Inch by inch

So I went to the chiropractor’s office this morning and played with his dog Spot, a charming little Lhaso Apso, while I waited. (I’m very grateful that he agreed to let me pay him after I get my settlement.) When he came in the room, he handed me a photocopy of a column about Michael Vick, and how people shouldn’t forget what he did to dogs.

I told him I certainly understood why he felt that way, but that I didn’t agree. I said it was my understanding that animal abusers had usually been abused or neglected themselves, that Vick had done a lot to rehabilitate himself, that Eagles owner Jeff Lurie and his wife were huge animal lovers and talked to Vick for several hours before deciding his regrets were sincere. I told him I preferred to wait and see if he was as changed as he appeared to be.

This segued into a discussion about rehabilitation, how the politics prevented DAs from funding programs that worked because voters seemed to prefer the “lock them up and throw away the key” philosophy.

I think it was at this point that he proudly proclaimed himself “an independent. I just stand on the sidelines and observe.” I was lying on the mechanical massage table at this point, but I still had enough breath to tell him he was kidding himself.

“Look, if you watch a baseball game but you don’t know anything about the strategy, you can figure out that the point of the game is to hit the ball and run the bases,” I said. “But you won’t really know what’s going on if you’re not informed, if you don’t know how to interpret the different levels at which the game is played.

“It’s the same with politics. I read this crap all the time, and it just drives me nuts when people who are not very well informed act as if their opinions are equivalent to my facts.”

Ah, he said. But the people who opposed me felt the same way about their facts.

“No, that’s absolutely not true. That’s a false equivalency, because they’re not usually dealing with facts. They have opinions based on their emotions, and then try to justify them. My opinions are based on actual information,” I said. “I weigh things, I analyze them. When you’re talking to someone who quotes Fox News, Newsmax, or right wing websites, those aren’t facts. That’s propaganda. When someone insists that the president is a Kenyan, and not an American, that’s just crazy.”

He said he just figured even if Obama wasn’t born here, his kids were, and he would want to make the country better for his kids. (Which means he wasn’t informed enough to know how insane that accusation is.)

I reminded him that regular doctors had pretty strong opinions about chiropractic medicine that they firmly believed were grounded in fact. “When someone refuses to educate themselves with the facts, but insists he knows the truth, that person’s opinions are not equal to yours,” I said.

He admitted that it “made him crazy” when people did that about his specialty.

“Then you have to understand: I have a large body of knowledge, grounded in specific types of experiences, I read more than any human being should in one day — which is why my neck and shoulders are so screwed up — and I have enough understanding to interpret it,” I said.

“I also have a pretty long track record of being right. So while someone may have opinions, it is unlikely it’s grounded in anything like the same depth. I’ve spent much of my life feeling apologetic about being smarter and more perceptive than most people, and I’m just not doing it anymore.”

So then he asked me about the Catfood Commission report, and whether I thought they were really going to get rid of the mortgage interest deduction — because he was looking at houses.

“No, that’s just to make the other stuff seem reasonable,” I said. “They’re really using this as cover to go after Social Security.” That was when I explained to him it was in his economic self-interest to support social programs like unemployment benefits.

“I promise you this: If things go on the way they’re going, we’ll end up like Brazil: The people with money in armed, gated communities, and poor people kidnapping them and holding them for ransom.”

“Really? That’s what Brazil is like?” he said.

Yep, I said. And we’re well on our way if this keeps up.

6 thoughts on “Inch by inch

  1. Private security forces and ‘green zones’ in Iraq were funded by tax payers as a test to prove viability of these ‘gated communities’ for the uber-wealthy here at home. No way to storm the castle when they turn the over sized microwave transmitters on the peasants either. So, just shut up and go back to work, if you’re deemed worthy of a job. Bow down to the rich or watch your children starve. The social engineering has already begun.
    Notice how illegal immigration is such a big issue. Let’s turn the poor white people and the poor brown people against the poor tan people. As they fight amongst themselves for the scraps we leave, nobody will notice that we’ve already collected all the money and all the property, (bank collapse and foreclosures anyone?).

  2. “I’ve spend much of my life feeling apologetic about being smarter and more perceptive than most people, and I’m just not doing it anymore.”

    You’re singing my song. Although I’m nowhere near as smart as you, I’m way, way smarter than the rank and file Tea Partiers who just turned over my state — Florida — to a bunch of self-serving corporate shills who don’t give a rat’s ass about ordinary middle and lower class voters. But somehow, it’s very hard for me to explain to my neighbors how they are being played. I understand perfectly why they are angry, but I find it impossible to make them see that they have been manipulated to blame the very leaders who would do most to help them. It makes my head explode and at the same time breaks my heart because many of them — especially my relatives — are genuinely good people who are just incredibly gullible and misinformed. Fox News and its enablers on talk radio rule the local air waves, and a string of libertarian newspapers hold a monopoly on daily newspapers across the region.

  3. You’re an inspiration to me, Susie. I’m just exhausted being a liberal; at best, I get a patronizing pat on the head and at worst, well, you know how bad worst can be.

    Liberals have been successfully banished to the far fringes of discourse while magical-thinking neanderthals make the front page, and the reason is clear to me. We can’t be fooled quite so easily. That makes us dangerous. But we’ve been shut out of the discussion entirely and are therefore not a concern to the oligarchy, so I see no way to win. But not you. You just keep on keeping on, one person at a time.

  4. I find it difficult to take this post seriously coming from someone who sees huge differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Specifically believing that Clinton is some sort of Progressive Warrior while Obama is presented as some caricature of a wing nut in Democratic clothing. They are both moderate, DNC/DLC types who would have governed roughly the same way. You spent the primaries concocting incredibly convoluted excuses for all the problematic parts of Clinton’s bio whilst screaming from the rooftops about every single utterance made by Obama. I still shake my head in disbelief over your stance during our argument regarding campaign donations. Her acceptance of money from Wall St. good; his acceptance of money from Wall St. bad.
    What “facts” are you using that make Hillary Clinton (and Mark “Let’s Bust Another Union” Penn) into the saviors of the working class?

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