The other day a good friend asked why I wasn’t afraid of standing up and speaking out against things I see as illogical or unfair. I realized in that moment that many other orthodontists and residents must think the same thing – that I’m not afraid. Nothing could be further from the truth and it’s time to set the record straight in the hope that others will face their fears and take action to help make the changes so desperately needed.
I am more than happy to admit that when it comes to our profession:
I’m afraid of what people think of me.
I’m afraid of what people say and the impact on my reputation.
I’m afraid of being ostracized and it hurts my feelings to be an outcast in the profession that I love and work so hard to protect.
I’m afraid of a lot of things but I’m more offended by what our member organization and the establishment are doing to the members of the association and the profession. At best the leadership is mismanaging our member dues and at worst they are stealing from members to fund their parties and awards of self-adulation while lying to the members and telling them it will all be OK. They are selling our future to pay for the perks that they cannot otherwise afford.
I’m also more afraid for residents and new graduates and the fact that we talk about “defending the profession” but don’t do a damn thing to insure its existence for them. I’m afraid for patients who deserve access to the best possible care but ashamed that we, as a profession, refuse to speak up and educate the public about the difference between an Orthodontic Specialist and a PCD because we are afraid.
I’m also afraid of the wrath of Arkansas PCDs and the Arkansas State Government. I’m afraid of being run out of business by those who act as a protectionist guild to keep prices artificially high and access to care artificially low but I’m more afraid for the well being of patients who are being lied to and taken advantage of.
I’m not the best advocate and I’m no politician but someone has to do something!
I don’t know of anyone who has an absence of fear.
I don’t know of anyone who has done anything substantial without facing and overcoming his or her fear.
It all comes down to choice and a decision: What is more important to you – your comfort short term or the public good and viability of your profession longer term?