Chiropractic disunity

Chiropractic disunity

Petersen, Donald M Jr

A Lack of Trust or a Lack of Honor?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) situation (please see “Chiropractic Unity Betrayed?” on the front page of this issue) brings several issues to light about the ability of our chiropractic organizations to work together, trust is one of those issues.

The first question that comes to mind is: Why did the Associations of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) feel compelled to require the four organizations (ACC, ACA, ICA, WCA) to sign an agreement stating that each would support the specific “language” for the Chiropractic Advisory Committee?

While the answer is obvious (a lack of trust), it underscores the basic deficit that is holding the chiropractic profession down politically. The ACC didn’t feel comfortable taking their “word” for it. The ACC wanted it in writing, but even that failed.

Politics can be a very dirty game, but there is a certain amount of trust and honor among those who play that game. If you break your word, people remember and treat you accordingly.

There has to be a balance between goals and morals. Any group or person willing to do anything to reach a goal, is on the same level as a prostitute or terrorist, in that they have dismissed their sense of honor in favor of their agenda.

Descent into Shortsightedness and Self-Centeredness

It is always refreshing to talk with chiropractic students. They lack most of the prejudices and ulterior motives that seem to seep into the minds and actions of some in our profession. To them, the issues are simpler: If it’s good for the chiropractic profession, they’ll support it.

“Good for the chiropractic profession” is the motive most DCs begin with. But depending on whom you are and where you want to get politically, you are in danger of descending into a pit of self-centeredness and shortsightedness. The process is a gradual one, where each step down is supported by rationalization and rewarded by a certain level of success. The descent is based upon changes in your primary decision-making criteria: Good for the Entire

Chiropractic Profession

Good for Our Organization’s Members

Good for My Organization

Good for Me

Unfortunately, sometimes the DCs considered the best candidates for leadership are the ones willing to put their organization ahead of the chiropractic profession, and even that organization’s members.

Leaders who place their own agendas or that of the organization ahead of the profession bring their own consequences. Spend a few moments asking “former” members of a chiropractic organization why they no longer belong, and you will discover that many were driven off by a “win at all cost” mentality that pitted leaders within that organization against one another.

There is a reason why approximately 50,000 U.S. doctors of chiropractic (out of approximately 60,000) don’t belong to any national organization.

The Means ARE the End

Would you lie to protect the chiropractic profession? If so, does that make you a chiropractic hero, or a har?

Too often we forget that what we do is who we are. People willing to do anything to push their own agendas end up sacrificing their character, and the qualities that caused people to support them in the first place. They ultimately replace leadership skills with ruthless ambition to prosper and further their organizations.

Leaders may retain their titles, but their support will be lost and their organizations will eventually flounder and lose members. Those leaders are destined for a very humbling experience when they finally reach a point where they can no longer find anyone who will trust them or work with them.

Our Future Hope?

Our profession has four national organizations competing in the national legislative arena. They are competing against those who want to keep chiropractic out, and sometimes against one another. An agreement was made between them. Two of the organizations believe the agreement was broken; two of the organizations believe that it wasn’t.

What kind of unified action can we expect in the future? Based on discussions with all of the parties, the criteria for future unified action may look something like this:

1. One chiropractic organization will only work with another if it thinks the other organization can sabotage what it is trying to accomplish. Other than that, it will be tempted to work alone or only with organizations for which it shares a high degree of trust.

2. A chiropractic organization will only consider working with another if it believes there is some realistic possibility that a reliable agreement can be reached by the two parties.

3. That agreement will now be very detailed and very specific, so that the party who violates the agreement can be clearly exposed to the rest of the profession.

This is truly a sad state of affairs, but without trust and honor among the organizations, it is inevitable.

Editor’s note: Each chiropractic organization will undoubtedly refer to this article and either claim it supports their side or complain it criticizes their actions. This is not about who was right or who was wrong. This is an effort to clarify the qualities needed for united effort with the hope that they will be considered, as all chiropractic organizations attempt to work for the good of all doctors of chiropractic, not just themselves or their own members. DMP Jr.


Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD (hc), FICC(h) Editor / Publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic

Copyright Dynamic Chiropractic Apr 22, 2002

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