View Mobile Site
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Gary Horton: Personal determination and a village

Posted: May 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Katie in India.

 

Followers of this column know that five weeks ago my daughter Katie was struck by a motorcycle in India. Katie suffered severe traumatic brain injury; required emergency cranial surgery, was comatose two days, spent six days in the ICU, and subsequently required 16 further days of hospitalization to recover sufficiently well for the 24 hour jet trip back home. Landing at LAX, Katie immediately spent two days at UCLA for a thorough work up, followed by one month of outpatient cognitive and occupational rehab. Five days ago, virtually fully recovered,

Katie flew to Seattle to resume her regularly scheduled life with her husband, Dan. She will return to work within a few additional weeks.

Katie is a tremendous success story involving a dedicated family, a cast of hundreds of concerned care and service providers, and extremely important – her own personal determination to heal and recover. Katie’s transformation from helpless, comatose, critically injured young lady on a dusty street in India - through all the steps of recovery - mimics many of the stages of our own lives. We all begin helpless and dependent; we receive the loving care of family and society; and when we’re sufficiently prepared, we fly on our own wings, under our own power, to determine our ultimate fate.

Conservatives are exactly right that a successful life requires personal character and determination – often as only a solid family structure can provide. Success and happiness generally starts in a loving family environment, with few good alternatives to parental (or parental surrogate) love and support. Success takes a family teaching values encouraging personal character. Government can’t “give” anyone success. Willingness to work, learn, and commit are deeply personal and must be taught by either family or very close institutions.

Progressives are spot on correct however, when they insist, “We’re all in this together,” and “It takes a village to raise a child.” Conservatives go wild at such “socialism,” but that’s the politics of divisiveness clouding the reality of modern living. All the family love and personal determination won’t go far unless levered up with properly designed and supported community infrastructure and services. Society is a vast web of interdependence and we all truly need the care and concern of one another.

Often, those who need society’s care and support are those most helpless, vulnerable, and powerless to help themselves. Katie’s stay in ICU might be symbolic for those times when we were growing up or when we’ve been unexpectedly cast into helpless or vulnerable conditions.

Katie happened to be first rescued by family members. But doctors and nurses, surgeons and caregivers – brought her from death’s door back to life. Pilots, and jet mechanics and air traffic controllers got her back home, safely. Freeways, built by yours and my tax dollars, guided her first to publically funded UCLA and then finally to her family home. Dentists, therapists, teachers, both publically and privately funded her at home, assisted her towards her final recovery.

And yet, Katie also owned her own recovery personally, and took responsibility for her own success and well being as well as she could. She worked out. She ran. She attended rehab and therapy sessions and put in required time for homework. Recovery from brain injuries is hard work, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Katie remained positive and personally committed through the process, as we have to be for our own success and well-being.

Plainly, Katie personally earned a good chunk of her recovery. But even the most remote hope for success was a total non-starter without a giant global and local interwoven village of caring providers and infrastructure acting on her behalf, first.

Katie experience is a microcosm of our own life experiences and we shouldn’t lessen that message by divisive politics. Success in life is complicated. It takes an individual. It takes a family. It takes ethical institutions. It takes a village of everything from firemen to teachers to doctors to janitors to pilots and even to landscapers! There’s no way out of the reality that we’ve all in life together. We lever our own smarts and determination against the best society assets we’ve got at our individual means.

Katie enjoyed some of the best services available in India and in the U.S and levered that with her own determination to wonderful success. Many of us have enjoyed the same benefits in our own lives.

That said, in America’s “village” – how “fair” do we want to be? How much shall we share to those more vulnerable than ourselves? What’s our commitment to build an open and effective “village” for all – including the “different” and powerless among us? How much do we care?

This is an essential question we’re facing that will determine the course of liberty, justice and life potential for generations of Americans to come. Are we committed to equitable life so as to build a better “American Village” for all Americans - or do we really believe we can or should, “go it alone.”

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

 

Comments

tech: Posted: May 21, 2014 11:17 a.m.

