A friend of mine recently posted a brilliant commentary on John Edwards' official web site's blog as a reply to an article written by Melissa Etheridge about Elizabeth Edwards and her struggle against cancer. I've reposted the whole thing here for your edification. He's a darn good writer and as politically savvy as they come. In this letter, he compares and contrasts his wife's current battle with cancer with the run-amok contingent of the Republican party. Unexpected. Uncomfortable. Undeniably powerful.
I was wondering if you could help settle a debate my wife and I were having: Which poses the tougher challenge to America's well being-cancer (specifically breast) or Republicans (specifically Neocons)? Melissa Etheridge, feel free to chime in on this, too. I think it's cancer, but my wife says it's Republicans.
First, I must stipulate that my wife is currently battling the disease (we're in between chemo treatments #2 and #3) so she's got the upper hand in terms of experience with cancer. But I'm fighting along with her, as John is with you, and I argue with Right Wingnuts often, so I purport to know a bit about Republicans.
1) Secrecy. Cancer operates quietly. It doesn't announce what it's doing. You have to do breast exams and get mammograms to even know it's there. Even when you do know it's there, it lurks & spreads and tries to hide in places treatments don't reach. Likewise, Neocons operate in the shadows of secrecy. Whether it's setting up their own private intelligence organization within the Pentagon or wiretapping Americans without warrants, Republicans are at least if not more surreptitious than cancer. We'll call this one a draw-Bad faith vs. Bad Feith.
2) Propaganda. When my wife went to our Dr. with a lump in her breast, he told her it was a harmless fibrous cyst and there was no reason to check it out further. Months later, a second "cyst" formed and we had a biopsy. Cancer. Sneaky marketing maneuver, cancer. Your skillful wordsmithing cost us months of recovery time. Her cancer was high grade (growing fast) and now we had 2 tumors to battle. But hold on. The "Party of Lincoln" can still teach you a thing or two about advertising. How do you get America to reverse itself on tax breaks to the wealthy? A little copywriting. Estate Tax good. Death tax bad. Just like that, the same policy takes a sudden turn. And who can argue against obliterating the public school system in this country when it's cleverly titled "No Child Left Behind?" To say nothing of the famous branded talking points like "mushroom cloud," "flip flopper" and "global war on terror." Okay, when it comes to marketing, I'll admit I think the Republicans have the edge. Cancer, hire Karl Rove. He should be available in '08.
3) Education is the key to defeating it. If you take recommended precautions, know what to look for and listen to your body, you give yourself a better chance against cancer. That's a fact. It's also a fact that recent electoral diagrams look awfully blue around the major urban areas of the U.S. and increasingly red in the "flyover" states. Now, no disrespect to the idiots in hickville (I wonder if they'll get that irony), but is it a coincidence that cities are where we put our universities? It's these bible thumping, home schooling, flag waving, livin' in the styx know-nothings who've not only put this clown in the Oval Office, but actually voted to keep him there. Still, I give this round to cancer. Guys like Wolfowitz and Perle have oodles of education, knowledge and experience and they're no better off than the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.
4) It uses fear against you. Cancer is scary. Even the word strikes panic into most. Abnormal cells. Replication. Mutation. It sounds like a sci-fi horror script. I mean, leave it to cancer to require treatments with symptoms worse than the disease itself. How are you supposed to stay positive and fight it when you're hearing words like "adriamycin" and "metastasis" all day long? In comparison, I actually take refuge in Right Wing fear mongering. Maybe Giuliani's correct and Al Qaeda's just waiting for a Dem to take office and make us vulnerable to an attack. What do I care? Cancer attacks every day. Radical Islam has nothing on a radical mastectomy. My wife will protest this, but I think Cancer wins this round. After all, I live in California and we can't get sh** done without illegal immigrants. They don't scare me. It's way easier to habla some Español than build a giant wall.
5) It doesn't just ruin your life; it goes after your progeny. We're getting genetic testing done to see if our daughter's carrying the same cancer-enabling gene as my wife. That's really low. I mean, it's not bad enough my wife had her hair fall out and gets head sores. Now you're telling me my beloved child's at risk, too? F you, cancer. You suck. Which leads me to Republicans. They're never content to just screw with the current time period either. They have to bankrupt the government, wreck public education and destroy the environment so that even if the Dems win a round here or there, there's no getting out of the holes they've dug. That's pretty friggin' low, too. I was going to call this issue a push, but Medicare put it over the top. Point awarded to the Red States.
Well, there are plenty more points of debate to keep this going. Who cheats more to win? Who, after being beaten, reorganizes to show up later and wreck everything? Which foe makes you more prone to vomiting? But I think I'll end it here. Please, Mrs. Edwards, settle this once and for all. I only have 24 hours in a day. If I get 6-8 hours of sleep a night (counting the mushroom cloud nightmares) is there enough time left over to battle cancer and the Republicans? Or do I have to choose? You seem to be uniquely qualified to enlighten this American family.