Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Logic of the Left

Mingling with progressives can set your head spinning.  I spent a few hours over at  Occupy DC a few days ago. Since then,  I just keep scratching my head about  the "logic" they seem to live by.  Aside from the obvious--they are against greed, but they want your stuff---- they seem to be mixed up about a few basic things such as media, basic human needs, health care, and gender.

A very striking gentleman with hair down to his waist was disappointed with recent media coverage of the tar sands protest. He had marched over to Pennsylvania Avenue with some 12,000 people, and they had "surrounded the White House" just a few days earlier. He was angry because the Washington Post should have had that on the front page, but instead, they buried the story in a backpage paragraph. I suggested that possibly the Washington Post was not all that excited about letting the world know that thousands of people were unhappy with the Obama administration. Could that explain why, if indeed twelve thousand people had surrounded the White House, that the Post buried the story? That surely could not be it, he told me. Because the Washington Post is a right wing paper. Owned by Rupert Murdoch.

When I arrived at McPherson Square, 
I stopped at the information tent
to plan my way home. I asked where the 
McPherson Square metro station was,
but the young man sitting there surrounded by maps
had absolutely no idea. I found it a few minutes later, about
fifty yards behind the tent. In plain sight.
This I had to question. So I followed in the wake of the flowing mane of hair as its wearer led me over the information tent, where we sought for confirmation. The man sitting at the booth behind all the maps and all the fliers, really didn't think Murdoch owns the Post, but he was not entirely sure. He knew that Murdoch owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, but he was not certain about the Post.  Ah, said the man with the mane. That might explain it. He has always gotten the Wall Street Journal and  the Washington Post mixed up. But ever since he started reading the Washington Post, it has been full of right wing crap, that was for sure.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson stops by Occupy DC
Jesse Jackson showed up. Here's a man with hard-to-follow logic. "You are here in the great tradition of fighting for justice", he bellowed to a crowd of a couple of dozen occupiers. "Let nobody break your spirit." That was all well and good, but later, he would say a phrase, and everyone would repeat it back to him, kind of like what you might do if you were a preschooler and were eagerly following the teacher along in repeating nursery rhymes.
Respect Us (Respect Us)
Protect Us (Protect Us)
Respect Us (Respect Us)
Protect Us (Protect Us). It is odd and quite pathetic to hear grown adults chanting Protect Us, Protect Us, to some public figure. He had told them to focus on the need for jobs and justice. He wanted them to get America to focus again on poverty. The Reverend wanted them "to fight to put the Glass Steagle Act  revived". (sic).  Soon enough, Jackson had everyone chanting
"We need jobs now. (We need jobs now.)
 We need Health care now. (We need Health care now.)
We need places to live now. (We need places to live now.)"
One wonders how you can possibly hope to empower people by encouraging them to demand that others take care of their basic needs. I guess it seems logical to those on the left, but they have me lost on that one.

Speaking of needing health care now, the Bob I mentioned in an earlier post is one who definitely wants health care now. Universal health care. "You know", he says "like the health care they have in France and Germany and Switzerland that no one has to pay for, you just walk in and you get whatever you need. For nothing".  I pointed out that having universal health care may seem to be "free" but it does not mean you will get care if or when you need it. I started to tell him the story of my cousin in Canada with knee problems who had to wait eight weeks.  Just in case Bob was in danger of taking away the misimpression that my cousin got treated after eight weeks,  I started to explain that the eight week wait was for the xray. Not to GET the xray, mind you. The eight week wait was to get the appointment. The appointment to call for the xray. My cousin was told they could not schedule the xray that day. No, she needed to call back eight weeks later and at that point, they would talk to her and would schedule the xray.  How long did it take to  actually get that xray after the eight week wait for the scheduling had passed?  I don't know. But Bob would not let me tell him the story of all that. Instead he just told me "they have free health care in Thailand. Yeah, I think it's Thailand, so she could have gone to Thailand and gotten the knee replacement surgery."

Seriously? My Canadian cousin would be welcome to storm into Thailand and the Thais would be glad to give her a knee operation for free? Sounds a little fishy to me, but then I did not study with a lot of progressive professors,  so maybe I just don't understand. Plus, my cousin is elderly, so she might not find traveling across the world and making arrangements in Thailand to be particularly convenient. My eighty year old  cousin does not even know how to use the internet, for heaven's sake.  Not to mention all this would require extensive funds, even if the Thai government was going to make a gift of the surgery. She would have to buy a plane ticket and a hotel and meals. Bob assured me though that, if Thailand didn't work, she could always just come here to America for the knee replacement surgery. One thing Bob  was right about, is that you can get knee surgery scheduled pretty fast here in the US. See how that works? Canada may have free "universal" health care, but if the people do not wish to wait the obligatory waiting period, they can just come to the US and get immediate care. Bob explained to me, that my cousin just doesn't know how to play the system.

And then Bob reiterated that the US absolutely must go to universal health care system so that we can be like Canada and Europe. If Bob is aware that universal health care comes with universal wait times.....very long ones.......why is he incapable of extrapolating? It might be that once we get universal health care, we too will have absurdly long wait times! And does he wonder where the Canadians will go then? (Oh yeah, Thailand. I forgot).

"These guidelines were consented upon by the General Assembly at
Occupy DC-K Street based on proposals by the Safe Occupation
committee and the Guidelines Super Committee. 
I owe my readers an apology, by the way about the long-haired person I mentioned above. I maybe should not have called him a man. I think I should have called him a comrade. Oh, did I say "HIM"? How can we know if anyone is a "HIM"? There are very clear rules prominently posted at Occupy DC. No one can tell who is a HIM and who is a HER, so it is best to avoid those kinds of terms. Here's one of the rules:
Rule Number 10: Do not assume anyone's gender. When possible go with gender neutral pronouns and nouns, such as friend/comrade instead of brother/sister.
So there you have it. From the "right wing" reporting of the Washington Post, to the infantilized comrades chanting for  health care just like Thailand, and the mysterious location of the McPherson Square Metro Station,  I am less and less perplexed as to why the Occupiers don't seem to be gaining a whole lot of traction with the America which looks on at this whole spectacle.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2011 by the author of this blog. Use with permission only.

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