We never talk about politics, but this year is different than most.
Explore This IssueOctober 2020
It’s been nearly three years since I became the editor of ENTtoday, and I’ve never told you about how I was appointed to this position. The Triological Society leadership group has some of our most revered and senior leaders in the specialty. And despite having the career experience of multiple job interviews with deans and university presidents, to this day my interview with the Trio selection committee will go down as the most difficult I’ve had. Fair questions, but no punches were pulled and there wasn’t a smile in the room. Afterward I was called back in, offered the position and to this day, the leadership has been extremely supportive in everything we’ve done.
But I do remember their one piece of advice after accepting the job: “Alex, we know you have plans to remake the magazine and we’re fully supportive. But whatever you do, please, please stay away from politics!”
Well … ENTtoday has done extremely well these past three years, I’m feeling fairly secure in my position, and this year has been unlike any other year in our lives. So (gulp) let’s talk politics and its importance this November.
The beautiful thing about medicine and otolaryngology is we have a clear mission: To take care of our patients. It is the one issue that overrides every other and keeps our community close despite our personal differences. And to be honest with each other, we are very different. We come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Some were born into physician families while others were the first in their family to go to college. We have different religious faiths. Many are in urban settings but there’s a sizable number in rural counties. Many of our colleagues are small-business owners where tax incentives can make a huge difference in a year’s profit/loss, while others work in an employed group taking care of predominantly Medicaid and Medicare patients and compensated by RVUs. So, I get it—each of us has our own personal reasons regarding whom we choose when we vote, and those reasons are well founded and justified.
But this year is different than any other year when I’ve been old enough to vote. There are so many issues that threaten our core mission. We are bound by the common thread of wanting what’s best for our patients and community. But today, we are in the middle of a global pandemic that doesn’t yet have an end in sight. Childhood education, gun violence, systemic racism, and climate change are all major issues that threaten the well-being of the communities we swore an oath to heal. The scientific bonds that tie us together in this country are also the same that connect us with our colleagues around the world. And those ties are weakened when aspiring physicians and scientists aren’t allowed to come to this country.
This November, we’ll all have our personal reasons for our choices, and I’m supportive of that. But before you vote, please take some time to think about our core mission and how it’s responsible for much of who we are and our success.
Please stay safe everyone, and I look forward to talking soon.