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"The President, the Artist and the Truth"

Hello, my friends,

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I was only eleven years old when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but like everyone else in this country who was old enough to be aware of what was happening, I'll never forget the hours, days and weeks that followed.

I was sitting in my 6th grade math class at St. John'sElementary School in Loogootee, Indiana when the news came over the loudspeaker.Most of the country had fallen in love with the vigorous and brave young president and his beautiful wife, and we all sat by our black-and-white televisions and watched the funeral procession with a mixture of sadness, horror and disbelief as our modern-day "Age of Camelot" came abruptly to an end.

Kennedy had tremendous charisma, style, and leadership ability.Hundreds of books have been written about him in the 43 years since his death, and recently, I purchased the latest one.It's entitled, Let Every Nation Know:John F. Kennedy in His Own Words, and I actually bought it for the enclosed audio CD, which contains almost 80 minutes of excerpts from his most famous speeches.

I've been listening to that CD over and over again in my car for the past couple of weeks, and have yet to grow tired of it.Kennedy wasn't perfect - he made mistakes in both his public and personal life - but this country would have followed him anywhere.Sadly, we haven't had a leader of his caliber since he died (at least in my opinion).

Here's a quote that I particularly like, from a speech Kennedy delivered at AmherstCollege in October of 1963, just a month before he was shot.In paying tribute to the poet Robert Frost, he said:

"It may be different elsewhere, but in a democratic society, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist, is to remain true to himself, and to let the chips fall where they may.In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation."

Although I'm technically a health care provider by profession, I have the heart of a writer, and I think of myself as an artist in that way, since the things I write mean so much to me personally.That's why Kennedy's words caught my ear, especially since he had such an inspiring and uplifting way of delivering them.

Letting the Chips Fall

For most of our 111 year history, and until fairly recently, the chiropractic profession has survived and thrived outside of mainstream medical care.Early chiropractors were jailed for "practicing medicine without a license," and the scientific basis of our vitalistic philosophy was roundly ridiculed.

Some of my own initial experiences in practice, roughly 28 years ago, mirrored those of our chiropractic pioneers.Patients were sometimes frightened by their family doctors into discontinuing adjustments (despite the obvious improvement in their health under chiropractic care), and we chiropractors generally felt like second-class citizens (or "wicked stepchildren") in the medical community.

It's hard, then, now that our profession has "arrived" and is considered "mainstream" by many people (including a number of medical doctors, who actually even send over an occasional patient these days), to talk about some of the things that kept us "out of favor" for so long.In a society dominated by the pharmaceutical companies, in which "preventive" or "wellness" care is often defined simply as "early testing" of patients with an eye toward giving them more drugs sooner, and where every little symptom gets classified as a "new disease" requiring a "new treatment," it sometimes helps to have recorded messages from dead presidents lying at the ready.

As Lloyd Bentsen said of Dan Quayle in 1988, I'm no Jack Kennedy, and my personal "vision of the truth" may not always be accurate, or even fair.But right or wrong, it's mine, and God willing, I'll keep expressing it.It's the best way I know to serve.

Wishing you health, happiness and peace,

Dr. Frank Bowling

About the Author:Dr. Frank Bowling graduated in the first class at Life Chiropractic College in December of 1977.He maintains a private practice in Washington, Indiana, and serves on the Board of Directors of the ICA of Indiana.

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