A Real Litmus Test for Political Candidates


In our toxic world, dominated by a medical system of "disease-care," taking care of our health can no longer be a private matter - we must get politically involved-

Imagine it's a few years after the election. Things seem pretty good. The United States is at peace abroad and crime is down domestically. The test scores for the schools in your district are improving. The economy is good, your job is secure. The federal deficit is going down, social security reserves are going up.

Imagine that you live next to a nice family we'll call the Johnsons. The Johnsons should also be enjoying the benefits of peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, little Jeffrey Johnson isn't one of those kids who's doing better in school. He has ADHD - Attention Deficitand Hyperactivity Disorder - which makes it hard for him to pay attentionin class. His school put him on the prescription drug Ritalin, and he is less unruly in class. But he is more prone to outbursts now at home, and also suffers anxiety and heart palpitations as side effects. These don't do his asthma any good, which is too bad, because he used to enjoy running around outside so much. But now, with so many days of smog alerts, he has to stay inside, anyway.

His sister, Jennifer, does better academically. She just turned 18 and has been accepted to the State University. She's happy about that, of course, except for one thing. Jennifer's obesity is a real social trial for her, and overcoming that stigma in a new environment is a real ordeal.

Jennifer's dad, Jim, is doing as well as his doctors expected, after his prostate operation. His physicians assured him that all his lab tests show him right on target for five-year survival. He will probably always regard the incontinence the surgery caused as a real nuisance, but he has become resigned to his impotence. After all, his wife, Janet, just hasn't been the same in bed after her mastectomy - in spite of all of Jim's assurances that he still found her desirable. And now, with her severe menopausal symptoms well, her doctors assured her that going on hormone replacement therapy would make her feel better, and that she didn't have to worry too much about this causing ovarian or another new cancer. This occurs in only a small percentage of women using hormones, and besides, because of the danger, the doctors would be looking for the earliest signs of any recurrence, which usually makes it easier to cure.

Sometimes Jim wished his dad, Jerome, was still around to talk with, but he was taken by that massive stroke so many years ago. At least his mother, Justine, wasn't burdened with his family's health problems: in that way, he thought, her Alzheimer's was a blessing...

What people consider the most important issues in their lives can make a political candidate's stand on these concerns a "litmus test." There are emotionally charged issues, such as abortion and gun control. On these politicians will be either pro or con. Otherwise, you don't find many political candidates not in favor of lowering taxes, improving education and ensuring national security. Where they disagree is on what the best programs are to accomplish these goals.

And one hears a lot of rhetoric about healthcare. The debate, however, is almost always over who is going to pay for the staggering amount of medical care that our citizens increasingly require. I, for one, wish they would focus just on health itself. For without health, it's impossible to enjoy any of the other benefits our society can offer. Why aren't the politicians questioning why we are so sick, and why our medical establishment has been unable to prevent or cure our illnesses in the first place?

It's great if Jeffrey gets an "A" in school, but not when that "A" is asthma, and he has to struggle just to breathe. And Jim is not going to get many promotions in his company if he's laid up in the hospital - and what kind of compensation can his firm offer him for not being able to make love to his wife? What good is practically anything if you are in constant pain, or debilitated - or dead?

The closest that political candidates get to addressing this is to pledge more government funds for "research." Like the "War on Cancer," started by President Nixon. After more a quarter of a century of spending $2 billion dollars per year - now up to $3 billion - the incidence of cancer is higher than ever. We don't need more of such "research." We know what causes the cancers that kill a million Americans each year. We know what causes the heart disease that kills a million more. We know what causes the arthritis that 40 million Americans suffer from. We know what causes the Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, mental illness and the host of other chronic degenerative diseases that affect practically every family in America.

Why aren't politicians questioning why we are so sick, and why our medical establishment has been unable to prevent or cure illness in the first place?

The answer is simple: we're being poisoned to death. When toxicology analysis is performed on breast cancer and prostate cancer tumors, concentrated amounts of toxins such as pesticides are found. Over a lifetime, the average American will be exposed to about 50,000 chemicals, only a tiny fraction of which have been tested for their effect on the human body - and with virtually no testing on how they act in combination. Every person on earth, if they were fully tested for heavy metals, radio nuclides and synthetic chemicals would find no less than 250 toxins in significant amounts. Besides exposure to the pollutants in our air and water, we poison ourselves with additives in our food, allergens in our household cleaners, mercury in our dental fillings and pharmaceutical drugs that outright kill over 200,000 Americans every year.

No wonder that our immune systems are completely compromised, trying to put out a thousand fires at once. No wonder that they can't mount an adequate defense against invading viruses or mutated cells - or that they actually get so dysfunctional that they attack our own bodies. Toxins wreak havoc in our endocrine system, our digestive tract, our liver, our brain - in every organ, in every cell of our body. They create nutritional deficiencies, inhibit our body's ability to detoxify, destroy enzymes, upset hormone balance and alter DNA.

Where do these toxins come from? They come from the industries that contribute by far the most money to political campaigns, especially for national offices. Is campaign reform an answer? It could be, except that to enact reform, legislation needs to be crafted and passed by officials who gained - and can only maintain - their present position due to amassing as much campaign money as possible.

We, the people, need to get politically involved because we are truly an endangered species. As individual citizens we might not have much of an effect on Presidential policy, but we can have significantly more influence on our Congressmen, and even more on the state legislators for our district - or even on our city councilmen.

The Internet is a fabulous resource for finding activist organizations involved in the same concerns that you have, and whose approach and methods most appeal to you. A good starting point is Citizens for Health (www.citizens.org) because they keep track of legislation affecting medical freedom - that is, the right for doctors to practice and for patients to have access to preventative medicine and nontoxic, effective healthcare, as an alternative to our present system of self-perpetuating disease-care. Citizens for Health also follows food safety and environmental issues, with links to many other more specialized organizations. Many of these tell you which legislators are on key committees,and what their voting records are.

A litmus test is an apt phrase to describe an issue of overriding importance in supporting a political candidate. Litmus is a type of specially treated paper that turns red if put into an acid solution, or blue if put into something alkaline. Red and blue - very patriotic colors, indeed. The next time it rains, take a piece of litmus paper outside and see what color it becomes. If it's red from acid rain, this will give you a hint as to why the trees in your neighborhood don't look so good, and why you see fewer birds than you used to. If the life around you is dying, why do you think that you will be spared?

If you are going to have a "litmus test" for political candidates, let it be for those committed to cleaning up our environment: these will also be the ones better able to see how our present pharmaceutically dominated medical system is polluting our internal environment. Do you think that modern medicine will come up with genetic therapy or artificial replacement organs so that you could survive in an overwhelmingly toxic environment? They won't, they can't - and would you want to live in such a world, anyway?

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