As a Democrat running for Congress in the 3rd Congressional District, I am often asked about my campaign strategy. My answer is always the same: We can, and will, find common ground because the issues that keep us from sleep at night are invariable and they are never far from our minds.
The most obvious area of common ground is that we must honor the truth. Truth can, in fact, be defined in various ways. Let’s examine two of them.
Truth can mean a verified, indisputable fact, law or principle. Here we are in the realm of science, of things that can be measured. When the same things are remeasured, the results are constant. Gravity has the same effect day after day. It’s why we middle-aged folks look in the mirror and see wrinkles.
But truth can also mean sincerity in action, character and utterance. This is the principle of truth that we understand from faith, from ethics and from human decency. And from what I observe with respect to our Congress lately, this kind of truth is utterly lacking.
Health care has been my life’s work. I have learned during 30 years of practicing family medicine that it is important to listen not only to words, but to body language. I recognize the signs of patient anxiety — brow muscles drawn inwards, lips pinched, body tensed. I see it when a woman finds a lump in her breast; when a diabetic realizes he is losing his vision; when a mother recognizes that her baby is failing to gain weight.
Nowadays, I see this expression all the time. People are wondering why Congress cares so little about our well-being that it would foist upon us a bill that strips health care from millions while padding the pockets of the rich with enormous tax breaks. People wonder why we are not told the truth about this legislation. We are told that it won’t hurt us by raising deductibles and premiums. We are told that everyone who is covered now will remain so. The Congressional Budget Office, however, has done the studies. It has measured and evaluated the assertions. And they are not true.
My campaign is about the truth, and, specifically, it’s about how we cannot solve problems if we are basing our solutions on what is false.
I have learned many things during my career as a family doctor. Patients want their doctors to tell them the truth, even if it is hard to hear, so they can deal with reality and get the help they need. A good doctor-patient relationship is based upon trust, clear communication and partnership. The relationship between a congressional representative and her constituents must be based on the same values. It’s the only way to establish a basis for real problem-solving.
I believe everyone deserves affordable, efficient health care. I will work for you to find solutions that give you a good night’s sleep.
Kathie Allen, M.D.
Candidate, 3rd Congressional District