President's Message - Communicate and Be Heard

by Tom Westerkamp, ICHP President
February 8, 2013

Over the holidays I got a chance to go to the movie theater. My extended family was in from out of town and stayed at our house, so it was good to get out with everyone and go to a large movie complex so everyone could select the movie they wanted to see. Lucky for us, most of the films we wanted to see started at about the same time, so we loaded up a few vans and piled out to the theater. As we waited in line to buy our tickets, clumps began to form, and soon several consensuses were reached, with some selecting a comedy, others an action flick, but I had wanted to see the movie “Lincoln” for a while. It was powerful.

The movie provided insights into a man who had a political agenda to do what was right. He had a passion to correct the wrongs of many generations. The movie showed in great detail the strategy he employed to gather the needed votes to pass the amendment to abolish slavery. It was not easy, and his efforts to persuade, convince, cajole, and even twist arms when needed were inspiring.

The film provided insights into the day to day activities of the politicians in those days, and showed how things got accomplished in Washington when someone really cares about, and is passionate about, an idea. I am sure the same tactics are (or could be) employed today in Springfield. It takes people talking to the politicians to urge them, to persuade them, to provide insights to them on key bills and pending legislation.

The movie also showed the human side of several politicians, especially Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln had a tender side, a passion to do the right thing; he was devoted to his family, and cared deeply for his wife and sons. He had a sense of humor, was compassionate, and cared for others, regardless of their social status, military rank or political affiliation – characteristics about our famous President that are not evident in history books.

What I took away from the film was that many politicians, especially Abraham Lincoln, are human, and basic dialogue can be a wonderful thing when you are trying to communicate an idea or share an issue. People do not want to be lectured at, but simply talked to. Lincoln had great success talking to people. Not everyone agreed with his way of thinking, but he was an effective communicator.

With Pharmacy Legislative Day coming up next month on March 13th, I warmly invite you to join me in Springfield to participate in our legislative process. I assure you, it is not difficult. Our Senators and House Representatives want to hear what’s going on in Pharmacy. They want to hear from us about pending bills that impact the practice of pharmacy. They want to hear from pharmacists, technicians, and pharmacy students what Pharmacy is all about. Our legislators love to hear from their constituents. That’s you and me.

The ICHP office, working together with IPhA, makes it easy to get there and back. They handle the logistics. They arrange the meals and the transportation. They work hard so that our part is easy. Once in Springfield, they help summarize the important bills that involve pharmacy practice and prepare us with key talking points. The staff and volunteers will point you in the right direction, and tour leaders will help you find your local legislators. You can be in a group and follow the crowd, and share your thoughts on what is going on in Pharmacy today.

Consider investing a day away from work and come mingle with the students, talk with your old friends and colleagues, enjoy refreshments on the motor coaches (complete with clean restrooms), watch an exciting or funny movie, walk around and get some insights into how our state government works. If things in Springfield are not working perfectly, this would be a good time to respectfully share your thoughts.

Come join us and see the area that Lincoln worked in while living in Springfield. It will inspire you. Get a glimpse into our local government at work. Talk to a legislator and let them know what pharmacy practice means to you. I hope to see you there. Click here for more information, or to register for Legislative Day.

Thanks for caring.

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