Does the Health Care Debate Need a Vacation?

mouseThere has been a lot of discussion about whether or not Congress should be allowed to take an August recess when there is so much to be done on health care.  Aside from being yelled at and confronted at town halls, and maybe engaging the occasional true Q&A, it doesn’t seem that Senators and Representatives do much on their self assigned vacations.   Today however there is an article in the Science section of the New York Times that might make the case for such a break.

The article, Brain is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop, by Natalie Angier discusses how mice subjected to repeated stresses over and over again would still learn, but they will try the same failed path over and over again or eat mindlessly.  Basically the more the stress piles on the more the mice make choices, which perpetuate a rut regardless of the failed outcome.  It’s an endless loop of failure that leads to more stress and then more failure as they make the same stubborn yet futile choices over and over again.  Much like our current health care debate, where legislators and pundits seem to be on an endless loop of making the same tired points over and over again leading to the same broken system and costs growing higher every day, digging us into an ever deeper rut.

But, here’s the bright spot at the end of the article.  It appears that these mice after four weeks vacation in what Angier calls a “bully-free” supportive environment recovered to their pre-stress induced levels.  They were able to innovate, discriminate and basically make better, fresher choices.  So, here’s what I propose for the members of Congress – don’t worry about looking like you’re slacking off and not taking your job seriously, go off and take a real vacation.  Lose the blackberry, turn off the talk radio and cable news, avoid the papers, and stay off the Internet.  And forget those town halls.  Go somewhere that’s free of bullies and mental tasers and see if you can grow some fresh synapses and a get out of your ideological rut.  I never thought I’d be pro-government vacation (especially since it’s on our dime) but these mice may have a point.  In order to think clearly and think smart you need to take a break from the very things that are stressing you out.  And if that doesn’t work we the people can always vote the rodents out of office come November.

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