For sharing the full arc of Katie's story, nicely done, Mr. Horton. Best wishes for her continued restoration to full recovery.

I differ with you in how you framed a few positions.

Americans have always believed in community and Alexis de Toqueville early in our history remarked on how unique our local government and citizen involvement was.

Conservatives, Independents, Libertarians and a fair amount of Democrats who don't label themselves as "progressives" still believe in that community system of individuals cooperating for common interests.

The objection to "progressive" policies lies in the centralization of authority that exceeds the enumerated powers of the Federal government. It's a distortion of our Federal Republic as designed and enables corruption that disempowers citizens.


Lotus8: Posted: May 21, 2014 3:17 p.m.

You speak of powerless, different, and vulnerable people. I totally agree with you if these folks you speak of are intellectually disabled, have been abused, or have physical limitations. We should be helping these folks out. I would bet that you cast a much wider "victim" net than I do, however.


Indy: Posted: May 21, 2014 7:33 p.m.

Tech wrote: For sharing the full arc of Katie's story, nicely done, Mr. Horton. Best wishes for her continued restoration to full recovery.

Indy: Yes, all readers of the Signal are thankful the ending of your daughter’s accident has turned out well.

Tech wrote: I differ with you in how you framed a few positions.

Indy: Yes, I want to address the following:

Tech wrote: Americans have always believed in community and Alexis de Toqueville early in our history remarked on how unique our local government and citizen involvement was.

Indy: Yes, all politics start out locally . . .

Tech wrote: Conservatives, Independents, Libertarians and a fair amount of Democrats who don't label themselves as "progressives" still believe in that community system of individuals cooperating for common interests.

Indy: Interestingly, as a ‘progressive’ myself, I encourage local political participation at the city, county, and state levels.

Tech wrote: The objection to "progressive" policies lies in the centralization of authority that exceeds the enumerated powers of the Federal government. It's a distortion of our Federal Republic as designed and enables corruption that disempowers citizens.

Indy: Here the market fundamentalist libertarian loses sight of why we have a federal government to address the ‘national’ issues that have ‘local consequences.’

Our Founding Fathers realized this when they set up a ‘House of Representatives’ that have ‘local districts’ within our states.

Thus, we’ve got the ability at the federal level to see the ‘big’ national pictures with respect to energy, population, resources, and defense, not to mention our ‘place in the global community’.

The only ‘corruption’ I see is the effect that ‘money’ has on elections ‘at every level’. The individual citizen has now to face the reality that ‘money talks’ and those with more ‘money’ have a greater voice in government.

In any event, our Founding Fathers created a federal government and the best way to describe it’s role is to read the Founding Fathers own words in the Constitution’s preamble:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It’s puzzling to me why libertarians like this poster ‘dismiss’ this preamble . . . considering it embodies the overall intent of the Founders to create a government of ‘we the people’.


tech: Posted: May 22, 2014 9:00 p.m.

Unlike you, I don't dismiss any part of the Constitution, Indy. Consequently, I know that government doesn't constitute the entirety of society.

I consider your blindness to government corruption a stunning admission.


OldReliable: Posted: May 22, 2014 8:08 a.m.

"It takes a Village" is unaffordable as indicated by Obama's failed progressive policies and our ever increasing historic National Debt.


tech: Posted: May 22, 2014 11:15 a.m.

"The only ‘corruption’ I see is the effect that ‘money’ has on elections ‘at every level’." - Indy

That's the only government corruption you see? Really?

"The controversy began after the Arizona Republic reported in April that 40 or more US veterans died while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA hospital. According to internal emails later acquired by CNN, VA managers in Phoenix created a secret wait list in an attempt to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor. Even worse, top-level management supposedly knew of and defended the practice.

