Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2021 - 8

C o mpa s s P o i n t s

How a Moldavian Professor
and a Nineteenth Century
German Philosopher
Got Me Through 2020
T.J. Huckleberry, MPA
Executive Director

I

'll level with you, 2020 was not the golden era of American
politics. Between the sharp partisan lines killing even the most
" no brainer " pieces of legislation, to the extraordinarily ugly
campaign season, the bureaucracy of COVID-19 policies, and the
all-around divisiveness found in our nation; it is quite easy to be
diagnosed with acute political fatigue.
I don't blame you; I certainly feel the same way. Thankfully, a
particular lecture has remained etched in my mind, and in days like
these it always helps give me a little perspective.
At Drexel I had this fantastic political philosophy professor. He
was Moldavian, and if Descartes and Arnold Schwarzenegger had
a child, it would have been him. During one lecture he asked me
to read the quote below to my fellow classmates. As I was reading, I
noticed he was beginning to pack up his things. When I finished, he
simply said to the class,
" In terms of American Politics, ... I have nothing more to give
you. "
And he walked out.
At the time, I remember just being happy that class ended early.
I did not realize that this professor had successfully armed me with
the mantra that any person venturing into politics should recite:

" Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard
boards. It requires passion as well as perspective.
Certainly, all historical experience confirms-that man
would not have achieved the possible unless time
and again he had reached out for the impossible. But
to do that, a man must be a leader, and more than a
leader, he must be a hero as well, in a very sober sense
of the word. And even those who are neither leaders
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nor heroes must arm themselves with that resolve of
heart which can brave even the failing of all hopes.
This is necessary right now, otherwise we shall fail to
attain that which it is possible to achieve today. Only
he who is certain not to destroy himself in the process
should hear the call of politics; he must endure even
though he finds the world too stupid or too petty for
that which he would offer. In the face of that he must
have the resolve to say 'and yet,'-for only then does
he hear the 'call' of politics.
-Max Weber, 1919 (...AND THAT WAS 100 YEARS AGO!!)
Ok, you're all busy so I imagine you " power skimmed " the
quote and went straight to here. But do me a favor next time you
turn on your television or read an article on your phone about how
ridiculous our elected officials are acting or how blatantly inefficient
our government is: take a breath and re-read this. Politics was not
meant to be easy, by design passing legislation should be as difficult
and as unpleasant as passing a gallstone.
To get any bill over the finish line, as my bearded German
friend above has so stated, we need heroes. Persistent, passionate,
and patient heroes who are not afraid of a fight but savvy enough
to understand that the world is changed in increments. Heroes are
forged in the furnace of adversity, and so is government.
There is no denying that 2020 gave us our fair share of
frustrations: coronavirus, political upheaval, ... The Philadelphia
Eagles ... but 2021 is not the year to take your ball and go home.
We need your leadership, we need your passion, we need heroes.
Because if you are not the voice of medicine, who is?


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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2021

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