He grabs your hand enthusiastically and looks you in the eye and says in the most convincing tone possible, “nice to meet you Doctor.”
So it was at the Lincoln Day dinner given by the Republican Party of Jefferson County, (Louisville) KY. Staci and I were invited guests of the May’s, friends whom we would support anytime, anywhere. Shellie May just happens to be the recently appointed chairwoman of the republican party. Wow, who knew this humble mom, nurse and tireless supporter of children was so powerful and influential. The friendly sweatshirt wearing nurse who bandages bike racers after they stumble, stands on the stage commanding a room of charcoal suited millionaires, congressmen and Senators.
After months of writing words on the internet, I have strived mightily to avoid controversy, except, of course, the berating of poor health choices and silliness in medical decision making. How can a doctor who barely knows his party affiliation and remains unsure on the right religious symbols to espouse, write words on a first exposure to the political arena without any dissension?
As invited guests of the chairwoman, we nervously sit in the front section with a pastor of one of America’s largest Christian churches, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell’s right hand man, and congressmen. We watch as one candidate after another thumps the podium for their allotted three minutes. Can they tell I watch Jim Lehrer and not Fox news?
One especially over weight and red faced candidate screams from the podium, “this country does not need a turn to the left or a turn to the right, we need a U-Turn to GOD!” “Amens” are muttered from more than few. I watch and listen with this incredible sense of discovery. Like the rural boy who walks into Yankee Stadium for the first time and his mouth stands agape with awe, I stand educated in life. These four hundred strong republican power brokers are serious and they really mean business. Certainty is palpable in this room.
Religion is difficult for this observer of science. Morality, compassion, peace and tolerance seem not to require symbols, but yet, Republicans seem so sure of the right symbols. And, it is easy to squirm when orator after orator bash homosexuality while the phenotypically gay waiters serve the tables.
In the practice of medicine and in life itself, discovery is one of the major creators of happiness and fulfillment. After observing an evening of Republican revelry, this apolitical, unsure of the answers and Lehrer-watching doctor stands educated and enlightened on the political process.
One who shares the same world wonders how they are so certain of all the answers?