Besides the secret list, the Phoenix VA hospital already provided a different, official wait list to DC that allowed VA higher-ups to verify that patients are being treated in a timely manner (within 14 to 30 days). But Phoenix's secret wait list supposedly avoided federal oversight with an elaborate scheme in which officials shredded evidence that some patients were taking months to be seen. What's worse, if someone died while waiting for an appointment due to the secret wait list, Phoenix officials would allegedly discard the name as if the fatal error never happened."

http://www.vox.com/2014/5/14/5714574/what-the-hell-is-happening-at-the-va


Indy: Posted: May 22, 2014 3:56 p.m.

Tech wrote: Unlike you, I don't dismiss any part of the Constitution, Indy.

Indy: LOL . . .

Tech wrote: Consequently, I know that government doesn't constitute the entirety of society.

Indy: Yes, you’re in good company … every student that studies ‘government’ picks up on that . . .

Tech wrote: I consider your blindness to government corruption a stunning admission.

Indy: LOL . . . I can see you’re not reading my posts and you really should . . . again, ‘knowledge is strength’!


Indy: Posted: May 22, 2014 4:02 p.m.

Tech wrote: "The only ‘corruption’ I see is the effect that ‘money’ has on elections ‘at every level’." - Indy

That's the only government corruption you see? Really?

Indy: Yes, the job of ‘management’ of government by our current ‘money owned’ group of so called ‘leaders’ simply haven’t the time to keep any oversight on things . . . with voting to ‘repeal or degrade’ the ACA by the House some, what, 50+ times!

The whole VA issue clearly indicates our ‘leaders’ are more interested in their own ‘futures’ than that of the public that elected them.

Most of these folks have no honor . . . and their lack of understanding ‘basic management’ leads to the problems with see with the VA.

I just have to wonder why Buck McKeon has been doing his last 20 years . . .

This sadly comes down to the 'FAILURE' of the media to act in the public interest to 'keep an eye' on politicians versus just putting forth 'celebrity' based 'infotainment' based on American folklore or simply 'reprinting' the 'focus group tested' slogans in each party's respective press releases.

The media is acting shamefully . . .


tech: Posted: May 22, 2014 5:55 p.m.

"Indy: Yes, the job of ‘management’ of government by our current ‘money owned’ group of so called ‘leaders’ simply haven’t the time to keep any oversight on things . . . "

Apparently you're unaware that the actual management of huge Federal bureacracies is by a civil servants that see Administrations and members of Congress come and go. The bureaucracy, however, is persistent and frequently acts in its own interest, as evidenced by the VA scandal.

Perhaps this is key to why you're a cheerleader of a large centralized Federal government, i.e. you don't understand how it operates in practice.

“The challenge, I think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization,” Obama said. “It actually has to do with what I referred to earlier, which is we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

"You know, one of the lessons — learned from this whole process on the website — is that probably the biggest gap between the private sector and the federal government is when it comes to I.T." - President Obama --edited.


tech: Posted: May 22, 2014 7:20 p.m.

When oversight is exercised, here's what occurs:

Senate Democrats block bill to give Eric Shinseki more power to fire at Veterans Affairs

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a bill designed to give Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki more leeway to fire senior department executives he believes are responsible for long wait times and care problems at VA medical facilities.

The bill, which passed the House a day earlier on a bipartisan (390-33) vote, was blocked by Democrats who said it was premature to call for firings, and that while problems in the department extend back for years, most veterans find the VA provides good care.

Immediately, the holdup became political.

“I was surprised to see Senate Democrats block this important, bipartisan bill. There’s no reason for us not to pass it quickly here in the Senate. And the President should call for its passage right away too,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

The VA scandal continues to develop in Washington with the department taking fire from all sides.

After VA officials didn’t show up for a House hearing, the Veterans Affairs’ Committee unanimously voted to prepare subpoenas to force them to appear on May 30, unless they voluntarily show up before that.

“Given the VA’s continued pattern of stonewalling, there is good cause for the committee to vote in favor of receiving this testimony in open session as soon as possible,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican and committee chairman.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/22/senate-democrats-block-bill-to-give-eric-shinseki-/#ixzz32V7KObfv --edited.


Indy: Posted: May 24, 2014 4:45 p.m.

