Seriously? Literally?

Seriously? Literally?


Leonard Zwelling

“This is the problem with the media,” says Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.

“You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally.

“The American people didn’t. They understood it.”

         This was reiterated by a panelist on Meet the Press Sunday who said the press took Trump literally, but not seriously. The American people took Trump seriously and not literally.

         That just about sums it up.

         The objective media mavens actually believed what Trump said. The people were not so confused. They heard what they wanted: change in Washington, anti-immigrant rhetoric, anti-Muslim slurs and anti-African American innuendo. The Access Hollywood tape made it abundantly clear what Mr. Trump thought of women, yet 53% of white women voted for him anyway. What? They could read between the lines on the videotape, I guess.

Those silly press people! Why did they believe what the president-elect actually said?

It appears that the Mainland Chinese didn’t as they are largely ignoring the break in protocol promulgated by Mr. Trump in his talking to the President of Taiwan.

         So clearly now, we have to interpret what the new President will start saying in January once inaugurated, but not believe the actual words. Hmmm…that’s comforting. If Mr. Trump asks you to “ask not what your country can do for you” on January 20, go ahead and ask. But if you aren’t a billionaire owner of a large employer of middle-class workers don’t expect much.

         This is obviously also the case with President DePinho. We should have known that when he said he was going to cure cancer in five years this was only a metaphor for spending enough money to cure cancer without necessarily doing so. I am not sure what to make of his admission that MD Anderson’s income statement looks lousy, but its balance sheet is strong. How does that work exactly, because, finally the media is taking notice of the deficits?

         Local news is now reporting that the possibility of layoffs at Anderson is being considered although there has been no notification to the Texas Workforce Commission that such layoffs are coming. What is one to believe? Well, a maybe is a maybe and that will give no one at Anderson any solace as the holiday season approaches.

         Once again, the faculty and staff of Anderson are being asked to sacrifice as the leadership of the institution requests enormous layouts of clinical revenue dollars from the Board of Regents to cover the cost of research and consultants. Doesn’t Anderson pay enough people? Do they really need outside help? For what? What is one to believe? Literally? Seriously?

I am not sure that one can take the leadership of Anderson literally or seriously.

         I actually believe that leaders should be taken both literally and seriously. That neither Mr. Trump nor Dr. DePinho can be is a shame, but not a surprise.

         It appears that leadership in America is no longer about vision and will and the ability to articulate both. Rather it appears to be about revving up a crowd or firing the opposition before that opposition has had a chance to make the valuable contributions that are often made by those who do not agree with us.

         The main reason the ACA may be repealed is that it was passed without a single Republican vote. Now that the GOP has the White House and both houses of Congress, of course, it will exercise its prerogative to overturn a law it hated from the beginning and whose positive consequences have been so sporadic and only appreciated by a vast minority of Americans.

         Our leaders at all levels must be believed and believable. Mr. Trump and Dr. DePinho simply are not. To be believed, each will have to accomplish something of meaning to the people they lead. Dr. DePinho still hasn’t, five years into his run. The jury is out on Trump. We shall see.

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