If the number of published blog posts is a measure, I am merely a two-day old newborn.  It doesn’t help that it took nearly three-months to publish my first post after activating WestPolicy.  Despite strong feedback and encouragement, the next post took more than fourteen-weeks.  Most readers would expect this is just another failed attempt by a want-to-be blogger that simply isn’t going anywhere.  In reality, I’ve been doing research, primarily on the best way to find my voice as an author and the various pitfalls of mediums such as these.  Nevertheless, I have authored countless ‘blog’ posts via academic discussion boards, and I long for the academic rigor and the exchange that results from well thought-out, logical, and justified arguments.

The solution to the problem of inaction is clear, start writing.  Stop worrying about everything being ‘just right’.  Enjoy the freedom that comes with not having an audience, and use it to my advantage.  Learn how to crawl, then speak; walk- then run.  My character and identity will follow the forthcoming self-discovery found by all those who must navigate adolescent development.  Maturity will follow; in due time.

An unstated problem I fear in launching a blog related to policy development is finding an audience that solely aligns with my point of view.  I see this as a liability.  The very point of a blog is to solicit dialog and thoughtful interaction from which all participants can explore and learn.  But will anyone care about such an endeavor?  This concern helps explain the traditional need for salacious headlines found in commercial endeavors which rely upon drawing readership.  I’ve decided that I can’t concern myself with such issues at this point.  Rather, be aware of the challenge and trust that I will find a way to muddle through when that time comes.

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying” – Friedrich Nietzsche

While this blog is new, my pursuit of evidence-based research with a corresponding ability to articulate points of view, is not.  The reality is I need to start writing and exploring.  So that is what I am setting out to do- write and discover.  I need to do so within a word length that an audience will tolerate.  At this stage, I am more interested in finding dialog and interaction with others.  I will surely tackle some ‘wicked problems’, as there are few ‘easy’ policy issues left in this advanced stage of party aligned ideology.  I hope to work past barriers such as these and rely upon the idea that any forthcoming audience will accept that mine is an emerging voice in a crowded and noisy environment.  It will take some time to build a body of work that will better identify this burgeoning vision of what ‘could be’.  In the coming months, and (hopefully) years, I hope to influence policy leaders to construct public decisions based upon a foundation of research and knowledge.

Public opinion is fickle- but too often the ‘loudest’ or ‘greatest-financed’ voices are the only motivating factor in decisions that truly matter.  It is foolhardy to believe that research can be the sole motivation from which we govern.  Experts from the applicable or relevant fields of study and practice, both direct and indirect, also play an important role in this experiment.  I hope to find the voice of these professionals within the resulting interaction and help provide a medium from which their expertise will cultivate this interplay.

I do not seek unilateral points of view, collaboration is the goal.  The expression of different points of view is desired, but personal attacks and unsubstantiated arguments must be prevented.  If there is an aspect of a topic that disputed, I simply ask that the rebutal be supported with research or substantiated by evidentiary arguments.  Historically, I purposely turn to sources that I do not naturally align with.  I see great value in opposing points of view and the interaction that follows.  The search for value and insight within foreign perspectives is where true learning seems to occur.  Perhaps that same discovery will result for others.

My interests are broad.  Perhaps that is part of the reason why I believe a blog will provide an appropriate outlet to explore the vast range of issues that appeal to me.  My goal is to construct a trusted source whereby both students and policy makers may reliably turn for source material of knowledge and respected insight.  It is not lost upon me that this blog will span a length of time that will expose my theory to evolution of thought.  As the effect of this project ripples outward, I trust that new value and discovery will result for all who choose to follow this journey.

Please join me, if you will, as we work together to explore what could be.  If you would like to contribute as an author, I am more than willing to expose that possibility as well.  In a world that relies upon both academic and practical application of principle and strategy, I believe these attributes are sorely missing in many of today’s debates.  This endeavor is an attempt to fill that gap.  Please follow WestPolicy by pressing the light blue WordPress button on the sidebar.  I thank you for your consideration and contribution.


WSJ Children of Opioid CrisisRead WSJ: The Children of the Opioid Crisis

The school year had just begun, it was early in the morning.  I vividly recall responding to the home of this particular overdose victim.  She was unconscious in the bathtub, the shower raining down as if that would help save her life.  Her father, frantically directing us toward the bathroom.  Her son had forgotten about his now soggy breakfast cereal on the living room coffee table as cartoons played on the television.  The boy was terrified.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his young mind as we walked by with all of our equipment.

The naloxone did its job… this time.

Six weeks later, give or take a few days.  It was early in the morning.  The address we were responding to seemed familiar.  As the EMS crews entered the still well-kept home, we knew exactly how to find the bathroom.  We knew our patient would be soaking wet.  There was one significant difference.  The boy was visibly angry.  We were in his way.  My medics were inadvertently blocking his view of the early morning cartoons.  While jockeying for an unobstructed view, he slammed his spoon down in frustration causing milk to splatter.  I notice another another difference.  This young boys face had become callous.

I can’t imagine what had transpired in such a short period of time.

The naloxone did its job… again.