Common Sense

26 03 2010

One of my biggest frustrations is when people let ‘culture’ get in the way of ‘common sense’, or what I see, through my cultural lens, as common sense.

Take for instance ObamaCare; for me from my European perspective, it makes perfect sense for a country to protect it’s vulnerable populations by ensuring everyone has access to health care. Yet in the US, according to the American Journal of Medicine, 3 out of 5 bankruptcy cases are due to medical debt. The US also has the highest cost of healthcare in the world, per capita at PPP. The system is clearly broke, and so I am pleased that Obama listened to those who voted him in to power and they have passed the healthcare bill.

However, the saga hasn’t ended. The Republicans are still complaining. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article, Repeal, Replace or What? They asked five opponents about what to do next.

There were complaints that it is a hodgepodge of schemes; which yes it is, because Obama was trying out Bipartisanship to pass the bill, so he made concessions. But at the same they complained the bill has been rammed down their throats. Which is something else I don’t understand. In the UK Parliament, if the ruling party has the majority of the seats in the House of Commons then they get their party to vote according the the party line and the law passes that house. Obama has a majority in both the House and the Senate, he should be able to pass any bill. Bush didn’t have such a strong position, and yet he was able to spend so much money on war… the priorities seem so odd!

One guy, Mr. Pence a congressman from Indiana said: “Liberal Democrats had their say on the third Sunday in March. The American people will have their say on the first Tuesday in November. House Republicans are committed to repealing ObamaCare and starting over with reforms that reflect the desires of the American people.”

Erm… Mr. Pence… I believe Obama made it very clear in his Presidential Campaign that he wanted to pass a healthcare bill, and he was voted in as President. Now, if Republicans had let Obama pass the bill as he promised, then the desires of the American people would have been met. Common sense? To me at least.

Yesterday, I was having a problem at work with internal politics in one of the international programs I support. The head of the program is going to leave in the next few months and people are jockeying for position to take over. They are gossiping, spreading rumor and arguing, and because of that I will bring someone in from the outside.

I understand that culturally they have a lot on their shoulders, they are respected people in their families and communities and people are looking to them to be the leader so that they can get additional support. I understand that, my culture is a little different, but at the same time similar. My wife and I support a number of people, because God has blessed us and it is in our culture to support those who do not have as much as we have. I also push to improve my  career, salary and position in life, but the difference is to try to do it from a position of servant leadership.

It isn’t any good to go trampling people to try to get to the top. Perhaps in some careers a ‘cut throat’ attitude is welcome, and while I certainly want to see leaders who can make the tough decisions I need people who can lead by example. That example being hard work and dedication to serving others.

It is common sense to me that if I want to be promoted or lead an organization, I need to be a servant leader and not been seen to be gossiping or arguing. However, the culture I am observing is to put others down to try to make themselves look better, which from my cultural lens doesn’t look like servant leadership and far from common sense.




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