Not Cease from Exploration

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rest in Peace Dr Koop

Dr C. Everett Koop died on February 25th; I believe that he was 96 years old at the time of his death.

Quick, can you name a Surgeon General...any Surgeon General...OTHER THAN Dr Koop?  I know, that was a trick question (bad blogger!), as I know most folks can't.  I can't.  Yet that little trick speaks volumes about just how great of a man Dr Koop was and what kind of legacy he leaves us.

Thinking back to the 1980's, I'll state for the record that I don't consider President Reagan to have been all that great, despite the near sainthood bestowed on him by many.  And I'm not going to talk about why I feel that way either, as it's not the point.  What is the point is the fact that I think President Reagan did two really great things while in office:

1) He brought the country together after the Challenge explosion.  I still remember his speech to the nation.

2) He kept Dr Koop in office, despite many calls by social conservatives for his ouster.

It can be said about very few of us that we truly made the world a better place after we depart, but that's most definitely true about Dr Koop.  More than any other single individual, he is responsible for our nation having become much less tolerant of cigarette smoking.  Enjoy smoke free eating in a restaurant?  A smoke free workplace?  Hell, like the fact that the vast majority of people who do smoke don't do so in their own homes?  You can thank Dr Koop.  As quoted from THIS ARTICLE in the New York Times:

"When Dr. Koop took office, 33 percent of Americans smoked; when he left, the percentage had dropped to 26. By 1987, 40 states had restricted smoking in public places, 33 had prohibited it on public conveyances and 17 had banned it in offices and other work sites. More than 800 local antismoking ordinances had been passed, and the federal government had restricted smoking in 6,800 federal buildings. Antismoking campaigns by private groups like the American Lung Association and the American Heart Association had accelerated."

I don't throw the word "Hero" around very often, and in fact I have an entire draft posting about who some people who get tagged as being a hero (just for breathing apparently, such as all firemen) really are not heroes.  However, Dr Koop was a hero for me.  He took risks not for his own glory but to simply save people's lives.  He did what was right, not what was popular.  He had convictions and he lived by them, even when it was detrimental.

Yes, we really can all breathe easier thanks to Dr C. Everett Koop.

Rest in Peace Dr. Koop.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking about the Surgeon General, you have to not only throw in your usual dislike of Republicans, but spell Reagan's name in a manner to be disrespectful.

Speaking of the Pope, you have to throw in a comment showing your dislike for Republicans.

Just when I start to think that I like some of the things you write about, I start to believe that maybe it's a 6 year old writing this.

Don't worry, Perhaps one day you will actually have only a single party (Other than the "Token" party to vote for)and everyone will be able to bow to the leader.
Another Steve

Stephen Albert said...

"Another Steve",

First, thanks for reading the blog and for taking the time to comment.

Second, as for your actual comments, well we all have a right to an opinion. Regarding the former President, there are many on the hard right who delight in disrespect others; hell Limbaugh has made a career out of it. That noted, you are correct in that it was disrespectful, and just because others do it doesn't mean I should either. For that I do apologize, and I will change the reference.

Second, I do not have a "dislike for Republicans". In fact, there are Republicans I admire, such as former Governors Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson. In fact, I've linked to positions by Gov. Johnson many, many times on this blog. In addition, I've been very critical of several Democrats, including (lately) former Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. That's okay though, as we all see through lens of our own choosing, and while you claim I have mine, you certainly have your as well.

Finally you give me far too much credit by saying I write like a 6 year old (I am assuming you meant me, as your sentence reads as if you were actually talking about yourself). In point of fact you are in the minor leagues when it comes to criticizing me; I myself have a PhD in this particular area.

All The Best
- Yet Another Steve

Anonymous said...

What kind of blog is this? Well this is not a "political" blog.

Steve,
I would thank you for making the change to President Reagan's name but that wasn't a reflection on me but on you.
I posted your remarks on top here, not to be a wise guy, only to say that once in a while it's a bit difficult to tell that it isn't a political blog. I do realize that at times there is no avoiding it.

Though you didn't accuse me of being "hard right" I want to assure you that I am not. I've voted for plenty of Democrats in my 61 years. Both parties, in my opinion, leave a LOT to be desired and I keep saying I'm going to re register as an Independent but, what would that accomplish? I continue to vote for the person, NOT the party and I'm proud of that.

You're correct in that I see things through my own lens and I'll be the first to say it's been scratched and clouded over the years but it's served me well. I don't limit my decisions to that lens though, I also go by sound and smell (limit my sense of touch, thank you). I won't comment more on that except to say I'm not referring to your blog.

I also have a PHD in criticizing myself (and I appreciated your comment first hand) so I have to ask, were you attempting to give me a grammar lesson when you said, "Finally you give me far too much credit by saying I write like a 6 year old (I am assuming you meant me, as your sentence reads as if you were actually talking about yourself)or was it a "I'm rubber, you're glue" type of statement?


No, I don't intend this to be a ping pong game of words. I don't normally leave comments but I decided to write that first one because your comments aren't what I've come to expect from you.

I'll check back a few times in the future to determine if I keep reading.

Thanks and best wishes to you and yours,
Another Steve