Volume 68, Issue 5 Louisville Medicine - Page 6


At the 2007 Kentucky Medical Association ( KMA ) Annual

Meeting , as a medical student I participated in a panel discussion called “ Make Our Voices Heard .” Representative Bob DeWeese , MD , and the KMA lobbyist at the time were on the panel . I had been a Senate intern that summer and got to work and live in Washington , D . C . between the first and second year of medical school . I shared my experience , starting with city planning .
Washington , D . C . is a beautifully constructed city . The city ’ s architect , Pierre L ’ Enfant , was so thoughtful in his planning . Unlike the European counterparts when it came to capital cities , L ’ Enfant designed Washington , D . C . with an emphasis on the people ’ s voice . The main focus of the city was on the legislative branch . The building known as Congress was situated on top of a rolling hill , which later became known as Capitol Hill , providing a beautiful view of the Potomac River . From the US Capitol , there are streets like spokes of a wheel that radiate out from Capitol Hill , and these are the main streets of Washington , D . C .
L ’ Enfant drew this contrast because the US was different in 1791 , compared to the other countries of the world . The voice was with the people . Our legislators , state and federal , should be motivated by this desire to be the voice of the people . They want to hear from us . They need to hear from us . I have seen firsthand what letter writing campaigns and phone calls can do to change the minds of our legislators .
In our last few elections , a majority of eligible voters did not vote in the election . There ’ s a myriad of reasons . Most commonly I ’ ve heard : my vote doesn ’ t matter , they don ’ t care about me , or I don ’ t have time to vote . I know many of us in health care are guilty of the last one . We complain about legislators not listening to us , just like our patients do with us . When given the opportunity to show our legislators that we care and we are holding them accountable , we don ’ t go . We don ’ t show up . Our apathy perpetuates the cycle of our legislators being able to make the excuse , therefore they do not care as much to listen . I know we all have issues we are passionate about . Our apathy as voters has allowed our legislators to move away from understanding what issues are important to us . Not voting gives all the advantage to the status quo .
The upcoming election is our opportunity to take back our voice . It is our opportunity to show our legislators and elected officials that we care , we are present and we are paying attention . They cannot be apathetic to us , they have to be responsive to us . I encourage all of you to take the time to register to vote and make your voice heard . This global pandemic has expanded our options to be able to vote . For Kentuckians , utilize GoVoteKY . com . The deadline to register to vote is October 5 . If you are not comfortable voting in person , since we are all high risk for exposure to COVID-19 , you can request an absentee ballot until October 9 . If you want to vote in person early , that can be done between the dates of October 13-November 2 . Lastly , the final option would be voting in person on November 3 . Encourage your staff , encourage your friends , encourage everyone you meet to be informed and go out and vote . After all , most of us were citizens before we were doctors . Naturalized citizens now make up 10 % of eligible voters ; lots of them are also doctors .
I ’ m not here to tell you how to vote . I ’ m just here to tell you to get out there and do it . The founding of this nation and the city planning of our nation ’ s capitol are based on the power being seated in the people . Make your voice heard , get out there and vote .
Dr . Tailor is an internal medicine physician at Norton Community Medical Associates : Barret .