Health knowledge made personal
Join this community!
› Share page:
Go
Search posts:

“Is This All There is” One Senator Announced His Retirement at Age 54 – A Culture of Nonparticipation (Opinion

Posted Apr 30 2010 11:23am

The article here addresses much of the political feelings and goings on in Congress, but for my little post here, I’m going use a simple analogy here, lack of participation and growing with the times.  I think visuals speak much stronger than words and being a “geek” here I have found that I can save a lot of time and image words with the use of visuals.  We have an emerging world of technology that can’t be overlooked and to be successful, everyone needs to read up and participate at some levels, at least the basics.  This week I watched and listened to part of the Senate hearings with Goldman Sachs and speaking of visuals, what did I see, a whole bunch of non participants in technology, broadcast on national TV. 

Take a look at the CEO from Goldman Sachs below, look at those huge binders of paper and not once, but many times throughout the hearing we had to stop and wait and watch him stumbled through the mounds of paper to get on course to answer questions being posed on specific matters being questioned.  I’m not going to comment there with this post and that’s better left to another separate post and I have a few of those here on this blog too. 

In looking at the visuals I saw by watching this week, the message to me anyway was loud and clear, “it’s ok to keep those 8 track tapes around, we still use them” (grin), but the reality of the matter is how many others still use them and what is the future with having devices that can work with them?  I am making an analogy here with the lack of technology and participation at all levels of our society.  We want and are pushing for digital health records so what’s wrong with the rest of the world buying in here and creating some real role models, as we have very few.  It’s always the attitude of “its for those guys over there” that seems to prevail. 

Goldman/Senate today - Look at the paper - we need some digit... on Twitpic

You would have to be “living under a rock” today to not know that digital content is everywhere and this includes saving trees and using devices such as IPads, Tablet PCs, IPhones, Kindles, and so on to read digital material.  Why is this so popular, it is technology that makes the process easier for us and saves time when one can simple put in a keyword and find what you are looking for almost instantly.  Based on sales of such devices, I don’t I’m wrong here (grin).  image

I had a few doctors too that use tablet pcs and mobile devices that “liked” the idea of seeing our leaders using the technology too that took time to add some positives comments!

(I use tablets and have since they came out, so just for the record I have a section on this blog about tablets and use mine all the time, so just wanted to take a minute and clarify this so as not to be confused with someone just repeating what they read in the news and on the web.)

So I ask the question of why can’t “they” do this?  In my small estimation seeing the visual on national TV says it’s ok to keep those “8’tracks” around and we are certainly going to keep ours?  There’s a whole new brave world outside of the “8’track” era and it could certainly help to have some role models move over into the area of participation to show citizens that this is the way the world has and is changing.  If you want to maintain and grow constituent confidence, this is certainly not the visual I feel is what is going to do the trick.   

These are the same folks that vote on healthcare reform which is all about technology and furthering both the care and budgeting side of the issues.  Sometimes I wonder what Medicare and other agencies who have invested in upgrading their technology think about some of this too. What gives here?  If we don’t participate and become role models at some point in time we come back to “is that all there is”.  I think the one comment made in this article kind of sums it up a bit:

“So why doesn't Congress work? The simplest answer is that the country has changed, and Congress has not changed alongside it.”

There are more retiring as I wrote in the post above so Senator Bayh is not alone.  We have a lot of data and material to read and absorb today in order to hopefully make the right educated and information based decisions and that is not found on an 8 track tape.  Congress is not the only area experiencing those hanging on to their 8 track tapes, it’s happening in the lobbying effort areas and with private companies.  image

What Happens When Transparency Makes Lobbying Too Difficult – They Retire Just Like Many Executives Do

The pharmaceutical companies can’t keep up with the amount of anti-depressants needed to help us all out either, as this is flat out depressing (grin).   It can certainly stand to increase their sales, but all kidding aside here with the above comment this is not the answer we need.  Shoot their lobbyists are retiring too.

