Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General? (with a side trip to the war on drugs)
I have to say, I don’t have an overwhelming positive or negative about the possibility of Dr. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General, although I don’t quite have the nice and solid, well-thought-out reasons I like to have for things.
I would tend to prefer a person with a public health background, whereas Gupta is a neurosurgeon. I have no opinion on the Gupta vs. Michael Moore thing, because I don’t know enough about it. I’ve seen criticism of how he has covered topics such as autism and vaccines and Clonaid in the CNN role.
I can understand the view of those who think that he, as a CNN personality, will be a good health cheerleader for the nation, or that, as a neurosurgeon, he might be the right person for a serious look at the long-term effects of head injury in all those men and women we’ve been sending off to war of late. I find him difficult to judge because I can’t quite imagine how the two things will translate into his fulfilling the Surgeon General role.
However, the whole “obesity epidemic” schtick gives me the willies (see, I told you it wasn’t well reasoned), and I really can’t understand how anybody can’t understand why – despite the war on
people drugs and “all the public service announcements” – people still smoke pot. Seriously? And who makes only the health effects argument against the legalization of marijuana, without also advocating for making cigarettes and alcohol illegal (or every optional but potentially harmful activity, for that matter).
My friend Kat takes up the war on drugs in a post today, and a commenter notes that from a civil liberties perspective, Gupta’s argument is exactly backwards – “it’s not about justifying the legalization, it’s about justifying the criminalization.” Personally, I’d like to see people in national health-related positions who understand that, yes, some things are not 100% good for you in every amount (most things, in fact), but sometimes the government needs to shut up, back off, and let adults decide for themselves. Or at least be consistent, because the nerd/Vulcan in me cannot take the logic of illegal weed and legal alcohol.