Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Pigs Can't Fly-Patterns in the Clouds

One of the things that I try to do is see patterns in the world around me. Maybe some of them aren't accurate (that cloud looks like a pig with wings) but I think that sometimes I'm hitting pretty close to the truth.

I was listening to NPR this morning on the way to work and they were discussing a report that says that as far as national healthcare, people thought that aspects of it were good (electronic records, etc.) but that they did not want the decisions for their individual care taken away from their doctors and given to an appointed federal government panel. This struck me as being symbolic of the federal government sovereignty versus state sovereignty.

I have lived in many places around the country and one thing that I have noticed is that each locality has its own social structure and norms, language, idioms. I have often thought as I tried to adapt to my new surroundings that it would be almost impossible for an overarching body to have an understanding of the particulars of a state--its norms and needs. That is why our Founding Fathers created the House of Representatives, so that the individual ideologies of a place would be heard in a larger forum.

The problem is that the representatives no longer spend any time in the place that elects them--they are brought into the circle of Washington DC and so lose their touch with their state and locality--they adapt to the social structures and norms of DC and disconnect from their place of origin. I have long contended that our elected Representatives are no longer, well, representing and I feel that their disconnection from their constituency is why. So what happens is a groupthink and the individualism of the states is no longer brought into the discussions that happen on Capital Hill. It is similar to what has happened with the mainstream media--there is groupthink on either coast and the rest of the country (where I live) is referred to as 'flyover country' and so is discounted and those voices are not heard.

This is why increased federal power over the states is doomed to failure and why the Tea Parties have started and why people are beginning to speak out against larger federal powers. In Washington DC there is no longer any connection to the country as a whole. This is just like a panel sitting in an Ivory Tower that has no personal knowledge or connection to a patient or that patient's individual needs. Neither system can be good for the people or a patient because they are being forced to adapt to a system that, due to its large size, cannot and does not take into account the norms and needs of those of us in flyover country.

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