The medical profession was well-represented in the November elections. Between MDs and their spouses, they had:
- 5 candidates running for the U.S. Senate;
- 25 candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives;
- 3 state governors seeking re-election;
- more than 100 running for state legislatures, many for re- election.
With these numbers of medical professions seeking office, one half expects to see an MD as the next president of the United States.
By comparison, the chiropractic profession had three candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives; only Dr. Peter Ferguson made it to the general election. There were also a few DCs running for state legislatures.
It's no wonder we're losing ground in the politics of health care.
Because Dr. Ferguson was in the general election, he received the greatest financial support from the chiropractic profession. But at $1.25 per DC in the U.S., it's obvious we're not going to get a chiropractor elected.
So who's to blame for the sad state of chiropractic's involvement in the U.S. political arena?
Let's look at the chiropractic profession in the United States and "round up the usual suspects":
American Chiropractic Association: The ACA has by far the largest paid membership. The ACA did donate to Drs. Bakke, Phillips and Ferguson, and encouraged their members to donate and sent their representatives to help the Bakke and Ferguson campaigns. But did they do all they could to put a DC in D.C.?
International Chiropractors Association: While the ICA is not nearly as big as the ACA, the ICA still has the ability to make things happen. The ICA strongly supported Dr. Phillips' race and were an important part of that effort. So what should the ICA be doing to make this dream a reality?
Association of Chiropractic Colleges: With over 10,000 chiropractic students, our colleges have a significant investment in the future of this profession. One would think that they would be eager to support a chiropractic candidate.
Congress of Chiropractic State Associations: Obviously, the bulk of the chiropractic profession enjoys membership in their state association (if nowhere else). But what are the state associations doing to put some of their members into the legislature?
In most political situations, the rules are clear:
If it's good, take the credit. If it's bad, find someone else to blame.
If you're a chiropractic student or not from the United States, you may be wondering why so little is accomplished with so many chiropractors in the U.S. The answer may be that we have too many organizations and they divide our potential effectiveness.
Then there are the technique "gurus," practice management consultants and other chiropractic "leaders" that command the attention of certain segments of U.S. chiropractors. What we basically have in the United States is a kind of "dis-synergy" where the sum of the parts deliberately constitutes less than the whole (otherwise known as "antagony").
We've been almost totally defeated legislatively, so we need to decide who to blame.
The answer can probably best be found in the mirror.
To answer my own question, I am to blame.
Through lack of effort and understanding, I didn't do enough. I didn't write enough articles, call enough people, donate enough money or make electing a chiropractor to U.S. Congress a high enough priority. I am embarrassed and ashamed at my own lack of effort and can only hope that I will do more in the next two years.
While this may seem a bit bold, it is something you learn from publishing a newspaper. When you put it in print, it's yours. You can't hide from it or blame anyone else. You must honestly accept full responsibility.
Now it's your turn.
Did you do all you could? Are you proud of your efforts?
Fortunately, new opportunities come our way two years. If we start to work now, we have time to win. But it will take all of us working together. We can't afford to continue to act on our own and blame others when we fail.
This is a call for all DCs and all chiropractic organizations to create a "chiropractic legislative coalition" for election year 2000. This must be done now with all chiropractic candidates ready to work together with all of our chiropractic organizations.
We can put a DC in D.C. No one is going to do it for us.
Chiropractic 2000 is just two years away.