that in print I hit a speed bump in my mental train of thought. At first I couldn’t tell if the operative word was “scared” or “to”. And saying it is “no way to behave” in the context of a political campaign, especially this one, made me vocalize a ‘hmmmm’. Of course, we all know what he is referring to.
But I’m assuming the operative word here is “scared” since both politicians, I presume, wanted a healthy voter turnout on election day. Mr. McDaniel’s implication is that you shouldn’t have to scare people to go to the polls. Instead, they should (in Paradise) want to go, nay run, to the polls to cast their vote. Likewise, I’m sure he, and Senator Cochran alike, would agree that (here on earth) you shouldn’t have to scare people away from the polls either. Only Lord knows our state’s history, and others, is replete with such. So I would say that if when it comes to politicking that if scaring is your thing, then wouldn’t it be in all of our best interests to scare people TO the polls and continue to be on our best behavior, and not scare them AWAY from the polls? Unfortunately too much apathy still abounds, to wit the first primary election, that can result in untrue results. I spoke with more than a few people since the election who had no compunction about not having voted stating something like “there wasn‘t anything about it that was interesting to me”. Which is hard to believe.
This all got me to thinking about if, as a well-meaning physician, I have ever scared any patient in to doing anything, or following any advice, the benefit of which was to improve their current health or help them to lengthen their life, at least statistically so. On this count I must make a confession. There have been more than a few patients, ones I have seen for many years, with whom I’m very familiar and fond of, and who were intransigent smokers, with whom I engaged in such. I am guilty. But not without good cause. In the same way Mr. McDaniel alleges voters were “scared” to the polls, I have scared some patients for their own good. These were the well known, hard-headed smokers who began coming in every other month or so with recurring respiratory infections, unable to stay healthy. My approach (the means) was, after auscultating the lungs, pose the question “How would you feel right now if I told you what I was hearing in your lungs right now were the sounds of cancer?” …and keep a straight, solemn, sober look. “What will your spouse say? Your grandchildren feel? Any goals and dreams you have yet to achieve?” On hearing this possibility, which by the way in real life is how lung cancer is usually discovered -- Pearl Harbor-like, with a sudden shocking revelation -- I’ve had a few smokers that have actually quit (the ends) after such an encounter, presumably the questions ringing in their mind for some days afterwards.
I think though the upshot of Mr. McDaniel’s lament is that the ends should not justify the means, insinuating the election process is one that should be imbued with heaps of unadulterated morality. While some might find this laughable, I would think though that this too (in Paradise) is desirable by all. Maybe, just maybe (not holding my breath) it might get better.
Hopefully, the lesson in this particular and historic election in our state was one in which everyone will now be awakened and realize that each of our votes matters in every election and that to not exercise it is a “vote” for something less than the true will of the electorate. The true will of the electorate can only be determined if everyone votes. This includes you and me.
Next election… don’t be scared one way or the other…vote your convictions, not necessarily so much because of what they say, but rather in spite of what they say!
And if you’re a smoker -- QUIT -- it can cause lung cancer, clogged arteries, and can wrinkle your pretty face!