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Dynamic Chiropractic – October 20, 1997, Vol. 15, Issue 22

Know You're Alive

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher
Having two teenage sons is like being on a roller coaster with constantly changing tracks. They react with intense emotions to what you and I would consider to be of lesser consequence: a girl's kiss, "unfair" detention, a beach party, or selecting a CD of some of their favorite music.

Most of the time, the raw power of their emotions is entertaining.
But the negative emotions, say a fight with a girlfriend, or the loss of a privilege, can test one's stamina. It may take hours of discussion before they begin to put the episode in perspective.

Occasionally my wife and I will reminisce about our own teenage years. When you think about it, you sometimes wonder if children aren't more "alive" than their parents. So much is new to them.
Think about the euphoric joy of a child's first visit to Disneyland. The adults have already discovered that nothing is ever as good as it seems, and that everything has a price. We filter out some of the joy through well-grounded skepticism.

A youth may feel invincible, acting boldly under the protection of a trusting belief that everything will be OK; if it isn't, the parent can always make it OK.

But as we mature and our base of experiences grow, fewer events throw us into bouts of fear, anger or depression. We have seen or experienced enough to have reasonable expectations; we've learned how to shield ourselves from serious disappointment. But every once in a while, we face an event that sets off our emotions. All too often, these are tragic events, but many times they are special ones you will remember forever.

One of those events for me was the postal memo from Labor Relations Specialist Kelly (please see "Internal Post Office Memo Calls for 'Quack Watch'" in the September 8, 1997 issue). It was like staring straight into the teeth of chiropractic prejudice from the 1960s and early '70s. This brought on the same gut-wrenching feelings one gets when watching a horror movie: "I just don't understand how Freddie Krueger keeps coming back!"

This ugly reminder evoked emotions of anger and retaliation. And while these emotions are not always good, they brought with them the freedom to act.

These same feelings obviously ran through you and the rest of the DCs in the United States. The staffs of the five congressmen who oversee the U.S. Postal Service were bombarded by phone calls, faxes, letters and e-mail. They quickly realized that the chiropractic profession was not going to tolerate this attitude from anyone.

Interestingly enough, a number of the Postal Worker Union newsletters have picked up the story. Initial reports suggest that four or five union newsletters will probably also carry the story. It seems that the postal workers do not have the access to chiropractic care that they would like.

What will be the long-term benefits of our confronting Kelly's memo? Will our action end discrimination against chiropractic within the U.S. Postal Service? Will chiropractic establish a working relationship with the Postal Workers Union? Will chiropractic benefits be examined and possibly even expanded?

Perhaps these events will happen; perhaps not. But the action that you and many other DCs took has opened the doors to many exciting possibilities. One thing is certainly true, and should not to be forgotten. Had we failed to act, the message would have been accepted by some, and tolerated by many more.

Your voice has made it clear to the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Postal Service, and many others in the federal government, that chiropractors are ready to act to fight discrimination and protect their own interests.

Ours is an important and powerful message; it needs to be sent every once in a while, just so that others (and we) know we're still alive.

P.S. If for some reason you haven't made your voice heard, there is another opportunity. Postmaster General Marvin Runyon still does not regard this as an issue that requires his attention. Perhaps you can persuade him otherwise.

Let Postmaster Runyon know that this issue requires his personal attention; that he needs to meet with the chiropractic profession to discuss U.S. Postal Service policies regarding chiropractic:

Postmaster General Marvin Runyon
475 L'Enfant Plaza West, S.W.
Washington DC 20260-0010
His phone number is (202) 268-2500; fax (202) 268-4860. Mr. Runyon doesn't appear to have a published e-mail address.

Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h)
Editor/Publisher Dynamic Chiropractic

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