Posts Tagged ‘media’

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STRATEGY OVER BLATHER

July 11, 2009

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When the current battle over healthcare is over, there will be choices – which will include a robust Public Option.

How do I know?

The same way our President knows.

Numbers.

This is why you don’t see him out there everyday going head-to-head with media, pundits, and his political opposition. As I’ve written before in Checkers and Chess, No Beef and Faith Trumps Fear, they keep underestimating his ability to size up the debate, learn all he can about the issue and develop the winning strategy that serves the needs of the country, not the politicans’.  

There are enough congressional members who support the President’s healthcare reform plan to get it passed. These are the same people that already passed the Cap and Trade Bill and the Stimulus Bill. The members who opposed those bills are almost exactly the same people who are now opposing the current proposal for healthcare reform. They couldn’t block passage of the others, and the same will be true this time.

You’d never know this watching 24/7 cable news channels or listening to the talking heads on the radio.

They want you to believe this “battle” could go either way.

Listening to some, you’d think that the opposition has enough power to stop the legislation – they don’t. The House will pass the bill without too much resistance. There are now fifty-eight Democratic and two Independent Senators who vote with the Dems 99% of the time. Even if you discount some of the “hesitant” conservative Democrats, the numbers are still there. Contrary to what you may hear, there are Republicans who also want this bill to pass – with a Public Option.

Yet, the debate goes on.

You’d think the country was equally divided on the Public Option issue – not true. Over 70% want a Public Option. Others argue the Public Option is no different than “Single Payer,” (a totally government run healthcare system with no private plans). Again, not true. It is ONE of the choices, not the ONLY choice. There are and will continue to be many choices, including private healthcare company plans. Those who try to equate the two are concerned that the Public Option may eventually become “Single Payer.” This is a possibility, and maybe a probability, but it would be the will of the people, not Washington, that makes it happen.

By now, we’ve all heard the false argument that people in other countries with government run healthcare systems do not receive quality care, and are coming here for care. Again, not true. In fact, the opposite is true. American healthcare companies are pricing themselves out of the market and businesses are exploring overseas options  for healthcare for their employees – senior management included. For example, a comparison of our healthcare system vs. Canada’s  reveals that the quality is at least as good, and in some cases, better. As is true with any healthcare system, both have challenges. I understand commentators need to fill time, but all that blather makes me want to take a nap.

Media and pundits are playing right into Obama’s strategy by presenting all the arguments for and against his plan. Perfect. Let them fight the battles, and when they’re done, the President will address the country in the final stages of the debate, and convince more than enough legislators to vote his way.

They fight the battles – he wins the war.

Strategy over blather.

What a novel concept.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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IMAGINE THAT

July 5, 2009

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We Americans are an interesting bunch. We’re a combination of different backgrounds, ethnicities and religious beliefs. We like to think we are a generous people. We believe we are the hardest workers in the world with unmatched capabilities to research and develop new industries and technologies.

The above said, it stands to reason that we are a blend of the different labels that are used to categorize us by media and politicians – Republican, Democrat, Independent, Conservative and Liberal.  But national polling would have us believe we fall into only one category with a chance that some also fall slightly into a second.

I disagree.

Surely, you’re not surprised. 🙂

ManFlagTraveling this country over the years, I’ve learned most people are not defined by a single category as the polls would indicate, but instead, by portions of many categories. At our core, we Americans are both individually unique and collectively similar.

Most of us believe we are open-minded and willing to listen to others. We believe we are firm in our faith, following our denomination’s teachings, especially as they relate to accepting those of different cultures. Most of us know that there will be change in our lives – whether we like it or not – and therefore, cannot always be bound by the rules of previous generations. For the most part, we are a peaceful people, co-existing in a very diverse nation.

So, based on the paragraphs above, what “category” do we really fall into? Let’s look at the above traits as a dictionary definition: 

a. Not limited to established views: accepting of new ideas:

b. Tolerant of the cultures of others; broad-minded;

JesusWaterDoveMost of my family members and – on a much broader scale – my friends and acquaintances, would probably agree they fall somewhere within these definitions. If I were to have a heart-to-heart conversation with any of them, we may find some minor differences, but nothing earth-shattering.

That is, until the conversation turns to politics or religion. Then the term “earth-shattering” becomes an understatement. Many of the very same people who would agree with me, or I with them, about most of the general life issues described above, are suddenly miles apart. How does that happen? What causes people who appear to care about each other, about their community, their church, their family and  friends, to be so divided over these two subjects?

I don’t have an answer.

If I were to speculate, I would say that most of what is said during conversations about politics or religion comes from what has been heard, and not from conclusions that were derived through extensive personal research, reflection and experience. As these conversations “heat up,” defensiveness increases, especially when questions requiring real honesty are asked. I don’t know if this is an attempt to hide a lack of knowledge or it is simply discomfort due to a perceived attack on one’s integrity. Either way, when conversations digress to this level, I exit.

However, as a nation, it does seem we’re progressing in our dialogue. There are big shifts occurring and for the first time in a long time (if ever), the change is coming from the grassroots – not from the top. We are slowly but surely – with some discomfort – taking our country back from those who would divide us into separate categories so as to keep us from the basic commonality that binds all Americans.

BTW – Here’s an actual dictionary definition of the traits I discussed at the beginning of this post:

“a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.”

TeamworkShaded

It’s the definition of liberal

Imagine that.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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THE NICE GUY WINS

April 29, 2009

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More often than not, when pundits and op-ed writers gather to discuss political and policy issues, things get heated, people talk over each other and no one can make their point without interruption. Then along comes this calm, distinguishable voice that has been waiting patiently to speak. It emerges with cool intellect, witty humor and the reasonableness that has long since escaped the conversation.

Gene Robinson is a writer that makes reading enjoyable and informative.

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No bluster, no ranting, just common sense thinking. Yes, he leans progressive. But based on the 2008 election results, he’s in good company. He is not vitriolic towards those with opposing views – a refreshing quality in this age of television, radio and print blather.

Often times he has good things to say about the “opposition” and offers very good ideas for keeping the conversation rational among all that are gathered – a rare talent indeed. Gene’s “centeredness” is not unlike that of our President’s.

Thoughtful words – both written and spoken – expose his true understanding which is cleverly expressed.

And then there’s that whole Pulitzer Prize thing.

Gene Robinson was awarded a Pulitzer Prize on April 20, 2009 for his coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election. This is stellar accomplishment considering how many people were reporting during this amazing time in our nation’s history. His commentary was insightful and at times, prophetic.

The very next day, he published “When Slapped, Slap Back” – good commentary on how he thought that President Obama may have been a little too nice with some of our not-so-friendly leaders at the Summit of the Americas. I use this illustration to show that Gene will constructively criticize when he feels that it adds to the conversation.

Please take the time to read some of his work. Regardless of where you stand on the issues – you will not be disappointed.

Thank you, Gene, for being one of the very few voices of reason in this 24/7 say-and-do-anything-to-get-attention age of media. You have certainly earned the recognition.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com