The Cycle | February 27, 2013
>>> he's a frightening individual. for someone to describe his opponents, those who hold opposing points of view, as depraved people. i don't find the man the kind of person i'd like to see in a position of high authority in this country.
>> judged from the reaction on the left when ronald reagan announced his choice for surgeon general 32 years ago, you would have thought the man he chose had a horn and tail. c. everett koop had been the chief of surgery at children's hospital in philadelphia where he pioneered revolutionary techniques that saved countless lives. he was also a christian. democrats roared in protest and spent months fighting his nomination. reagan had been lektsed with a major assist from the right. and koop opposed that liberals believed the new president wants to take the country. the nomination is a disservice not only to the public health service and the public itself, but also to dr. koop . he is being honored for the most cynical of reasons. not for his medical skills but for his political compatibility, "new york times" wrote. but koop 's opponents didn't really know him. scene reagan didn't either. he was also a man of science and immense integrity. when he was finally confirmed in 1981 , koop said in the process becoming the most consequential surgeon general in the nation's history. smoking was one of his first crusades. the tobacco companies and allies in congress denied it but the evidence was overwhelming. koop had little official power but he had a big platform and he used it fearlessly. issuing blunt reports on the fatality of cigarettes and the danger of second hand smoke. and barn storming the country to urge americans to change their habits. jesse helms , one of the conservatives who championed his nomination turned on him. the governor of north carolina screamed for his impeachment. it all made koop 's boss in the white house uncomfortable. but the smoking rate went down. as the death rate spiked in the mystery deepened, the president and his administration said little and did even less. except for dr. koop who saw aids not as a niche concern of gay men, a constituency of reagan 's base was hostile to. but as the public health crisis it was. it is time, dr. koop said, to put self-defeating attitudes aside and recognize that we're fighting a disease. not people. it enraged the right. the aids epidemic was only gets worse he said. while abstinence was the only way to stop it, those who opted for safe sexual activity was essential. finally a way to tilt the debate back in their favor. but koop did his study and reported back with words that disappointed the president and his supporters. i regret, mr. president, that in spite of a diligent review on the part of many, the study does not provide conclusive data about the health efbts of abortion on women. c. everett koop left office just as opposed to abortion as he had been when he entered office. but his personal moral views never clouded his judgment or his commitment to public health . he was and still is a model surgeon general and his legacy is a reminder that sometimes the worst thing you can do is judge a book by its cover. okay.