Tech wrote: "Indy: Yes, the job of ‘management’ of government by our current ‘money owned’ group of so called ‘leaders’ simply haven’t the time to keep any oversight on things . . . "

Apparently you're unaware that the actual management of huge Federal bureacracies is by a civil servants that see Administrations and members of Congress come and go. The bureaucracy, however, is persistent and frequently acts in its own interest, as evidenced by the VA scandal.

Indy: This is why I’ve asked you so many times what your educational background is so I can better help you with topics like ‘management’.

Every organization has ‘top manager’ that ‘direct’ employees to fulfill the mission statement of the organization either ‘public or private’. The techniques of management are the ‘same’ for both.

Thus, your abdication of politician’s responsibility to ‘oversee’ the federal government is not consistent with conservatives that site their support for ‘accountability and responsibility’.

Tech wrote: Perhaps this is key to why you're a cheerleader of a large centralized Federal government, i.e. you don't understand how it operates in practice.

Indy: Yes, the ‘too big to handle’ excuse . . . have heard it often . . . but no organization is ‘too big to handle’ provided the ‘will to manage’ is present.

Sadly, today, we’ve elected unqualified ideologues to run our government using little more than ‘private sand personal’ beliefs and ideology that we can ‘see’ doesn’t work.

We’ve seen this just now with the mismanagement of the VA . . . there is no excuse, both parties are guilty of managerial malfeasance.

Tech wrote: `“The challenge, I think, that we have going forward is not so much my personal management style or particular issues around White House organization,” Obama said. “It actually has to do with what I referred to earlier, which is we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly.”

"You know, one of the lessons — learned from this whole process on the website — is that probably the biggest gap between the private sector and the federal government is when it comes to I.T." - President Obama --edited.

Indy: Yes, I don’t expect a ‘constitution law professor’ to understand basic business management but that’s no excuse. He wanted the job and should have surrounded himself with ‘management’ types that know what they are doing and advise him.

And while I get the partisan take to blame Obama . . . and rightfully so . . . no one stopped any republicans including Buck McKeon from doing their job of oversight . . . and I hold republicans especially culpable since Buck in particular oversees defense spending to which the VA is a part . . . so what was Buck thinking when the agency was not properly funded and pulling ‘management tricks’ to hurt veterans?


tech: Posted: May 25, 2014 8:58 a.m.

You failed to rebut my point and instead repeated your assertions in long winded fashion.

You can't manage your own posts.


emheilbrun: Posted: May 25, 2014 10:01 a.m.

Indy writes: "Every organization has ‘top manager’ that ‘direct’ employees to fulfill the mission statement of the organization either ‘public or private’. The techniques of management are the ‘same’ for both."

If the techniques are the same, why is there a separate and distinct degree (Masters in Public Administration) for the public sector? Your failed business was in the private sector. Do you have any public sector experience?


Indy: Posted: May 25, 2014 3:27 p.m.

Emheilbrun wrote: Indy writes: "Every organization has ‘top manager’ that ‘direct’ employees to fulfill the mission statement of the organization either ‘public or private’. The techniques of management are the ‘same’ for both."

If the techniques are the same, why is there a separate and distinct degree (Masters in Public Administration) for the public sector? Your failed business was in the private sector. Do you have any public sector experience?

Indy: That’s an excellent question and one that I will explore a bit . . .

And why do you keep referring to my small business as being ‘failed’?

And yes, I do have some public sector experience.

In both cases, my training actually ‘set the pace’ . . . in both environments.

Have you ever managed anything?


emheilbrun: Posted: May 25, 2014 3:52 p.m.

You said it failed. How did your training set the pace in your public sector experience? I manage to get out of bed everyday, does that count?


Indy: Posted: May 26, 2014 4:36 p.m.

Emheilbrun wrote: You said it failed.

Indy: No, that was your bud ‘tech’ that made that comment . . .

Emheilbrun wrote: How did your training set the pace in your public sector experience? I manage to get out of bed everyday, does that count?

Indy: The ‘management of organizations’ public or private is the same.

