Disquiet And Quiet

Disquiet And Quiet


Leonard Zwelling


Once again I turn to Peggy Noonan to dissect the mood of America. It is one of disquiet. As she points out, a first term list of accomplishment like a tax cut bill and a new member of the Supreme Court aligned with the sentiments of those who put him in office, should have translated into a 60% approval rating for President Trump. His is under 40%. Why?

He was elected to change things, shake them up. Washington had become complacent and viewed as inept and useless, especially Congress. For the most part it still is.

And with good reason. Mr. Obama had appeared to placate our enemies abroad and give succor to some at home (Russians in our voting booths). We were in two unwinnable wars with more breaking out constantly. Health care was still a mess despite the putative singular achievement of the Dems and the guns were still an unsolved dilemma.

Enter Mr. Trump with promises to do it differently and better than had ever been done before.

Not exactly.

There has been constant turmoil in the White House itself. He is an inveterate liar and for the most part really hasn’t solved any problem of importance at all from North Korea to infrastructure. But it is early yet.

The bigger problem is the seeming arbitrariness of his decisions and the inconstancy of those around him, not to mention the fact that several may be heading for jail.

This has created disquiet among the great swath that is Middle America. These are the very people who elected Trump. Many are still with him. Many only were for an instant in the voting booth. There is still great disquiet in America. Unease. Dis-ease.

This is in stark contrast to the atmosphere at MD Anderson. There the disquiet of the DePinho Presidency has been supplanted by a sleepiness. It’s quiet, but is anything happening? No one is really sure. My sources have dried up. No one is talking. Everyone is waiting. What will Dr. Pisters do first besides listen?

It’s a good question and one that will be answered shortly no doubt when Dr. Pisters begins to assemble his team to fulfill his vision for MD Anderson—what ever that is.

More than articulating his vision, his choices will indicate the direction he intends to take the institution.

Just as the chaos in the current White House belies any conclusion that someone is really in charge, the quiet atop Pickens bodes well for the future. But quiet can go just so far. At some point, action is needed.

What’s the role for research in the future? Clinical, basic and population-based?

What will the clinical strategy of Anderson be? What is the role of the affiliates? In Houston and beyond?

Who will lead education and what will that look like?

These are critical questions that have been answered poorly for over ten years. They need addressing now. Soon.

Quiet is nice, but it is still. Movement is called for.

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