Sunday, October 17, 2010

How Appearance Is Related To Healthcare Insurance

I fully understand how Americans can fail to grasp healthcare insurance reform and yet show up in polls so positive about the components.

I’ve watched officials do it for years with “appearance.”  Ask if overall community appearance is a priority (polls show it is for residents) and officials will often say “no” and imply it is just not substantive when we have so many “real” problems.

Ask then if they think public health or crime reduction or economic development or clean air and water or community confidence or longer lasting streets or wayfinding are important and unless they are brain-dead, they typically sing a different tune.myopia-2

The problem is a failure to think strategically.  From a tactical or “little picture” viewpoint, it is easy to dismiss things like “appearance” or “health insurance reform.”

That’s why we need more not fewer, elected officials who can and will do more than look down at their feet.  We need folks who can and will solve problems strategically, using “big picture,” over-arching approaches and solutions that focus energy on resolving  numerous problems at once.

We need more officials who can stand up to special interests whether it is behind-closed-door lobbying by millionaires and their sycophants or thirty angry people in orange shirts showing up at meetings about an isolated issue. We need more officials who think strategically about what’s fair and equitable to the community overall.

That’s why “appearance” is so important to 9 out of every 10 residents…they viscerally grasp that a well-kept community is:

  • A well run community,
  • A more healthy community,
  • A community with less crime,
  • A community that is appealing to talented, creative people and the businesses that pursue them,
  • An easier to get-around, more productive community,
  • A community that is better able to market to visitors and lessen our tax burden with the revenue they generate.

Typically though, it isn’t the officials who can’t or won’t think “strategically.”  The problem starts with “US.”  “We” fixate officials on crises…pet projects, or obsessing about isolated aspects rather than holistic solutions to overall issues.

This in turn feeds the cycle of news coverage all too preoccupied with anecdotes vs. data, fads vs. trends, demanding quick, simplistic solutions to complex problems, obsessing with whiners or momentary winners and losers or the crisis of the day or hour or minute.

So everybody jumping up and down with signs and simplistic bumper-sticker dismissives or hammering thoughtlessly on listservs or seeing red because someone told you to and marching robotically to the polls – – these all symbolize our malady of short-sightedness and they’re all examples of how we do not see the forest for the trees.

The first step to improved government is to accept that “we’re” the problem, we’re the reason we have short sighted officials….we’re the contributors to the very things we fear and the perpetuation of problems.

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