I sincerely believe we need a dramatic change in leadership in Washington. The current Trump presidency and Republican-controlled Senate must be replaced by Democrats to make our nation safer, healthier, fairer, and happier for all. The unchecked cruelty, racism, and greed if not rejected will lead to irreversible consequences to our nation, its citizens, and our democracy. At my age, these consequences may not directly affect my wife and me, but they will surely affect many Americans for years to come.
I have been privileged to serve as a physician (gastroenterologist) here in western North Carolina for the last 37 years. I believe my training and this experience give me an important perspective that I should communicate.
Foundations of medical ethics for centuries include firstly a singular dedication to the welfare of each individual patient, which we doctors strive to achieve daily. Medical ethics also dictate that we physicians should work to promote justice in our society’s health care system. This means advocating for the equal distribution of health care to all and eliminating discrimination against anyone in need of medical care.
The Democratic Party’s platform conforms to these medical ethics:
• It supports equal and expanded access to necessary medical care to all, regardless of their ability to pay.
• It supports the expansion of Medicaid, which North Carolina and other states unfortunately have so far rejected.
• It supports the lowering the eligibility age for Medicare, making it available to more Americans.
• It supports improvements and expansion of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) which, among many of its provisions, prevents insurers from denying coverage to persons for their pre-existing conditions.
• It supports coverage for women’s preventative and reproductive care.
• It supports reversing and controlling the relentless and unjustified rise in prices of our essential prescription drugs.
• It is committed to providing all of us with clean, healthy air to breathe and water to drink.
• It believes we need a coordinated and intelligent national program to control the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
Democrats are fighting to extend the critically necessary financial support to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and health insurance and soon to lose their homes due to the economic recession due to the Corona virus pandemic.
The Republican Party and Donald Trump, however, have worked hard to do exactly the opposite. That is wrong. It is cruel. It is antithetical to what our medical ethics tell us to do. Poverty and homelessness are incompatible with good individual well being and public health.
So, as a physician I object to and reject these selfish, cruel, and immoral polices of the Republicans in Washington. In addition to continuing to care for my individual patients, I feel the responsibility to advocate for policies that will benefit the public health and our country. One way is to voice my opinions and concerns, as I am doing. The other mechanism for change and reversal of these mean-spirited polices is to vote for new leadership which will pursue worthy goals.
The politicians currently seeking election as our representatives will be vested with the power and responsibility to create laws and policies and allocate money to advance the public health for the public benefit. It is our constitutional right and responsibility to vote for those whom we believe have the will to serve us, not just themselves. This year, more than ever, we must vote for the candidates in the Democratic Party. They are the ones committed to compassionate service to and treatment of us all.
So, I implore all Democrats to vote, no matter what the obstacle. We cannot afford to be apathetic. Ideally, all could vote by mail to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. If so, we must vote by mail as soon as possible so the ballots arrive in time (despite the Republicans’ efforts to paralyze the U.S. Postal Service) so they will be counted. We can vote in person, either early or on Election Day. If so, we must be very careful by wearing a mask over the mouth and nose, using hand sanitizer, and staying at least 6 feet from others to protect ourselves, our friends and family, and others who are voting.
I also ask Republicans and independent voters to consider voting at least this one time for the Democratic candidates. The Republican candidates have demonstrated that despite their words, their actions show that they are not really interested in your welfare. Since the independent candidates will not win, protest votes for them are really wasted, as if you did not vote at all.
Finally, we all must insist that Donald Trump respects the results of this election. No president has ever had the audacity to disregard the results of an election that he lost. It is amazing that we should even have to worry about his trying to do so. Should he succeed, we will no longer be living in a democracy; we will have given it away and suddenly be subjects of a dictatorship, unthinkable until 2016.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and think about it.
Henry Nathan, MD