(The following is a letter to the editor. It represents the opinions of the author.)
A Hippocratic Oath to Vermonters
Practitioners of medicine often swear themselves to the saying: Primum non nocere––Above all else, do no harm. This is the noblest of oaths, and one which people in all walks of life should attempt to live by.
Dr. Daniel Freilich, a U.S. Navy Active Duty medical officer for thirteen years and currently a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, specialized in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Every day he lives by primum non nocere, which is exactly why he should be Vermont’s next Senator: Congress is sick and Dr. Freilich can help fix it.
The dominant culture in Washington encourages members of Congress to be overly influenced by lobbyists, who use money as leverage to gain votes on crucial issues from health care to energy. It is the rare Senator who stays out of the money game. In fact, Senator Patrick Leahy once set an admirable example of abstinence from the special interest game. During the most recent of his six terms, however, Sen. Leahy has dramatically increased his willingness to accept special interest money. According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Leahy accepted over 46 times more PAC dollars from 2005-2010––more than $1.2 million––than he did from 1999-2004. Admittedly he is surpassed by several Senators in this respect, but nonetheless one must ask what caused this massive and sudden increase.
One of the foremost promises Dr. Freilich makes as a candidate is to never accept PAC money or let such influences govern his decision-making process when considering how to vote on bills. This was one of the primary reasons I was compelled to join his campaign; Dan promises to vote solely with respect to the merits of his bills, and recuse himself from any conflicts of interest he may come across––Above all else, do no harm. A very refreshing attitude, and desperately necessary in a place where leaders tend to act hypocritically rather than Hippocratically.