Sunday, October 05, 2008
Neurology, Melanoma, and the Presidency
As a rule, I avoid political discussion with my colleagues and patients. Sex and religion are always fair topical game in any medical practice.
A thorough history of sexually transmitted diseases is a component of a comprehensive physical exam; and, of course, an understanidng of a sick patient's religious faith enables the practioner to develop end-of-life treatment guidance.
At this juncture in our nation's history -- where we are fighting two seperate military wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to stave off terrorist insurgency, and a $700 billion war on "Wall Street" to prevent total financial meltdown of our economy, I must spend a moment offering a neurological perspective on the upcoming presidential campaign.
Republican aspirant, John McCain, has a history of melanoma -- the super aggressive skin cancer that doesn't stop at the epidermis but manages to send off rogue attack cells which eventually nest in the lungs, spinal cord, and eventually the brain. Once melanoma hits the brain, incoherence and death usually take hold in just a few months despite aggressive medical care.
Many business people, military folks, Cubans, Jews, fundamental Christians, and other citizens believe that he posesses, by virtue of historical and present experience, the abilities to stare down and quash the many foes menacing our country.
However, his judgement in choosing his running mate, the previously unknown Sarah Palin of Alaska -- who in the few media interviews she has permitted shows unknowing grasp of our financial, diplomatic, and military challenges -- demonstrates an extraordinary cognitive deficit.
Now, I am certainly not saying that McCain's skin cancer history is now a brain cancer event. I am merely supposing that, as one of the oldest presidential candidates in American history, his judgement is markedly imparied and likely to worsen with age.
If elected, the 72-year-old candidate, will be a 73-year-old president. That's pretty old to be in the battle arena with so many dragons at the gate. Sarah Palin, as "heir apparent" to the old knight, should cause us all significant concern. In this country of ours, whereby anyone can grow up to be President, not everyone should be President!
Sarah Palin's glib and tiring tirade that she's just like any other "hockey mom", or "Joe Sixpack" suggests that she may indeed possess some attributes of certain "average Americans". (Please bear in mind that the consumption of a six pack of beer by any single "Joe" usually spells a disorder of alcoholism and may predispose to fetal defects -- a topic of certain relevance to this VP nominee.)
However, to be a heartbeat or melanoma away from the most powerful office on earth requires an individual of outstanding -- not average -- capability. A six-pack swilling hockey mom from Alaska may be someone you'd want to say hello to at your local Chili's, but it certainly isn't someone you could trust to negotiate the complexities of Iraq, health care, or the econcmy.
For all his failures, "George W" at least managed to get an MBA from a good school. With Palin potentially at the helm, the Bush presidency, by comparison, will look like an encyclopedia editorial board.
A new administration under McCain and Palin does indeed represent change -- for the worse!
posted by Neuroblog
at 8:46 AM