Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Politicians threaten public health

This year, I have been sick twice with bugs presumably caught from shaking hands with politicians (I won’t go into the gory details, but there is a high likelihood of the source, given my hand-shaking activities in the days preceding the development of symptoms). I’ve also heard that a number of candidates in the current election have come down with illness, too.

So, I’m putting a call-out to politicians, political hacks like myself, and the public at large, to try to practice safer politicking. Let’s try to reduce the social pressure to always shake hands and instead accept alternatives that are less likely to spread contagion. A couple I can think of are the “fist-bump” and the Japanese-inspired head-nod.

This is going to need to be led by those of us not running for office since a politician who won’t shake hands in the current social environment could be seen negatively — potentially hurting their campaign. It’s up to us to offer a head-nod or fist for bumping to any politicians we meet on the campaign trail, instead of the usual proffering of a hand to be shaken. The politicians, in turn, can be encouraged to thank the hand-shake-avoiding person for taking public health into consideration.

That doesn’t leave the politicians without responsibility — you can be more pro-active in applying hand-sanitizer, washing your hands frequently, or other measures at your disposal. Braver politicians might also consider being not quite so quick to offer a hand-shake — leaving an opportunity for safer approaches.

(A special note of thanks to candidate Gian-Carlo Carra for taking the initiative to offer me a fist-bump instead of hand-shake at a recent political event.)

Together, we can all curtail the spread of biological contagion!


Drhaggis said...

This is one of the main reasons I don't lick politicians, or allow politicians to lick me.

Unknown said...

Oh, Drhaggis. Surely there are many other, even more important, reasons for the general reluctance of most of us to engage in politician-licking. Surely.

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