Sadly, this article that popped up today at ABC News is not at all surprising. Former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona (2002 - 06), who was appointed by the Bush administration, spoke today about the administration's policies about important health issues being ignored or blocked for political reasons. (What a shock, ah-hem.) He's talking about little things like stem cell research, abstinence only education and reproductive health.Dr. Carmona is quoted in article:
"Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological,theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried. The problem with this approach is that in public health, as in a democracy, there is nothing worse than ignoring science, or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds. The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party," Carmona added.
Referring to stem cell research:
“Carmona said he was prevented from talking publicly even about the science
underpinning the research to enable the U.S. public to have a better understanding of a complicated issue. He said most of the public debate over the matter has been driven by political, ideological or theological motivations."I was blocked at every turn. I was told the decision had already been made -- stand down, don't talk about it," he said.
My favorite part of the article was at the very end. Referring to some of Carmona's predecessors including Dr. C. Everett Koop who served under President Reagan,
"Carmona said some of his predecessors told him, "We have never seen it
as partisan, as malicious, as vindictive, as mean-spirited as it is today, and
you clearly have worse than anyone's had."
I really wonder what these people in the Bush administration are thinking sometimes. Hasn't history shown, that you may be able to keep people in the dark for a while, but eventually the truth leaks out? No matter how hard these conservatives try to stifle common sense and proven scientific facts and statistics, eventually the people are going to figure it out. Take abstinence only education for example. No matter how hard they try to convince a high school full of teenagers that sex is an evil, dirty thing, most of these kids are going to come to the conclusion that their abstinence only sex ed class is full of you-know-what. Scaring people with religion is no way to prepare them for real life. Education and awareness is good. Fear and misinformation is disastrous.
This all comes as Congress is preparing to review Bush's new appointee for Surgeon General, Dr. James Holsinger. Sounds like George has gotten tired of censoring the rational voice of science and is looking for someone who will toe the line a little better. This guy is a real gem.
According to the article at Think Progress, he was a member of the United Methodist Judicial Council and tried to block the appointment of a female pastor who was also a "practicing lesbian." What the heck is a practicing lesbian, anyway? Does she only practice lesbianism on alternate Thursdays and Sunday afternoons? More importantly, why is her sexual orientation any business of the church? He has also been quoted as saying that he sees homosexuality as “an issue not of orientation but of lifestyle.” Which is probably why he founded the Hope Springs Community Church with a commitment to curing people of their homosexuality. Nice.
This sounds like a rational, scientific guy that I feel comfortable putting in charge of informing the nation about important health issues.I can't wait to hear what he has to say about Plan B contraceptives, stem cell research and abortion. Let's just hope Congress asks the tough questions in the upcoming confirmation hearings.
Here's this morning's article at The New York Times.