As far as your ‘sleeping’ issues . . . that’s something that I’m sure you’re qualified to address.


emheilbrun: Posted: May 26, 2014 5:19 p.m.

Indy states: "The ‘management of organizations’ public or private is the same."

You're wrong. Very wrong.


tech: Posted: May 26, 2014 6:19 p.m.

"Indy: No, that was your bud ‘tech’ that made that comment . . . " - Indy

No, it was you that stated your business couldn't compete with unregulated labor and closed down. My memory isn't selective based on context and others will no doubt recall as well. You leak far more than you suppose and intellectual honesty isn't a hallmark of your posts, Indy.


kristi: Posted: May 28, 2014 8:18 a.m.

We all are indeed our "brother's keeper", even if we sometimes disagree on exactly how we are to accomplish it.


Indy: Posted: May 31, 2014 7:51 p.m.

emheilbrun wrote: Indy states: "The ‘management of organizations’ public or private is the same."

You're wrong. Very wrong.

Indy: Can you be a bit more specific?


Indy: Posted: May 31, 2014 7:57 p.m.

tech wrote: "Indy: No, that was your bud ‘tech’ that made that comment . . . " - Indy

No, it was you that stated your business couldn't compete with unregulated labor and closed down. My memory isn't selective based on context and others will no doubt recall as well. You leak far more than you suppose and intellectual honesty isn't a hallmark of your posts, Indy.

Indy: No, not ‘unregulated’ labor . . . illegal alien labor.

Since I got no help from our ‘leaders’ other than their rhetorical recitals, I didn’t want to ‘compete’ in an industry where to be competitive you had to ‘break the law’.

I did just fine for 20 years . . . but there came the point where it wasn’t worth it and I didn’t want to break the law.

And just look at the nonsense going on in congress today with ‘immigration reform’. We can’t even get a vote in the House!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In any event, your mindless banter about ‘intellectual honesty’ is sadly just to hide your own ignorance . . . that fact you can’t see that is sad . . .

But again, if you disclose your educational background or lack of same, I can help you better with the concepts in business, management and economics you have so much trouble with.

Have you been a owner of a business?


Indy: Posted: May 31, 2014 8:02 p.m.

kristi wrote: We all are indeed our "brother's keeper", even if we sometimes disagree on exactly how we are to accomplish it.

Indy: I appreciate your intentions but many of our solutions go beyond conservative ideology positions.

Thus, the folks here that advocate same can’t defend them other than with slogans and barbs, none of which address the solutions that will work.

So be careful . . . just like we see in the issue of climate change, conservatives feel that have to wait for a total collapse to be ‘sure’ but then it’s too late . . .

In any event feel free to provide your thoughts and suggestions and we can see if they will work.


tech: Posted: June 1, 2014 11:59 p.m.

"Have you been a owner of a business?" - Indy

Yes, multiple. It makes your assertions about my lack of business experience all the more amusing and fact free. :-D


emheilbrun: Posted: June 1, 2014 11:15 a.m.

Indy states: "The ‘management of organizations’ public or private is the same."

My response, You're wrong. Very wrong.

Indy: Can you be a bit more specific?

Indy, here are some links, but if you think there is no difference, so be it.

http://www.powermag.com/25-differences-between-private-sector-and-government-managers/

"Financial management in the public sector and private sector differ significantly. Those who have experience in one of these areas may not necessarily be ready for financial management in the other sector due to some of these differences. In the "Journal of Management Studies," George A. Boyne points out the fact that many theorists hold that the differences are so great that use of private sector management in the public sector should be avoided."

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/fundamental-differences-between-public-private-sector-financial-management-37395.html



You need to be a registered user to post a comment. Please click here to register.

The Signal encourages readers to interact with one another, following the guidelines outlined in our Comment/Moderation Policy. Click here to read it.

To report offensive or inappropriate comments, e-mail abuse@signalscv.com. The content posted from readers of signalscv.com does not necessarily represent the views of The Signal or Morris Multimedia. By submitting this form you agree to the terms and conditions listed above. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...