Missing The Point
The latest political polls are indicating a likely landslide victory for the Republicans in the House and a better than even chance for the GOP to retake control of the Senate.
This should come as no surprise given:
- The unpopularity of the Democratic President.
- The ineptness with which the Democrats have run the Congress.
- The current high inflation rate despite low unemployment.
- The general state of the world with war in Ukraine, the threat of nuclear war, and the rise of Chinese hegemony in Asia.
On the whole, it appears that the country is in poor shape. (I can’t wait to see how Biden spins it in his State of the Union message next year.) Immigration is still a mess on the southern border and crime appears to be out of control in our major cities, including in Houston. It may even cost our County Judge her job. Why would anyone consider keeping the current crop of leaders in office?
The Democrats were betting that the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court would be enough to galvanize American sentiment against the GOP. Wrong! Abortion is way down on the list of concerns for Americans. Yes, there are women of child-bearing age who will choose to leave certain states with oppressive abortion freedom laws—like Texas. They may also choose not to attend college in these states. It is not that the Supreme Court decision did not affect the thinking of many Americans. It did. But, the economy affects everyone and everyone is not as riled up about abortion rights as they are about inflation. The Democrats missed the point when they bet the ranch on abortion rights mobilizing a Democratic blue wave. Forget about it. I am going to go on the record now and say that the GOP pick-up in the House may be as large as fifty seats and the GOP will take control of the Senate. (You have to love Senator Walker from Georgia and Senator Pennsylvania from Oz). Furthermore, this outcome will get President Biden to declare that he will not be a candidate in 2024 and that the majority of GOP voters will have moved beyond President Trump setting up battles for the presidential nomination in both parties. DeSantis vs. Buttigieg?
That’s our political system and we should all be grateful for its self-corrective nature.
I want to contrast this with the situation in most corporations and academic health centers where power is often centered in one individual who, if clever, can keep his or her reporting board at bay with political maneuvers and muscle to silence the employees or faculty. Where in our representative government, elections occur at regular intervals such recall mechanisms do not exist in corporate America or academia.
Now in corporate America if the stock value plummets or the finances go south, the leaders may well find themselves out of work. In academia the metric is less clear as most major academic centers are “non-profits” where the leadership only needs to generate a “margin.”
I would like to propose a more democratic form of governance in academia. In fact, such a form of governance is supposed to obtain at MD Anderson now, but does not. Shared governance between the president and faculty representation in the form of the Faculty Senate is supposed to be the operating system. Is it? Hardly.
Dr. Pisters pretty much does what he wants and rarely consults the faculty in any meaningful way about his unilateral decisions (PRS to HR, the latest changes in the medical by-laws). Meanwhile, intimidation of the faculty goes on under the guise of weaponized professionalism.
Unless and until the faculty rank and file accept the Faculty Senate as the meaningful representatives of the faculty’s interests, the present situation will go on. Why would Dr. Pisters change? He’s getting away with whatever he wants now and as I have recently written, the leopard does not change his spots until he hears the furrier coming. (Full credit to ex-VP Fred Becker).
Representative shared governance is within the grasp of the MD Anderson faculty. Each and every senator must make it his or her duty to convey issues to the rank and file faculty and to receive feedback on these issues and transmit them back to Senate leadership. It can work. How badly do you want it or are you happy the way things are?