Real change takes more than a candidate

Tom Fields

Letter to the editor

Dear Editor:

Why do we vote for lawmakers rather than committee members? This is one of several questions that I hope you will pose to students, faculty and others, including candidates for public office.

In order to clarify this question, let me provide an example, which begins with the observation that Hillary Clinton is a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Has anyone in the media asked her about her work on this committee? If not, why not? Doesn’t anyone in the media believe her work on this committee to be relevant to her bid to be president?

In order to provide further clarification, let me observe that for nearly two decades I have sought out lawmakers who are passionate about protecting individuals against the opportunists who would take advantage of them while they are most susceptible to being taken advantage of as a result of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and sedation under a Do Not Resuscitate order. Why? Because better safeguards are needed. See this page for some examples, including an excellent recommendation made by the American Medical Association and another that I shared in 2005 with delegates to the White House Conference on Aging. Lacking a public outcry, such recommendations have been ignored and will likely continue to be ignored under the current system.

If people want real change, let’s discuss real change. Letting the public vote for those who represent us on legislative committees would be real change. Making those who will sit on legislative committees focus their campaigns on the work of those committees would be real change.

I might not be sufficiently knowledgeable to represent others on many issues, but I am sufficiently competent to represent others on the one issue mentioned here — and more competent to do so than those who currently represent us in this capacity. I shouldn’t need to run on every issue in order to campaign for the opportunity to do what none of the current candidates have done or will do, namely sponsor legislation like that I advocate for the purpose of protecting individuals.

Let’s discuss real change.

Tom Fields

Mentor, Ohio