Governor Larry Hogan announced yesterday that he has cancer. The full extent of his cancer is not known. Governor Hogan stated that while the cancer was "very advanced and very aggressive" it was ultimately treatable.
We spend so much time talking about "humanity in the Internet Age", yet it still is surprising when the subject thrusts itself on the public conversation. In an instant, Governor Hogan went from a man of policy, slogans, budgets, and vetoes, to a husband, father, grandfather, and man. And I believe that is true for both his supporters and detractors alike. I can say from personal experience that candidates are often treated as something other than human. Tired? Frustrated? Elated? Hurt? Keep it to yourself and stay on message. Larry Hogan was as much a symbol as he was a man. Until yesterday.
I don't know how this changes the political conversation, but I know it does. You can't have an entire state wishing you well, as we all do, and also face the same criticism and scrutiny that preexisted diagnosis. The two things just don't mend. Governor Hogan will have the fellowship of hundreds of thousands of people who follow his journey with compassion and hope. And in that experience, Marylanders and people from around the country will benefit from increased awareness and understanding of what it is to fight cancer.
Governor Hogan should not have had to experience cancer to be seen as a human being, but such is our relationship with political leaders. And on the whole that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Scrutiny and criticism are essential to a well-functioning democracy. Those in elected office most certainly do not like that, but they ultimately agree (at least if their being intellectually honest). Criticism and scrutiny will return to Governor Hogan just as we hope his life of relative normalcy returns post-treatment.
Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!