Raving Lunatic

December 23, 2009
Alan Berkenwald, MD

I became a blogger 4 months ago, a gig that I find fascinating and refreshing. A place for me to vent, pontificate, and generally hold forth with a jaundiced view of my profession and the industrial Goliaths that support it.

“Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.”

-Sam Rayburn (1882-1961), Texas Legislator, Congressman for 48 years, Speaker of the House, and leading supporter of the New Deal.

I became a blogger 4 months ago, a gig that I find fascinating and refreshing. A place for me to vent, pontificate, and generally hold forth with a jaundiced view of my profession and the industrial Goliaths that support it. This is a situation I am quite familiar with. In grade school in the Bronx I was one of those skinny little kids, too smart for his own good, who would stand in the corner of the play ground with a finger up his nose, commenting on the follies of kids bigger and stronger than myself. I would get beaten up regularly.

As a blogger, however, I find I have Internet-sustained diplomatic immunity. (Plus, nobody knows my home address.) All of my postings have been critical, cynical, and depressing. With the closing of this decade, which has seen so little meaningful change in the healthcare system, I find myself experiencing remorse for failing to contribute a positive voice to the national debate.

No one ever remembered, or ever needed to know, what observations I made while standing in that play ground years ago. Nor did any good come from it.

I have had an epiphany, a "moment of sudden intuitive understanding, a flash of insight." I can use my voice for good. This blog can serve as a platform where constructive suggestions will be offered to broaden understanding and build support for the necessary new ideas and approaches that our failing health care system so vitally needs.

Or not.

Discussions on healthcare reform are a lot like the discussions I have with my 24 year-old daughter. They lead to arguments, anger, accusations, and recriminations (and I am always wrong according to my wife).

Nonetheless, with the Holiday Spirit upon us all, with the Senate sitting in session late into Christmas Eve, and with Goodwill to All, I make this New Year's Resolution: I promise to pull my finger out of my nose and try to add something constructive to the national healthcare debate next year.

Or not.

Why should I be different than anyone else?