By Dr. Jim Ferguson
Words are important. Aside from body language, they are the tools we use to communicate and express ourselves. Thankfully, we don’t read each other’s thoughts.
Language is a living thing and changes with time and need. As an example, thirty years ago a mouse was a rodent scurrying under the sink. More often, these days we use the word in conjunction with a device which orients the cursor on a computer screen. So, choosing a word which lacks specificity can be problematic.
Have you noticed how our rhetoric has shifted? We no longer speak of illegal aliens. The diction changed to illegal immigrants, and then undocumented immigrants. Now, it is deemed politically unacceptable by the no-borders crowd to refer to these illegal invaders as anything but immigrants.
We are a country of immigrants and supposedly a country of laws. My ancestors were Scotch-Irish and German. However, I call myself an American, not a Scotch-Irish American. I object to any modifier of American, as did President Theodore Roosevelt. I maintain that the word border still means what it says. And immigration must be legal.
Another imprecision in language that riles me is referring to the Democrat Party as the Democratic party. It isn’t. Ask Bernie Sanders if the Democrat Party’s presidential primary election process in 2016 was democratic. The Party’s leadership steered money and votes to Clinton in a sham democratic selection process. Bernie never stood a chance.
Nowadays, we are subjected daily to allegations that the 2016 presidential vote was altered by the Russians, despite the fact that Obama said this was impossible, and more recently Rod Rosenstein’s Department of Justice investigation concluded there was no evidence that a single vote was altered. Nonetheless, a recent poll found that 55% of Democrats believe Russians changed ballots to defeat Clinton. In fact, Democrats are now doing more to destroy confidence in the election process than any Russian. When Hillary Clinton lost, the Democrats felt there must have been a sinister reason for her defeat, other than she was a lousy presidential candidate. In 1860, Democrats refused to accept the election of Abraham Lincoln and precipitated the Civil War. These days, Democrats see election conspiracy everywhere, and the boogeyman is Putin, with Trump as his puppet. This is delusional thinking and destructive.
Another term we hear these days is entitlement. Why would anyone think they are entitled to the money in my pocket? And yet, the new darling of the Democrat Party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is arguing this perspective along with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. It astounds me that O-C has a degree in economics from Boston University because her comments show her to be clueless about economics – and no telling what else. She describes herself as a Democrat Socialist – whatever that is. Margaret Thatcher once said, “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” This young, radical, and attractive woman scares the Democrat Party, and me too.
Another term frequently bandied about is generic medications. The term generic derives from Latin and then French, referencing a class rather than a specific. In the modern era, the word generic is often used in conjunction with non-brand name medications. During my Geriatric training I discovered that the term generic equivalency is a concept defined by the FDA rather than Mr. Webster. The government defines a generic drug as one equivalent to a brand name, if assays of blood samples find the generic within 10% of the brand name. Perhaps this is unimportant for a drug like Motrin/ibuprofen, but could be very important in blood pressure medications or of critical importance in the treatment of seizures. In fact, a generic substitute for the brand name anticonvulsant, Dilantin, was better absorbed and produced toxic levels in patients until this was discovered. The take home message is that a hamburger from Krystal or McDonalds has approximately the same ingredients, but they are not the same, and sometimes you gotta have a Krystal!
Recently, a patient called me when he read on the internet about problems regarding a generic blood pressure medication he was taking. I recommended he ask his pharmacist if his drug was from the manufacturer in question. I also researched the issue and discovered twenty-six different generic formulations for his drug available in America. And we discovered his drug was manufactured in India rather than the problematic agent which came from China. I don’t give my dogs chow from China. Nor would I knowingly prescribe human medications manufactured in China.
I then called my pharmacy and asked where my generics drugs were made. My pharmacist did not know. She had the chain’s corporate office call me and I spoke to a knowledgeable and articulate young man who confirmed my suspicions about generics. He assured me that his company only used drugs from companies who followed FDA standards.
The FDA is charged with protecting consumers from defective products and tainted food. We trust their systems just as we trust the police to protect us. However, an intelligent person also uses common sense to look after themselves, their family and their neighbors. You need to realize that in a global economy, even brand name drugs may be made off shore in Brazil, India, Mexico, China and the Philippines where labor markets are cheaper. Perhaps this should provide a further incentive to move manufacturing back to America and to buy American made products, even if they cost more.
Philosophically and politically I am a Federalist. I believe in a central government which controls the military, maintains commerce between the various states, protects national borders and speaks for all Americans with other nations. And I am a constitutionalist who believes in limiting the powers of government beyond those granted it, as stated in the Tenth Amendment.
Becky and I voted last Thursday with our grandkids in tow. They helped us spin the knobs on election machines and select the candidates. We told them voting is a privilege and a responsibility of Americans. Voting is done elsewhere, but there is no generic substitute for our uniquely American election process. It saddens me the process has been so sullied and politicized and made suspect. My grandkids and We The People deserve better.