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It Has to Be Something Collective

Ben_3Ben Bryner -- I've been reading Newsweek's gargantuan seven-part report of the 2008 presidential election campaign, written by five reporters who got unparalleled access to the campaigns in return for embargoing their reports until after November 4th. It's a terrific read, whether last Tuesday went your way or not, and it gives plenty of detailed description and analysis of the McCain, Obama, and Clinton campaigns. I hadn't been following the inside-baseball aspect of the campaigns, so the amount of discord within some of the campaigns was surprising to me.

But the most alarming aspect of the article was this quote from part two:

McCain loved the comparison. He began making guttural pirate noises, punctuating his jokes and one-liners with "Aaarrgh" and occasionally greeting reporters with this oddly cheerful growl.

I know, you’re thinking “I had no idea that McCain was a pirate!” Me neither. I thought I was paying attention during the race, but apparently not. Your reaction is probably one of the following: “I wish I’d voted for him instead of Obama!” or “I’m glad I voted for him, I only wish I’d sent him some more dubloons!” Or maybe you voted for Nader or you don’t care.

I am saddened that America missed a critical opportunity to elect a pirate, as swashbuckling transcends party lines. Who better to deal with the problems we face than a pirate?

OK, maybe there are some more qualified than a pirate to address economic problems. But pirates did develop a primitive form of catastrophic health insurance, so maybe we can learn a few things from them.

Actually, the part of the report I found most interesting was a transcript of a conversation between Obama and one of his advisers. Dismissing the idea that his individual actions would make a difference, he said about any effort that would seriously affect climate change that "It has to be something collective."

Although he was speaking about the environment, certainly the same is true about health care. As plenty of people have noted, our health care system is in trouble and is in need of radical solutions. I think there are some good suggestions out there. What seems most important to me, as Obama said, is that it must involve multiple parties -– in this case patients, providers, insurers are all going to have to work together.

Importantly, too, I think students must be involved in the decision-making process. After all, we’ll certainly feel the effects of these changes. For example, we need to push for debt relief to make it easier for more students to choose primary care or research-based careers. I think most of us in medical school understand that we will need to continue to be involved in the politics of health care issues throughout our careers. If we fail to work collectively (either because some of us don’t do our part and assume someone else will get involved for us, or because we students as a group don’t cooperate with other groups in joint efforts), it’s not going to work. As much as it pains me to admit it, the pirate’s hostile approach to solving problems (pillage, drink some grog, pillage some more, make those who don’t like it walk the plank) is not really what we need.

November 12, 2008 in Ben Bryner | Permalink


a pirate?!LOL
Na Americans took the right choice,cheers for Change!

Posted by: | Nov 20, 2008 10:02:34 AM

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