By Robert Freedland
December 29, 2006
I learned a lot about sportsmanship watching my son and daughters
play soccer. I recall the first time I saw a player injured
on the team that didn't have possession of the ball and the team
that did have the ball intentionally kick the ball out of bounds
to stop the clock and allow medical assistance on the field.
After that, the opposing team, in a sense of fair-play would
throw the ball back in to the team that had the ball in the first
place--their opponents. Even in soccer, winning wasn't everything.
From time to time players and teams would know that the health
of a player was of greater importance than winning at that moment.
Why is it then that we as adults cannot learn from soccer players
a little bit of political sportsmanship when one of our leaders
is injured or is suffering from a life-threatening illness?
Recently Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, a Democrat, suffered
from an intra-cranial hemorrhage due to a congenital malformation
of the blood vessels in his brain. Speculation has been rampant
about the possibility of him dying or resigning and then the
Governor, who for South Dakota, Mike Rounds, is a Republican,
would have the opportunity of appointing a fellow Republican
shifting the power of the Senate back to the Republican Party--all
on the basis of a hemorrhagic stroke.
Coincidentally, a Republican Senator also is dealing with a life-threatening
illness that was discovered after the November election. Senator
Craig Thomas of Wyoming was discovered to have Acute Myelogenous
Leukemia shortly after the most recent November election. This
possibly fatal disease would also result in the Democratic Governor
of Wyoming, David Freudenthal, having the opportunity of shifting
power towards the Democrats if in the event of Thomas' death
or resignation, he needed to appoint a replacement.
Is this what Democracy is about? That we should ever be interested
in the demise of an elected official so that our political party
might advance their influence? Should we ever permit a system
that discourages an individual suffering with disease to stay
in office just to preserve his or her party's power in government?
It is time for a little political sportsmanship. Whenever any
elected official, regardless of their political persuasion, takes
ill, we should all be wishing for the speedy recovery of that
person and should never be speculating about the effects of their
demise. If they are a Democrat, let's replace them with a Democrat;
same if they are Republican. Let them know that they may not
worry about the political effect of their illness; there won't
be any political gain or loss associated with Cancer, or Stroke,
heart attack, or auto accident.
Let us take the ghoulish out of American politics today! Let
us learn from our children and our sportsmen. Whenever an opposing
political player is injured or ill, let the party with the 'ball'
feel free to kick it out of bounds, knowing that the party who
regains the ball will once again return it to the other side.
Care of the injured, and concern about the well-being of our
leaders is more important than political gain.
America can do better! And it is time for our leaders to learn
La Crosse, WI
Received December 19, 2006 - Published December 16, 2006
About: "I am a physician
who cares for the health of our political system almost as much
as I care about the health of my patients!"
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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