Everyday we see new breakthroughs with healthcare and technology and this is “new normal” like it or not.  By writing this blog I am cognizant of that fact alone.  Aside from the political arena here, I just see this lack of clinging to old methodologies as one of the biggest stumbling blocks that greatly hinders progress and again when I have the visual in my face, I feel I need to perhaps bring this to light for an awareness so maybe others might comprehend what we have going on here.  How important is technology here, well Citigroup put out a press release on their new “algorithms” to compete with Goldman, it’s all about those algos if you will, and algorithms are what is used with digital and internet technology today, so again if you use this stuff, you kind of get the picture here.  Let me ask this question, what if all the brokers had big binders of stock information to fish through to advice their investors?  Yeah, fat chance as that’s not the system that works today and that comment in itself should have brought a few chuckles here (grin). 

Anyway, in closing, my feelings are that it would certainly be a welcome experience to see our leaders embrace and use new technology as that’s what happening all image around us and be good role models to show the rest of the world that we are participating and not hanging on to 8-tracks, healthcare certainly isn’t and needs funding and leadership backing to create successful healthcare reform.  As I say all the time at this blog, “there’s nothing like first hand experience to enhance your curiosity and education processes”. 

Bill Gates  mentioned the effect of the “hybrid” individuals at his address at Berkeley with having the brightest minds working on the most important problems , those are hopefully the ones that will end up in leadership roles as they have and practice knowledge and experience in more than one area, and that’s the world we live in today.  Mr. Gates too is more than just a smart man, he calls himself an “optimist” and is constantly looking forward to what technology can do, and the link below is a good example, a company that can use technology to generate and create new drugs that can either serve as vaccines or cures with virtual technology with research and development.  In a virtual environment this can create safer work spaces too for scientists with not having to deal with some of the actual “live” created viruses and bacteria needed to study to create new drugs, a virtual virus or bacteria let’s face it could offer some real advantages here with development.  The recent case with the Pfizer scientist comes to mind here with being exposed to certain biotech bacteria and substances.

If there is not a consensus, even the individuals trying to make a difference will give up eventually and throw in the towel out of frustration with the inability to make progress.  BD 

So why doesn't Congress work? The simplest answer is that the country has changed, and Congress has not changed alongside it. Congress used to function despite its extraordinary minority protections because the two parties were ideologically diverse. Democrats used to provide a home to the Southern conservatives known as the Dixiecrats. The GOP used to include a bloc of liberals from the Northeast. With the parties internally divided and different blocs arising in shifting coalitions, it wasn't possible for one party to pursue a strategy of perpetual obstruction. But the parties have become ideologically coherent, leaving little room for cooperation and creating new incentives for minority obstruction. image

There was no scandal. Bayh wasn't plagued by poor fundraising or low poll numbers. Nor is fatigue a likely explanation: at 54, Bayh is fairly young, at least when you're grading on the curve that is the United States Senate.

What drove Bayh from office, rather, was that he'd grown to hate his job. Congress, he wrote in a New York Times op-ed, is "stuck in an endless cycle of recrimination and revenge. The minority seeks to frustrate the majority, and when the majority is displaced it returns the favor. Power is constantly sought through the use of means which render its effective use, once acquired, impossible."

Congress has managed to pass a lot of legislation, and some of it has been historic. But our financial system is not fixed and our health-care problems are not solved. Indeed, when it comes to the toughest decisions Congress must make, our representatives have passed them off to some other body or some future generation.

As for foreign policy and national security, Congress has so abdicated its role over war and diplomacy that Garry Wills, in his new book, Bomb Power , says that we've been left with an "American monarch," which is only slightly scarier-sounding than the "unitary executive" theory that the Bush administration advocated and implemented.

So why doesn't Congress work? The simplest answer is that the country has changed, and Congress has not changed alongside it. Congress used to function despite its extraordinary minority protections because the two parties were ideologically diverse. Democrats used to provide a home to the Southern conservatives known as the Dixiecrats. The GOP used to include a bloc of liberals from the Northeast. With the parties internally divided and different blocs arising in shifting coalitions, it wasn't possible for one party to pursue a strategy of perpetual obstruction. But the parties have become ideologically coherent, leaving little room for cooperation and creating new incentives for minority obstruction.

Post a comment
Write a comment: