This new column explores the many different ways we can roll up our sleeves and come together for our common good. Sometimes, we're so busy quibbling with each other over details that we lose sight of the big picture.
Case in point: I once attended a debate with my father, Dr. Monte Greenawalt, at Palmer's Lyceum Hall. It was the event of the year - chiropractic's finest minds debating our future and defining our fundamental differences. The hall was packed and abuzz with excitement; we managed to find a couple of chairs in the back.
As the debate began, a question was posed to the speaker to the left of the podium, who responded by presenting valid points and making perfect sense. The same question was then posed to the speaker to the right of the podium. Again, the answer made perfect sense. After a while, I closed my eyes so that I couldn't see who was responding. Every time - all of the answers made sense.
After the debate, I asked my father, "Did I miss something?" He replied, "Sounded to me like both sides were saying the same damned things." The Lyceum debate was intended to define the differences in chiropractic thought; it failed, and how beautifully - it illustrated all that we have in common.
Today, the stakes are much higher than a show of pride at a debate. The very efficacy of our work is challenged by those who would profit by our demise. Part of that attack is on our ability to remain unique in adjusting subluxations. That is the big picture.
We do a terrific job of taking care of patients, but are not so good at achieving optimum health for our profession. Although we are experts behind the wellness revolution, we lack professional wellness - the ability to work together as a profession.
In my opinion, a "patchwork quilt" mentality exists. Think of a quilt with different patterns on each square - you can relate that to chiropractic by thinking of each square as a different point of view. Each square tries to assert its pattern as the only valid one, but even the "loudest" and strongest of patches are part of the whole and cannot contribute to the quilt alone. Some of our patches do not want to relinquish this "perceived power" for the greater good of the quilt. This narrow viewpoint continues to divide us. Too often, we think of the lines between us as boundaries. If only we could look at them as stitches that bind us together!
We have proof that chiropractors can come together. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, chiropractors came together to raise donations for the Red Cross relief effort. Within a few short days, we raised over $500,000. More recently, we raised more than $600,000 at the Parker Seminar in Las Vegas in a matter of hours to support the legal teams defending chiropractic in the HCFA lawsuits. Unity is possible. We do know how to unite for the common good. It's not just a pipe dream.
Of the 60,000 chiropractors in America, only 15 percent (9,000 of you) are members of a state or national chiropractic organization. That means 85 percent are not actively involved in any professional advocacy for our profession. That's 51,000 chiropractors who have the potential of adding their support to chiropractic's future and well-being, but are not doing so. Now, if that's not a silent majority, what is?
It's time to roll up our sleeves and quit dancing around semantics. It's time for the silent majority to add its voices to the other 15 percent and shout, "Yes, I care about chiropractic!" Nine out of 10 Americans don't use our services. Let's go after them - our future patients.
Your associations can lobby the media and political arenas to promote chiropractic. Imagine if we could do this on a national level and put together a national marketing budget to begin educating the world en masse!
So, I urge you: Call your state and national associations today and sign up; become involved. We need you! You have great ideas! Let's give our profession a unity adjustment. It's naturally right!
Kent S. Greenawalt
Click here for previous articles by Kent Greenawalt.