By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Ticks are disgusting creatures, especially the large “fat” ones on your dog. I have the same visceral opinion of maggots and blood worms, the latter we recently found in our pasture.

There is a principal in physics which holds that nature abhors a vacuum. By analogy, everything in nature serves a purpose or it withers away like unused muscles.

I once asked a UT entomologist if he knew the purpose for ticks. He could not think of a single reason for these disgusting creatures. I later found out that guinea hens eat ticks, and if you have a tick infestation a farmer advised me to buy a couple of guinea hens to take care of the problem.

Some years ago, toward the end of my traditional practice, I admitted a patient with a stroke and was shocked to find the neurological consultation I’d ordered being done through a television hook up with a consultant in Atlanta, carried to the bedside by a robot!

Telemedicine has become a reality. And now, I extend my presence beyond traditional areas of care as I offer Skype and FaceTime interaction with my patients. I continue to do house calls, but a lot of care is extended by telephone, email and text communication. As Aldous Huxley said, “It’s a Brave New World.”

Last week I received an email and picture from a patient vacationing in Maine. The terse message was, “Is this a blister?” I’ll spare those of you with a sensitive stomach, but the picture was not a blister. Furthermore, a blister does not cause chills and fever, which predated the nasty looking rash. Twenty minutes later the situation became clearer when I learned my patient had been hiking in the Maine woods endemic for, no infested with, Borrelia burgdorferi, and the tick borne spirochete which causes Lyme disease.

Lyme disease was originally described in a clustering of children in Lyme, Connecticut. These children were thought to have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. After considerable study the tick borne illness, which now bears the eponymous name, was added to the list of tick associated diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis to name a few. I don’t want to get lost in the medical weeds, but it’s best to just avoid ticks. And since the tick which causes Lyme disease can be as tiny as a poppy seed, I recommended my patient and spouse do a very careful body check of each other.

We hear much these days about infestation with rats and even drugs in Baltimore, according to Elijah Cummings’ description of his own district. I never realized the word infestation was racist. It wasn’t until Trump stated the obvious about Democrat-run cities like Baltimore. Apparently, the President hit a nerve describing rats in Baltimore, rat borne illnesses rampant in Kamala Harris’ Los Angeles, feces and needles on the streets of Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco and homelessness in numerous other Democrat-run cities. I guess the truth hurts and must be deflected with cries of “racism, racism, racism” because cries of “Russia, Russia, Russia” didn’t destroy Trump.

I had visions of infestation as I surveyed stages full of loons masquerading as Democrat Presidential candidates. I realize millions have a visceral reaction to Trump, but a rational person cannot embrace the utterly ridiculous positions of these candidates. Who can vote for essentially open borders, Medicare for all including healthcare for illegal aliens, reparations, $100 billion housing for people with black skin and the vacuous AOC’s apocalyptic Green New Deal.

The Democrats virtue signaling that they want to save the planet rings hollow because they have been unable to fix the cities they have controlled for the last fifty years. They don’t need more power; they need less power, and a perpetual parliamentary back bench position in government where they can crow but do no harm.

Newt Gingrich is a former Speaker of the House and university professor, writer and historian whose reasoned observations of American politics I find compelling. He believes the 2020 election will be between patriotism and racism. Actually, I think we are already there. It’s hard to tell whether racism is just a replay of the old Democrat canard or whether the New Democrat Party actually believes the Al Sharpton ruse. Perhaps if you see racial hues in everything, you are a racist.

Just like its citizens, America is not perfect nor without sin. The preamble to the United States Constitution says “In order to form a more perfect union…” We will never be perfected, but ours is a good and noble land. I disagree with the Democrat Presidential candidates who espouse nothing inspiring in their pseudo debates. Perhaps their quest for power and their hatred for Donald Trump force them and their media handlers to pander to their utterly lunatic base and bash the rest of the country.

Some years ago I read a historical perspective of Western Civilization from Rome to present day by Francis Schaeffer. I was intrigued by the title How Then Should We Live, which was more a statement from the prophet Ezekiel and God’s directive than a question. I recommend the 25th anniversary republication of Schaeffer’s book as a very readable and digestible overview of western civilization. However, the theological and philosophical conclusions of this book are of even greater importance.

How should we then live in this troubled age? We must speak the truth in love, have compassion for the lost, seek wisdom and truth in the Bible and remember God is always with us.