There Is Much For The MD Anderson Faculty To Consider

By

Leonard Zwelling

Any thoughtful American is deep in thought these days. Everyone is trying to make sense of a world gone mad. Crises are being provoked on the Korean Peninsula simply because a bad actor has done exactly what he and his family have been saying they would do for 25 years while the west stood around and waited for him to do it.

Kim Jong Un is just the latest North Korean scion of his family to threaten the South and the surrounding free world with nuclear weapons. He distinguished himself from his father and grandfather by actually accomplishing the acquisition of a nuclear arsenal that seems able to reach the continental US or certainly our allies and territories in the Pacific. Now what do we do?

Hindsight is always 20-20 and there can be no doubt that successive American regimes have failed in denying Kim his new toys. Even the pitches to China fell on deaf ears although the Chinese have said that if Kim starts the war with the west, he is on his own. That should be all that President Trump and his generals du jour need to know. Now is the time for silence. Neither threaten, telegraph, nor in any way hint at what America’s next move is to be. It is likely that we will not be toe-to-toe with China if we keep our powder dry unless provoked.

On the domestic scene, the latest news from the White House with regard to its tolerance of bigotry is not good. Bannon still has a job and the alt right still has a sympathetic ear in the Oval Office.

But it is not really as simple as all that as Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal notes.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hurrah-for-the-aclu-1502751069

https://www.wsj.com/articles/dont-even-think-about-being-evil-1502750235

These two opinion pieces make it clear that knowing exactly what to think about the events in Charlottesville is not as easy as condemning the Nazis.

First off, like it or not, Nazis have rights, too.

Second, the knee jerk liberalism that surely is plaguing American campuses has now spread to the corporate world as events at Google surely make clear. James Damore’s firing at Google for writing a lengthy opinion about the company’s hiring practices when it came to women probably should not have been shared on the company’s email, but that doesn’t make it wrong and expressing an opinion, even one antithetical to that of the CEO should not be cause for dismissal. But if some people find it offensive, such speech can be deadly to a budding career apparently.

That brings me to MD Anderson where up until March, objecting to the party line of the president was most definitely bad for one’s career, especially if one was a faculty leader. Those who were willing to subjugate what they knew was good for the faculty in order to personally rise to higher office have been found wanting by the new, temporary leadership and sent packing—as they should have been in March. There are still many denizens of the niches within the DePinho residual empire that ought to be asked to forego their big salaries and sent on their ways as well, but it appears as if that will be for the new president to accomplish.

Whoever the new leader of MD Anderson is, that person should not be given a free pass with regard to what he or she says or does. If it is wrong, it is the obligation of the faculty to stand up and say so. It was the silence of that faculty when the new president aimed at the moon to cure cancer that allowed the DePinho cult to take hold of the place and required six years to expunge and then I only think he was ousted because he lost so much money, not because he was so wrong-headed in his approach to the cancer problem.

The faculty gets another shot. Let’s hope that clear thinking and well-considered action prevail. Do not be like Trump vis a vis Korea and white nationalism. Allow the new president to be wrong and then try to correct him or her civilly, but with determination and honest concern for the well-being of the patients and the institution.

Leonard Zwelling