Do Not Do Nothing

By Marc Bloomenstein, OD, FAAO

There is dew on the leaves, and days are shorter—it is fall. Along with the changing colors of the leaves, this season also brings about a choice in the face of this change. We have the ability to alter the seemingly chronic problems we all face. Don’t get me wrong. I think choice is great. Yet sometimes, choice can evoke an emotional response. When confronted with the options, I feel that the emotional side may replace the rational and clinical evaluation of the choice.

We have been preparing for this choice for what seems like years. The rhetoric over the past 6 months has elevated, even when the option seemed to be inevitable. The verbiage most often used are common terms for this community: which option is better, will create faster change, optics, transparency, focus, and history. The two candidates have taken somewhat different, yet similar approaches to educating the public­—both choosing flashy and colorful marketing with the help of celebrities to add credibility. Early on, it seemed all we talked about was taming the burn, then the talk turned nasty leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths. Those close to the politics have been introduced to the new candidate for quite some time and have helped to start marketing for their avenue of change.

For one candidate, it is all about what is new, educating on the promise of being different, not how it got there, but instead, providing a departure from the status quo. This can be a slippery slope, because being “nouveau” requires a leap of faith and forces us to use those “optics” to look at what makes this candidate qualified to receive our vote of confidence. In 2016, we have ample opportunities to feed the mind with an evidence-based analysis of the candidates. This is not, however, like any other time in our history. Looking at graphs and reading articles have been supplanted by personal, self-serving, 140-character blurbs. A picture showing the candidate with a colleague serves as evidence of the candidate’s superiority. The social media epidemic elicits this quote from Albert Einstein: “If the facts don’t fit the theory, then change the facts.” Too often, we are faced with wanting to create facts that are not supported by the body of evidence, ignoring what we see, hear, or read.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan stated, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” The other candidate, having been a public figure for decades ensures that there are mounds of factual data to support this choice. The good, the bad, and the untrue have been aggressively investigated with no evidence to prove unworthiness. For some, this candidate’s years of service, created a sense of mental fatigue, and a desire for something new. The name itself can elicit psychosocial responses that were once thought to be disconnected. These neuronal firings induce visceral responses that are often not derived from scientific evaluation; instead, they are guttural. Yet, the body of research, polling, and reporting, demonstrates this candidate is capable of providing support.

This fall, we have choices. You have to provide the decision or rather (sadly) do nothing, which to me is deplorable. It is not too late to look at the body of evidence and make the best choice. Do not walk out of that room without putting thought behind your decision. I know it can be an expensive proposal, but think of the cost of doing nothing. n

Mark Bloomenstein, OD, FAAO
Scottsdale, Arizona