John McCain is a skin cancer magnet. And we are the ones at risk. I want to disclose right away that I have very strong feelings on this subject. I have a history. I grew up in Miami Beach before anyone knew the sun wasn't good for you. As a result, I had my first basal cell skin cancer before I was 30. I had a second one three months ago. It's not pretty. But basal cell skin cancer couldn't kill me even if it wanted to. And it's not why I have such strong feelings.
That's due to the tragic story of my mother -- who died when she was 41 -- of malignant melanoma. And now my strong feelings about my mother are merging with strong feelings about this election...making it almost impossible to type fast enough to keep up with the intensity of emotion flowing from my brain to my fingers on the keyboard.
Since I am emotional about this issue, I took the time to do a little research about McCain and melanoma. Except the more I read, the more upset I get. I am convinced that John McCain is as dangerous for America as malignant melanoma is dangerous for him.
Basal cell skin cancer, the kind I had, is the most common -- and least dangerous -- type of skin cancer. If you have to get cancer, that would be at the top of the list. Malignant melanoma is on the other end of the list -- the kind you do not want. John McCain has had both. The best type -- the worst type -- and the type in between.
McCain had malignant melanoma not once, which is scary enough, but four times. I don't presume to be an expert but let's just say there is a reasonable chance that McCain could develop cancer again -- in the next four years. Leaving aside where that leaves us as Americans -- i.e. with President Palin -- we don't really know everything we should about the risks, and details of John McCain's medical status. Why not? We don't know because he has never publicly released the last 8 years of his medical records.
Americans expect and assume that our president would be -- and should be -- open about his health. Yet a 72-year-old man -- seeking the most stressful and important job in the world -- who has a very high risk and questionable health history -- has left dangling some troubling questions. And it seems that very few people are pushing for the answers.
I just signed a petition on the internet, urging McCain to release his medical records. I signed even though it offends me that there is a need for a petition to force a man running for president to do the right thing. I signed even though I think it was a waste of my time.
Because McCain is stonewalling. Very successfully. For a man of honor (and I believe he was a man of honor) he seems to have sold his soul to get into the White House. If he is willing to blatantly lie about Sarah Palin's record, and his own ads, then you have to wonder whether he is willing to lie about his health.
I'm not wondering. I assume McCain has something to hide. But he's already too far down the road to back up. And I am equally angry with the press -- for letting him get away with it.
Last spring, the McCain campaign allowed a few selected members of the media to come into a room and look through the last eight years of his medical records. They were given a pretty rigid -- and ridiculous -- time frame: 1200 pages in three hours. And there was yet another catch -- no phones, no cameras, no computers, no copy any records. And that's it -- the end of the story on John McCain's health.
In an election with so much at stake, why isn't "the press" pressing John McCain on this issue? Pressing hard? Admittedly I'm emotional, but it's possible that what we have here is a "cover up."
How ironic and appropriate. A cover up -- just what McCain should use every time he steps outside -- to shield himself from the sun. Instead, he is shielding us from the truth. And this is at the core of why I am so emotional -- because my parents did the same thing to me.
Things were different when my mother had melanoma in the sixties. Cancer was such a forbidden subject that even the very word "cancer" was rarely spoken aloud, and only then in a hushed whisper. With regard to my mother's illness, I never heard cancer mentioned at all.
With the best intentions, to shield their three children, my parents covered up the truth. They never told us my mother had malignant melanoma -- and that she would die from it. We never found out the medical details -- until after she died, years later. And by keeping her medical condition a secret, my parents ended up hurting their children.
I think that John McCain, like my parents, knows more than he's telling. Hopefully his story is not tragic, like my mother's was. But just as I fault my parents, I fault John McCain -- for keeping any secrets about his medical condition. Because I've been there. And I believe that unless he comes clean now with the whole truth, he could end up hurting all of us.
Follow Darryle Pollack on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DarryleP