Monday, July 09, 2012
The Unmanned Drone Bomber Form of Communication and Government
Any medical care is better than no medical care. And the people who work for the V.A. are admirable. You get a succession of new doctors whose training includes two or three years as your “gateway” physician. An admirable web site designer created the V.A. medical website that dazzles with its invitation to several kinds of information. I was delighted when I heard that it was an easy way to communicate with your gateway student physician, but I still have not been able to find my way through its maze of wonders. Until then I continue to do what most veterans probably do: I call the phone number one receives on notices, which means that for many hours over the years I have listened for a half hour to the message, “All representatives are busy at this time. Please hold…” etc.
How many millions of Americans could be employed once again if they returned to the work that was replaced by some unwieldly phone tree that never addresses the question you have? Those who control their patients, customers, citizens in this way would soon eliminate the impersonal phone system if they had to call their own numbers: That would teach them what is lacking – empathy (I introduce my “unmanned drone bomber” metaphor).
One of the doctors I see at the V.A. gave me his email address. It takes us 60 seconds of communication time if I need a prescription renewed or need to ask a question about the effects of a medicine. With all other doctors I must listen for a half hour to that maddening (and hypocritical) message that someone is eager to help me (feel free to equate with the repetitious speeches of politicians).
I have resorted to writing a letter when I need to communicate with a physician, much more time-consuming than sending an email or making a phone call, but less time-consuming, and maddening, than listening for a large portion of my life to the political lie of the unmanned drone form of communication. Apply the metaphor to all things American and see often it fits perfectly – and how it is the effect of eliminating all human beings from a process. In the most extreme example, imagine the homeless trying to send a personal message to the President. But no need to go that far. Consider any citizen dealing with government, or any customer dealing with a vendor. If not a phone maze, there will be some other way to prevent human-to-human communication. They are mistaken when they believe that removing the personal saves them money and provides convenience for anyone. We are all the victims of the unmanned drone bomber form of communication.
But apply it to the real thing, the use of unmanned drone bombers by the military. Being a military man, of course, General Powell on the Tavis Smiley Show said that it is a desirable new form of weapon, with it being an unavoidable side effect that noncombatants, including women and children, will be killed, while, fortunately, it will spare the lives of the people using these weapons at distance, impersonably. The warrior always removes the personal, and General Powell does not yet have the empathy to imagine how it will be when unmanned drone bombers are used by others on the U.S. Then everyone will take it personally.
We have become a society controlled by those who think abstractly, for instance, by the figures on a ledger, who themselves cannot see that the figures on the ledger are humans running for their lives. We are all trying to dodge that system that finds it wonderful to simply push a button or that writes out masses of workers with a pen. Apply my metaphor generally and see if it does not fit most of the situations in our lives.