In Miss Congeniality, I often laughed at the scene when all the beauty paegents who are in Miss USA would answer a question of what they want and everyone said “World Peace!” Except, of course, Sandra Bullock’s character.
I recently watched a video of someone who worked abroad for a government agency mention that policy will be the solution to all the many issues we have in the world, especially the areas of terrorism and others.
Having worked in the realm of policy for the past year in my current position in addition to studying about it, my reaction to this statement is that policy has a huge factor in helping with what is going on in the arena of foreign policy, terrorism, and so many other things. It’s why we have the United Nations and so many other agencies working to bring countries together as opposed to separated.
However, what one may not understand, know, or experience, is that policy is only one piece of a more giant puzzle, a slice to a pie, a brick to a house. I’m a believer that policy can help us understand what’s really going on that governments may not see beyond their high rised buildings. Yet, policy, is simply policy.
Let me give you an example. Obamacare. When I was in school, I had to comb through the entire policy for my health policy class, and I have to say, it was an awesome policy. It really answered several gaps that are incredibly noticeable nation wide. HOWEVER, as great as what was penned, putting it into motion is not only an uphill climb, it is a monster or an animal in its own right. Since it’s passing, we are still working towards ensuring increased coverage for those who haven’t aren’t insured. Yet, you run into a barrier — are they seeing a provider or have a medical home (i.e. A consistent place they can go see a doctor). Are we meeting the increased demands of those who are now covered with qualified providers, case managers, physicians? Are we really seeing increased improvement in communities’ overall health? It’s hard work. I’ll say it again, it’s hard work. It requires everyone, and I mean everyone, to really come together, and figure out how to best roll out the policy that is set in place.
I haven’t even begun to talk about how complicated policy is. I may not work in Washington DC, and I may not work in California’s capital. But I know that by simply stating, that listening and creating policy is the be all, end all towards all the complicated issues that are happening in the world, is not easy, and it’s most certainly not the solution to the many issues that are happening in the world.
A lot of people may say “Yes! We need policy!!” Yet, what people don’t understand, is that policy isn’t going to solve the problem. Even then, with so many government systems around the world, the complicated ways to bring on policy is different for every nation, region, and city. It is, even in the US. What may happen in California, may not be legal in Nevada or Oregon. Even trying to get a listening ear requires a great deal of influence and networking. On top of that, let’s not forget about political egos and selfishness. Each politician, lobbyist, individual, each are fighting for something; some fight for power, others fight for title, some fight for a cause.
The point is this — policy is a stepping stone to what everyone hopes for — greater good. It brings people together to listen, to partner up, and to work on common goals. There are many similar goals. In the realms of public health, we all essentially want the same thing — better health in the community. Yet, you have people who may not want this. You may people who think there are other priorities. You may even get some who will support such efforts. Policy is not easy and it’s certainly not the be all end all to what we would want — countries to get along, the end of such reckless and unnecessary violence, world peace (Yes I said it), and more.
No, policy is not just the answer. Rather, such can be achieved in small steps, by one of the simplest things that’s often the most difficult to do — drop egos, selfishness, notion of need for power and strength, money, and status. Until we ourselves recognize that we ourselves are the problem to this broken world (trust me, we have our own biases, our own prejudices, and our own moments of narrow tunnel vision), policy, good work, new initiatives all won’t solve the things we see in the news each day. I’m not saying that these things are needed. Absolutely not, we need these more than ever as opposed to the worst case scenarios such as war. Yet, at the end of the day, a recognition of what who we are, what we are, and what we ought to be towards others must be reflected upon. To love others as ourselves is such a common and most used phrase these days, yet, we fall so short so many times to this one mere statement. This is why, policy is not the answer to what we all seek. It’s why policy is often times so difficult. It is also why when we move ahead with policy, when there are moments of goodness, we take so many steps backward.
Just look at what happened, right after Mohammed Ali passed, we were inspried by who he was when he was alive and the legacy he left behind. Soon after, chaotic eruption of hatred, violence, and attacks (both verbal and physical) occured.
So you see…policy isn’t just the answer to something we all wish to attain.