To the editor of THE EAGLE:
The nerve! The unmitigated polyunsaturated audacity! The utter chutzpah! Who does Dr. Vivek Murthy think he is by identifying gun violence as a threat to our health and well-being? And isn’t he all full of himself when he suggests that we lack the political will to tackle the problem? Hasn’t he seen our Congress in action? If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that he is a pushy doctor, one of those Dr. Oz types. Maybe he even went to Harvard or Yale or both! Maybe he got another degree in business just to give his concern about our health an air of establishment legitimacy.
And when he recently faced a congressional panel as President Obama’s nominee to become surgeon general he had the nerve to suggest that obesity is a major problem too, one that he would focus on when he takes office. Why does a guy like him want to be a general? Don’t we have enough of them already? Fat chance that he can make a difference about obesity when he can’t even pass a simple NRA litmus test.
Some of us like our surgeon generals to be quiet, to be accepting of policies that limit health care access, to remain unmoved when innocent children are slaughtered. The last thing we need is another surgeon general snooping around and finding things to fix. This is America and some of us like it just the way it is.
Yet, here’s the tough part. Dr. Murthy is my daughter Miriam’s good friend and he has been a guest in my home. He is warm, articulate, brilliant, humble and caring. And he’s got an extraordinary reputation as a medical doctor too. Personally, I like and respect him. But can I trust my own judgment? Can I get past his passionate desire to see all Americans live long and prosper? Can I find a way to forgive his concern for the families of the 30,000 Americans who are shot to death each year? Can I find a way to eat less so that I can add a few years to my life?
I’ll try to get past my reservations for my daughter Miriam’s sake. Her friendship with Vivek is special and come to think of it, he is too. Good choice, Mr. President. Do we have the political courage to make it official? Time will tell.