More often than not you hear stories of politicians taking, wanting, or needing something from constituents. It’s few and far between to hear the story of a politician actually giving back to his community in a hands-on manner. Of course, many have created charities and foundations, but this is usually with the help of many volunteers and not always involving direct contact with people.
Rand Paul is different. Besides breathing new life into the political arena dominated by old-school mentalities, Paul is a man amongst the people. We are inundated with stories of career politicians who want nothing from you but to remain in office. Even now elected Senator Rand continues to give back to the people in the same fashion he did before entering politics. In an article written for the National Review, Katrina Trinko takes a step back from the political views of Rand Paul the senator and takes a closer examination of Dr. Paul.
“Burke is one of four patients that Paul performs pro bono eye surgery on today. In recent years, Paul has done between 10 and 15 eye surgeries a year for free. “I’ve always done some since I’ve been in practice,” he recounts. In 1995, Paul founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, which provided free eye care for low-income people, “because I wanted to be able to give back to the community.” He did free operations for locals and also for children who had come all the way from Guatemala.
Paul estimates he has done over a hundred pro bono surgeries over the years. In the health-care debate, he remarks, it was overlooked how many doctors already perform free surgeries for those in need. Performing surgery pro bono, Paul insists, “is not unusual for physicians.”
I personally cannot name another politician with such qualities on his resume. Anyone can donate money to a charity but very few can actually make a physical change that will permanently benefit someone for the rest of their lives. Restoring sight for those whose vision has been hampered by various ailments is an accomplishment most individuals would be satisfied with for a lifetime, but Rand feels that he can do more on a larger platform.
Being an eye surgeon by profession gives Rand Paul an upper hand on most critics when it comes to the health care debate. He has seen it all firsthand and has a good idea of what policies help and what policies hinder people from getting the appropriate health care that they need. The candidate with real-world experience is much more knowledgeable than a candidate who can only rely on information from advisors. Now as an elected senator Paul can no longer resume his practice full-time.
“After his election, Paul received unpleasant news: Senators aren’t allowed to hold second jobs except, in some cases, teaching. Since his father had been able to continue practicing as an ob-gyn while in the House, Paul had assumed he could do the same. But Senate and House rules are different, and the Senate Ethics Committee denied Paul’s request to continue his work without receiving a salary (he wanted to continue charging enough to pay his staff and keep up his malpractice insurance).”
They say if you want to find a job that you would be good at, then figure out a career you would be willing to do for free. This seems to be the case with Sen. Paul. While the rules don’t allow him to operate full-time, he still manages to make time to continue giving back to the community he’s given to for years. Many residents of Kentucky are thankful for Sen. Paul for more than just his political decisions. He has given many the ability to live a full life again regardless of political affiliation, though I’m sure he earned a few extra votes in his favor if he makes a presidential push.
Before the surgery, Prince had observed, “If he gets to be president, you know, I can say the president gave me back my sight.” But her thoughts quickly shifted past 2016. “I just think it’s a wonderful thing he’s doing,” she said of Paul. “He’s doing this strictly because he loves people, I guess. He cares about people.”
It’s time we make a push for a candidate whose primary concern is the needs of the people and not their own personal gain. A real-world candidate with real-world experience. A real-world Rand.
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