Civil Discourse and Blogging


Eighteen months ago, I wrote a post about chiropractic. I said it’s a scam and has no business being included in an insurance program or wellness program.

I stand by that post . . . . but it changed my life. Friends stopped talking to me. Several chiropractors sent hate mail. Someone listed my name and contact information on a chiropractor forum. One “doctor” was pretty aggressive until I tapped into my internet sourcing skills and found out where his daughter went to school and threatened to show up and have a conversation in the car pool lane of the academy. And one of my family members wrote a not-so-anonymous comment that was pretty harsh and hurt my feelings.

Oh well. Jesus. Blogging. None of that was fun.

But something nice also happened. Not a week goes by when I don’t get a letter from a really nice and thoughtful chiropractor who wants to educate me. It goes something like this.

A friend just alerted me to your post from January 2012. I’m wondering if you’re open to a conversation about the chiropractic part of the post?

Here are a couple of things that it might help to know about me: I’ve been a practicing doctor of chiropractic for nearly 24 years. I stopped playing the insurance game about 8 years ago — my patients pay at the time of services rendered. I recognize that there are members of my profession who make it very difficult for outsiders to take us seriously.

I would be interested to know from where or whom you got your education about chiropractic. Your online reach seems fairly extensive, and I find I’m unable to let your inaccuracies pass without at least an attempt at some civil discourse about what’s actually true.

I promise for my part. No bad language, no half-truths, no theories disguised as facts. Are you game?

That is a nice note. Very measured. Although I am not game and I don’t want to have a conversation about chiropractic, I appreciate the reasonable outreach. And it’s a really great example of how to approach a blogger. (Don’t scare her.)

After I declined to talk about this issue in any format, the new chiropractor persisted — but in a pretty decent way.

I’m asking if you’re open to learning a few things on a topic about which you are painfully misinformed. No disrespect intended but it wouldn’t be such a big deal if you weren’t representing your mistaken opinions as truth to a bunch of people who might not know better and look to you for your “expertise.” You’ve clearly read a bunch of stuff on the anti-chiropractic websites and blogs without balancing it out with some of the pro-chiropractic stuff. I can produce anecdotes as well as research about the effectiveness of the work I do……. and, no, I’m not in denial about the fact that there are practitioners out there doing it badly — just like there are terrible medical doctors practicing badly. You’ve painted me and my profession with a broad and inaccurate brush. Are you willing to allow yourself to be educated on this subject?

Not bad. Not bad at all. And I get it. People who disagree with us are often painfully misinformed, aren’t they? I feel that way about Dick Cheney.

But am I willing to be “educated” on chiropractic by a chiropractor? No. Not even a nice one. With NSA wiretapping and drone strikes, I have other things on my mind.  I am glad this reader is passionate and loves her job, but I’m happier that she is willing to let it go.

I did some further research and now see that I’m about a year and a half late to this rodeo. So, even though I sure would like to know what the back story on this is, I can see that I’ll be forced to let it go. Too bad. I spent some time reading other posts on your blog, and it seems like we share lots of similar opinions on all kinds of other topics. We might be friends…….except for all that you-thinking-my-life’s-work-is-a-crock and all. Good luck.

I work in Human Resources. Everybody thinks my life’s work is a crock, too.

I like the tone of these letters. I wanted to share this exchange because I am 100% sure that this chiropractor and I will never same perspective; however, it is possible for the two of us to engage in a civil discussion and move forward.

If I can do it, you can do it.

Also, please be kinder to one another online.

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