A blue ribbon panel advising President Barack Obama has identified three major challenges facing the nation in creating a comprehensive solution that will take us into the 21st Century.
What problem is it solving? Immigration, maybe? Hate crimes? Rural Internet speeds? Doesn’t matter.
In a recent official statement, this commission reached a state of bureaucratic zen that achieves togetherness with all other commissions.
If you take out a few giveaway nouns and verbs from this actual statement, the commissioners could be talking about anything. Or everything. Or nothing.
Let’s play some Bureaucratic MadLibs, and see if we can’t fix this deep-seated societal problem.
_______ Today and Envisioning a Stronger _________ System for the Future
As the Commission nears the end of its work on the issue of ____________, it is clear that there are no simple answers to this complex challenge.
There have been promising findings from a few communities that have come together in ways that appear to be reducing _______________. These approaches are hopeful, and the Commission will build its recommendations off of what we’ve learned about what works and what does not and what approaches appear to hold promise. Unfortunately, we found only a few well-researched programs that are demonstrated to ______________ and only a handful of communities that had chosen to attempt to _______________. Furthermore, we found that a coordinated national response that reflects and responds to the urgency of the present crisis is lacking.
Based on the promising efforts we observed, we identified three major challenges facing communities that hindered efforts to reform _____________:
First, there is a lack of sustained leadership and accountability at the federal, state, and local levels. Leadership on this issue will require strategic planning, coordination across multiple agencies, sustained focus, and a level of resources to bring about significant change.
There is also a lack of evidence-based research and clear data about _________________. There is no standard mandated reporting system _______________, and definitions, investigative procedures, and reporting requirements vary from state to state.
And finally, a lack of cross-system collaboration places too much of the onus on ______ for __________________.
As we have heard from agencies across the spectrum, in order for any strategy to succeed, it will need to include a multidisciplinary model that features meaningful and mutually accountable partnerships among ________________, and more. We recognize that this kind of deeply rooted collaboration, while necessary to generate real and lasting solutions, takes time.
Yet we know that there is no time to waste if we are to ______________right now, today. As we completed this work, we read hundreds of headlines about ____________________. Not a day has gone by that we haven’t thought about _____________.
That is why, as we near the release of our final report, our Commission is reviewing options for both immediate recommendations that will begin to ____________ right away and comprehensive changes to create a redefined _______________ of the 21st century.
Solving the issue of _____________________is within our reach, if we can apply the lessons of the past, act with urgency to _______________, and create a new vision for a more effective ____________ system of the future.
Who is this is
If you guessed that this is obviously the work of a commission trying to figure out how to spot native-born jihadis, you’d be wrong. This is the work of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities – neglect in this case being a modifier and not a verb, or you’d get entirely the wrong idea about what they’re up to.
No laughing matter, to be sure. But Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform spotted this masterwork, turned it into MadLibs, and let us steal it. We’d have credited him at the top, but it kind of gives away the punchline.
The commission wants to spend billions of federal dollars on more child abuse investigations, but Wexler says that will just create more misery, destroying tens of thousands of decent families simply because they are poor, and condemning their children to a broken system. His point is that the commission’s work is so “devoid of content” that its report could be talking about anything.
“Whatever problem you used to fill in the blanks, odds are it was an issue with serious consequences for a lot of people,” Wexler writes. “The issue of child abuse fatalities is among the most serious imaginable. But it is throwing platitudes at the problem that trivializes it, not pointing out that those platitudes and recycled bad ideas are all this commission has got.”
Contact Jon Cassidy at email@example.com or at @jpcassidy000.