Perception or Reality? Verdict or Cure?

doctor lawyer 1  By QMC, USN (Ret)

I’m not sure why Waylon thinks that people shouldn’t become cowboys, particularly since those folks would seem to me to be more likely to buy his records than most doctors and lawyers would. And I, being the sort that occasionally enjoys a good hamburger, always thought that cowboys were members of an honorable profession, and provided a vital service. Maybe he believes that mamas should be concerned that if their babies don’t pursue the proper career path, they can never grow up to be the President of the United States.

There is certainly no shortage of lawyers who have grown up to be President, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of any physicians who have. But this election cycle, there are a couple of them who are in the running for the Republican nomination for that office. As of this writing, one, eye-surgeon turned politician Rand Paul, appears to be destined to soon throw in the towel and concentrate on being re-elected to the Senate. But the other, neurosurgeon and nonpolitician Ben Carson, is at or near the top of the heap. So, naturally, the question is raised: Does he have what it takes to be the President? While I’m not endorsing anyone at this time, I contend that a doctor is better suited to the job than is a lawyer.

Simple Fact of Life: Different jobs require a different mindsets.

The President is required to deal with a broad range of serious issues that require serious actions to achieve results that are in the nation’s best interest.

Doctors deal in reality. Lawyers deal in perception. Successful doctors have the mindset of an engineer. Successful lawyers have the mindset of a salesman.

When a person is severely injured, has cancer, or has some other serious medical condition, convincing him that he feels just fine generally won’t cut it. The doctor needs to diagnose the problem, and come up with a realistic solution to it. Cherry-picking statistics about cure rates doesn’t do anything for the suffering patient. It’s not about perception, it’s about reality.

For lawyers, on the other hand, reality is totally irrelevant. Perception is the only thing that matters. If you can convince people that something is true, you have done your job. The best example of this mindset that I can think of is the O.J. Simpson case.

For those who are too young to remember, or who spent the mid-’90’s stranded on an island having deep discussions with a volleyball named Wilson, I’ll briefly summarize the case that was “The trial of the century.”url

O.J.’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, were found stabbed to death at her Los Angeles home. O.J. was accused of murder, and hired a legal dream-team to defend him. The trial, as I recall, lasted over a year, and became something of a circus. Probably the most significant moment came when the prosecution asked Simpson to try on a glove that they insisted had been worn by the killer, in order to show that it fit him. It didn’t. When the case went to the jury, after months of testimony,  it took them only three hours to find him not guilty.

After the verdict, the Goldman and Brown families filed a civil suit against Simpson for wrongful death. In a much shorter, and less sensational trial, with a different judge, jury, legal team, and perhaps most importantly, a different standard of proof, O.J. was found to be responsible for the two deaths, and ordered to pay a large financial penalty.

Since Nicole and Ronald were clearly murdered, and it was never suggested that O.J. conspired with anyone to kill them, obviously one of those juries got it wrong. If he was not guilty of murder, how could he be responsible for their deaths?

So who was right? The answer is, in a world of lawyers, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that does matter is which attorneys were able to sell the story, create the perception, that would win their case. And this is what we see in a government that is run by a lawyer. Unemployment numbers too high? Change the way that we count who’s unemployed. War not going well? Redefine victory. Not really solving any problems? Declare that they’re not problems, and find other “problems” to focus on. Ignore reality. Create perceptions.

This is the reason that I’m suggesting that it might be time to have someone with a medical, as opposed to legal, mindset in the White House.Reagan-in-Cowboy-Hat-Evans-194x300

Or, instead of a doctor or a lawyer, maybe we should have a cowboy. We could do a lot worse.