Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Power of the Op-ed Pen

Senator Thomas Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) has become a media darling in the last few months and has positioned himself in the press as a fiscal conservative with the courage to just say, "No," to spending of all kinds, including the ALS Registry Act. His approach plays well in sound bites and word bytes to a nation feeling the effects of unbridled deficit spending.

When the Senate returns in September, the elections will be center stage, and it will be difficult to achieve bi-partisan anything. If the Advancing America's Priorities Act (Senator Reid's package of bills held by Coburn which includes the ALS Registry Act) isn't brought to a vote, we have to start all over with a registry effort in the new Congress in January. That's a waste in many ways. We need to let the world know that Coburn's just-say-no fiscal policy doesn't work for the ALS problem. If we don't get clever and use information to solve it, ALS won't just go away on its own. It hasn't yet in 139 years.

Coburn knows how to get good press. He has been featured in the last couple of weeks in the Wall Street Journal (they love him for standing up for fiscal principles), the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others. He knew how to get the media to get him to shine in the spotlight of his showdown with Senator Harry Reid.

The Senate needs to vote to agree to vote on this package of bills... now. We need to get some balance to Coburn's press. There is more to this whole fight than responsible fiscal conservatives versus socially conscious liberals. There is posturing for an election going on. The talking heads tell us that the minority party likes it when the majority party can't get things done. Hmmmm.

Please consider becoming an op-ed writer.... now. Most publications require them to be short (the essays, not the writers) and very much to the point. People with ALS or those who have been caregivers can certainly make their points with a little zing. Chances of being published are a long shot (especially for those of us who aren't professional writers), but right now, the chance of getting the Advancing America's Priorities Act to a vote in the Senate is a long shot. We know we won't beat this $%%^&*$#@ disease unless we take some shots.

Click here for helpful suggestions on writing op-ed pieces from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

If you know any professional writers, please plant the idea with them, too.

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