This post represents a shameless theft of an idea from Mike Cannavo, the One and Only PACSMan. However, I'm going to massage it and make it my own.
I have been bantering about the upcoming election with the boys (no girls that I know of) on AuntMinnie.com's Off Topic Forum, for months and months. I had resolved not to bring that discussion to the blog, but frankly, this seems the right time to flip-flop and go ahead with such a post.
As we stand today, one week from the election, Mr. Obama is leading Mr. McCain in the polls. The nation seems intent on believing in Mr. Obama and his mantra of CHANGE, without really delving into just what that means. In many ways, this parallels some of my observations over the years about purchasing PACS.
I have sparred with and against a lot of the guys on AuntMinnie, as well as various PACS companies, PACS administrators, and rads, for a number of years on the board. Believe it or not, I have a lot of respect both my friends and my adversaries in that venue.
I am dismayed at the faith in, and near-worship of, Mr. Obama, just as I worry about the unwarranted confidence placed in some PACS companies. In both cases, these opinions may not be backed up by experience, personal, or on behalf of the candidate. We know very little about Mr. Obama, and we know very little about what he wants. But from every shred of evidence that comes to light, Mr. Obama is in his heart a radical leftist, possibly a socialist, who has learned to hide his leanings behind eloquent speeches and flowery CHANGE and FAIRNESS rhetoric. There are enough hints out there as to what he is all about to make us quite wary. At the very least, there are significant questions that have not been answered beyond Mr. Biden's unsubstantiated denials and subsequent exile of the questioner. Every time Mr. Biden (or Mr. Obama) slips or something new comes to light, it is either suppressed, or the messenger is shot (so far, only figuratively). Mr. Obama has declared his desire for "redistribution of wealth" to Joe the Plumber, and recently unearthed audio tapes show that he was disappointed in the court system for not accomplishing this shift. Mr. Obama is not the man he would like you to think he is. His goals are not in line with mine, and probably not with yours. The "redistribution of wealth" thing is a clue. Consider as well Mr. Obama's statement about selection of jurists: "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." Translated, the courts should take the side of the plaintiff, especially if they happen to be a minority, and be against "Big Business".
You can call it "hyperbole", you can call it "drama", you can call it "neocon-Zionist rhetoric", but an Obama presidency has the potential to change this nation into something entirely foreign to what we now know and love. THIS POSSIBILITY EXISTS, and laughing about it or denying it doesn't make it go away.
There is a (very) loose parallel between the suspension of rationality concerning Mr. Obama's true motivations and the blind faith many have in some PACS companies. We are told that they have our best interests at heart, that they will CHANGE your enterprise for the better, when in some instances they deliver a reskinned version of the same GUI that didn't work well in the first place. The beautiful display, like eloquent prose, can be very deceiving. But those who vote on such things, who might not be the radiologists, and who might outnumber those radiologists who care, want to believe that this CHANGE is for the better, whether it is or not. They want to hunker down in the belief that LARGE PACS will take care of them, and be the safe choice. Sound familiar?
Politically, we have got to get beyond the Bush presidency. It was a disaster in many ways, but it's almost over. I voted for Mr. Bush twice, and I have no regrets. The alternatives were unacceptable to me and to a lot of other people. We have to make the decision when we step in the booth, and we do the best we can at that moment. But McCain is not Bush. He will not be a perfect President, and he was not my first choice as a candidate, and nor was Mrs. Palin, but I think McCain will do a good job. He deserves your consideration. As I type this, McCain is giving a speech in Pennsylvania. He has finally, in the last weeks of the campaign, matured into a statesman. His delivery is eloquent and powerful, and his words ring true. This man is a hero, a patriot, a man who loves his nation and fought for it. If you parse his words, no hidden meaning comes to light. We cannot say the same for Mr. Obama's equally eloquent but empty speeches.
Again, the similarities to PACS are uncanny. One company might promise to take the maintenance burden off of IT, to "redistribute" the responsibility, so to speak. Another might appeal to the loyalty to a particular product line, and a third might chide the customer for that very same loyalty.
I have had bitter arguments over the years about whether or not a Windows back-end is as good as those written in UNIX or LINUX, digital bigotry, if you will. I can cite instances of someone favoring a system for this reason alone. Mr. McCain has never used the race card, he has never counted on white people to vote for him simply because he is white, and rightly so. Mr. Obama has made numerous oblique references to race, some subtle such as the "historic nature of this election" and "I don't look like those other presidents" for which he is always forgiven. It is clear that 95%+ of African-Americans will vote for him, racially-motivated or not. But somehow, that's OK. I could go on.
I still have significant questions as to why a half-term US Senator skyrocketed to this position. Has anyone ever asked why he was appointed (some would say anointed) to give the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention? As near as I can tell, he caught the eye and the ear of John Kerry during the 2004 campaign (Kerry's presidential bid, Obama's senatorial bid) with his wonderful prose. We should realize that Mr. Obama won his election after his Republican opponent, Senator Jack Ryan, became mired in a "sex scandal" and withdrew from the contest. According to the Wikipedia, "People alleged to be Barack Obama's backers emailed reporters about the divorce controversy, but refrained from on-the-record commentary about the divorce files. On March 29, 2004, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Schnider ruled that several of the Ryans' divorce records should be opened to the public," and these records alleged that Ryan took his then wife Jeri (of Star Trek Voyager fame) to sex clubs. Mr. Kerry (and I would assume that Mrs. Heinz-Kerry, a true ultra-liberal, had something to do with this as well) decided that Mr. Obama deserved the national stage. I have to believe at some level that there are a few very wealthy, very powerful liberal folks who have decided for us that it is time for the US to have an African-American, liberal president.
Reflecting on the PACS world, this reminds us of the situation wherein the IT department (or to be fair, the occasional rogue radiologist) decides that System X is the only one that will do, and shoves it through the PACS selection process without proper due diligence on the part of everyone else. Trust me, it happens.
I could rant more, but I'll spare you. All I want to accomplish with this post is to make those of you planning to vote for Mr. Obama think about your choice one more time. I will assume your heart is in the right place, and that you want to do the right thing for your country, your family, and yourself. But please be sure you realize what it is you are voting for. What you see on the surface might not reflect what lies beneath, and what lies are beneath that surface. It's sort of like selecting PACS, except with PACS you can at least demand a web-demo. The flaws in an otherwise slickly-demonstrated GUI might become apparent upon a prolonged test. Unfortunately, our test for a President lasts four years, and there can be a lot of damage done in that time.