Advocacy, Politics and the 2012 Elections

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Advocacy, Politics and the 2012 Elections

I’ve been in Florida for the past week, working, advocating, feeling my jaw clench and my back go up each time I’ve seen or heard a commercial or watched a newscast that focuses on one of the Republican primary candidates.  (As an aside – it’s not because they are Republican – it’s because the commercials are so nasty, denigrating, and insulting or because the candidates or their henchmen say such nasty, denigrating, insulting things about each other.) Florida, of course, is the next primary state, to where all the candidates will  rush once the results are in from South Carolina. Even though they aren’t here yet, they have already ramped up the vitriol.  It’s not pretty. And to my ears, it’s abusive. Since this is my first APHA – AdvoConnection blog post written during a presidential campaign, I thought it might be wise to raise the issue of the profession of health advocacy and the discussion of politics. I have a one word piece of advice for combining the two:  DON’T. Especially during the next 10 months when every discussion of healthcare will be colored by the national elections, trying to discuss the topic with a potential client, or even an already-client, will be dangerous at best, and may be cause for losing not just that one client, but all potential future clients affected by that one’s word-of-mouth. If you disagree with each other, even on minor points, it will taint the relationship and cause stress – which neither of you needs.  Put another way – you have everything to lose and nothing to gain by political discussions with clients or potential clients. Even if you think you would agree with each other, you don’t know that  their friends (or even the adult child who may be the one who hired you!) would agree. Getting involved in political discussions cannot, will not, be good for your business. So – just like avoiding the topics of religion and politics on a first date is a good approach, so it is with politics, healthcare and advocacy. I’m not suggesting you should be…


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