Let me ask you a question about health care and hijacking. But first, here’s the set-up. Suppose a bunch of us get together and decide to charter a plane to take us on a fishing trip to Alaska. We need to hire a pilot, co-pilot and cabin crew. All the applicants for these positions assure us they’re familiar with our aircraft and are amply qualified to fly this plane. They provide us with lists of their qualifications and demonstrate some familiarity with the applicable rules and regulations. Every single applicant promises to obey the rules and deliver us safely to our chosen location.
After careful review of all the applicants’ résumés and after thorough interviews, we select the personnel that seem to be best suited to take us where we want to go.
Once we’re airborne, the pilot’s voice comes over the p.a. system. “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for choosing us as your flight crew. We thought you’d like to know we’ve decided to change destinations and we’re now headed for the tropics. Please ignore the turbulence. Relax and enjoy the ride.”
Naturally, we are annoyed as we hired this guy to take us to a specified location. We never intended to meddle in such details as air speed and altitude. That’s his job. But we’re not prepared to let him unilaterally decide to completely alter our course.
So, we notify the senior cabin attendant that we don’t like what the pilot’s doing and we want him to get back on track and get back to doing what we hired him to do. She smiles and says she’ll talk it over with the captain.
When she comes out of the cockpit, she asks for a show of hands. “How many of you like the tropics?” We’re a cooperative bunch, so almost all of us raise our hands. She smiles. “Fine. I’ll inform the captain.”
Most of us cry out as one. “Wait a minute. We like the tropics all right, but we don’t want to go there right now and we don’t want to go on this plane.” She disappears into the cockpit and we have no idea what’s going on in there, but the plane is still headed for the tropics.
When she steps out again, she has a message from the pilot. “He says you’ll love it once you get there. You really don’t know how great it’s going to be. In fact, it’ll be historic. He really, really appreciates your opinion, but, for now, you’re better off accepting the fact that we’ve changed our destination. May I offer you a cocktail?”
We’re starting to get hot. “Tell the pilot this is not his plane. This is our plane and we get to decide where it’s going. You go in there and tell him to do what he was hired to do. Maybe he can talk us into going to the tropics later. But we don’t want to go there now. Go tell him.”
But the senior cabin attendant wants to argue with us. “This plane needs to go to the tropics right now because a change in course will be good for some of the passengers. In fact, some of the passengers really want to go to the tropics and you all agree you like the tropics.”
We’re trying to hold our tempers. “That’s not the point. You’re co-opting our flight plan against our wishes. You can’t make us go to the tropics just because we put you at the controls.” She disappears into the cockpit again.
This time when she comes out, she says, “The plane is on auto pilot to the tropics. It’s been on autopilot before and no one complained. So we’re leaving it on autopilot this time and we’re on final approach. Please be sure your tray tables and seat backs are in the upright and locked positions.”
Well, we’ve had enough. Several of us force our way into the cockpit, give the pilot a good spanking and force him to take us to Alaska where we were headed in the first place.
Now here’s the question. In the above scenario, who is the hijacker? No matter how you answer it, one thing’s for sure: When we are ready to go to the tropics, we’re not going to have the same guy flying the plane.
Today, March 4, is the 223rd anniversary of the first meeting of the U.S. Congress. They don’t make ’em like they used to.
I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.
Wed, March 3, 2010
by Michael Hinkle