Does Bernie Explain Ron?
Bad Capitalism, Bad Leadership: The Young Have Grown Accustomed to Both
Many of us old timers at MD Anderson cannot understand how a
President can do so many silly, wrong and potentially illegal and surely unethical
things, and retain his position. I used to be in that camp. I am not any longer
because Bernie Sanders has made me understand why Dr. DePinho has lasted as
long as he has. To be honest, it was Peggy Noonan’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, January
30 that brought me to my senses.
called it “Socialism Gets a Second Life” and she cleverly outlines how the
philosophy of wealth redistribution, communitarianism and government supported
health care and college tuition is resonating with the young Americans who
support the Bern.
Essentially it is that they know no good capitalism. They
see the mortgage market collapse of 2008 and the gross income inequity and lack
of penalties paid by the crooks that followed as well as ever increasing
tuition, loan payments, and the lack of affordability of health insurance
beyond the age of 26 when they can piggyback on the premiums of their parents,
as the products of market-based capitalism and the need to try something else.
Thus, they support the Bern and his message of wealth redistribution and
college and health care as rights not privileges. If you don’t get this, you
won’t get why Bernie is doing so well. It is the counterweight to the Donald.
Trump’s supporters see the same failure of capitalism and blame it on the
government. (This is not entirely wrong as it was the lifting of Glass-Steagall
and the asleep at the wheel federal regulators that assisted the Wall Street crowd
with its greed and corruption.) Mr. Sanders’ support comes from those who still
believe government can be a vehicle for positive change and Wall Street as the
culprit for their problems. Trump actually also believes in an activist federal
government except his administration will be forcing Mexicans to build walls and
killing every ISIS fighter from Iraq to California.
What the heck has this to do with MD Anderson?
The majority of those faculty members who have come to
Anderson since 2011 or who have benefitted from the presence of MoonShot Ron
and signed up as FORDs (Friends of Ron DePinho) see the world as a wonderful
place. Captain Ron is leading us to victory over cancer and even President
Obama has stolen DePinho’s signature metaphor of the moonshot to fuel yet
another silly government spending program of big science and small thought. The
older faculty, say the FORDs, and the Faculty Senate who bitch at conditions on
the ground in the clinics and labs, simply aren’t facile at modern cancer care
and are dated in their views of the relationship between the leadership of the
faculty and the faculty itself. So just like the Trumpeters and the SandBerns,
the young of MD Anderson see the old ways of merit-based promotion, lack of
conflicts of interest in science, and interpersonal civility as the ways of the
old that have not benefitted them to the same extent that the current Darwinian
Anderson has. (See The Origin of the
Species or Lord of the Flies.)
Check in with your young colleagues. I recently did with one
of my former students and she’s doing great under the current Anderson regime.
She is no more interested in returning to the old Anderson than the Bernie
folks are to full-blown capitalism or the Trumpites are to the current
If you are on Twitter, you may well be for Trump, Rubio
(young) or the Bern. If you are on twitter you may well think all is well with
Anderson and EPIC will only be an improvement. If my analogy holds true and the
Chancellor continues to trip over himself trying to do a job for which he has
no qualifications (I mean really, killing Osama does not equip you for dealing
with the Regents or the Legislature let alone Apollo Ron), I suspect we will
have Ron to kick around for many years to come. Oy!
In Oriental cultures, elders are revered for their wisdom.
They are respected for their experience. Their guidance is sought.
In modern America, the opposite is true. The young know best
and will tweet you what you need to know. (Unless you are the Bern and are
handing out free tuition.) The Donald is counting on them. The Bern is counting
on them. So far, from what I see, I hope patients aren’t counting on them and I
have been one of those patients examined without having undressed while the young
doctor was massaging a laptop on her lap. LOL! TMI? OMG!