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The Way I See It

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I am a recently retired emergency physician, having worked for 23 years. Those who work in the emergency department have a unique perspective of society. All of society's problems end up in the emergency department: homelessness, poverty, violence, addiction, hunger and obesity both, untreated mental illness, and untreated chronic illness. Through this wave of social dysfunction, this maximal-volume noise, the emergency physician must detect those patients with serious medical illnesses. It is a difficult job.

Working in this environment for so long has taught me one thing. The "survival of the fittest" ethos that permeates our society is grinding the average citizen into dust. Unless you are born into a favorable situation, you have a very uphill climb in our country. The unfair playing field makes people crazy. It also makes people sick, because medical care costs so much money. Because of the propaganda efforts by those that really run this country, I don't think the average person realizes this reality. They think we actually live in a society of "haves, and soon to haves", as Marco Rubio put it. They think our problems result from terrorists, immigrants, Islamist extremists, socialists, communists, and whatever other scapegoats you can offer. Don't forget the "personal responsibility" card as well. No realization of the fact that where you end up in life depends largely on where you start. The majority of our population fails to grasp that the root cause of their misery is the scarcity culture that has been in place since the industrial revolution.

On Election Day, I played golf with my father and his friends. I am the token liberal. I think they would all disagree with the above opinions I just expressed. I was struck by the tone of the conversation when the subject of the election came up. The conversation went to maximal volume. I was swept up in it. My point of the unfitness of Donald Trump clashed with Hilary the liar. I love my father and am fond of his friends. However, I realized that when it came to politics, we were separate species. Two days later I made this point with my dad and his friends. I told them there was nothing I could say that would change their minds. There was nothing they could say to change my mind. They see Obama as a red-toothed socialist, I see a centrist backed by corporate America. Where they see America as a land of opportunity, I see a land saddled with debt and a 6% chance of pulling yourself out of poverty. They see billionaires as "job-creators", I see pre-birth lottery winners. They see Donald Trump as a populist outsider who will shake up the system, I see a con-man billionaire who is the system. Listen to the media. Those who voted for Trump are ignorant cretins, and those that voted for Clinton are elitist snobs that want to create an atheist-socialist nightmare and take the guns away.

Where is the common ground that Trump and Obama talked of to try and pacify our country? I don't see it. Blue America and Red America have lost the ability to communicate. My dad said to give Trump a chance, that maybe he could somehow govern for everyone. I pointed out that men like Rudy Giuliani surround Trump. When Giuliani was asked about the 50% who didn't vote for Trump, he bellowed "WHO CARES ABOUT THE OTHER SIDE?!?!?!" There is no common ground in our political system, only domination.

Here is an interesting thought-experiment. Right now Red and Blue are like two spouses who do nothing but shout at each other. Imagine that Red America and Blue America should get a divorce. When spouses can't communicate anymore, that's the signal for divorce, right? Divide the country's territory and assets in half. This will split many families as well, just like marriages that end in divorce. Red America can set up their government based on survival of the fittest, and Blue America can set up their system based on progressive ideals. It is easy to imagine that there would be a net migration from Red to Blue after a couple of years. It is also easy to imagine violent conflict between the new countries, as Red America would soon view Blue as an existential threat.

Well, that is how Red America views Blue America now. Vitriolic figures such as Ann Coulter characterize progressive ideals as TREASON! Their entire propaganda apparatus is dedicated to perpetuating survival of the fittest, denigrating any thoughts of compromise and cooperation as weakness. Even when democrats win individual battles, they can never win the war. Why? Red America has all of the money. At least they have more billionaires on their side. The Republican Party was supposedly in disarray in 2012. Because of their limitless cash and relentless propaganda, it is the Democrats who appear ruined only four years later. Though the federal government is exchanged back and forth between the two sides, the majority of state legislatures and governorships are under Red control, primarily from the differential advantage in financing that Red America enjoys. The only way that Blue America can compete is to be beholden to the same financiers as Red America, preventing true reform.

So, in dismay, I accept this depressing reality. American society will rage in endless conflict. The billionaires at the top of the pyramid will never relinquish their privileged position. It is their instinct to dominate. Our elections will continue to require mountains of cash to get elected, preserving the oligarchy the billionaires prefer. Our media will require mountains of cash to exist, preserving the means of opinion manipulation. Our country has been at war somewhere my entire life. We will continue our foreign policy of endless war, as this creates a huge military presence, an added insurance in case the proles get restless. Leaving the country is not a solution either, as American oligarchs are everywhere, portraying control as freedom.

I believe that the way humanity has organized itself is fundamentally flawed. This flawed system is polluting a warming planet, eliminating biodiversity through mass-extinction events, and inflicting misery on the majority of the human population worldwide. Red America denies these realities as Blue propaganda. I confess the prospect of permanent conflict saddens me. I fear I will grow weary from the struggle sometimes. Our problems cannot be summarized with slogans. I wish I knew how to communicate with the Red mind.

I want to end my essay with a message of hope. I am thankful that more than 50% of America agrees with me. I'm thankful for the progressives that carry on despite such staggering odds. I too will do my part. I'm very lucky. I have a wonderful wife. We have two terrific daughters and a terrific son (they are 20-year-old triplets). My parents, brother, sister, extended family and friends are a stabilizing force for me, even though many subscribe to Red America. I have many reasons to continue to function in what I deem is a vicious world. I am non-religious. However, there is one belief that keeps me going. The duality of our species is a struggle between the creative and the destructive. I think it requires slightly more intelligence to be creative; therefore, this aspect of our nature will eventually win out. I cannot prove this. This is the only aspect of faith in my life. The universe is big, old and indifferent. There is room for humanity to blossom away from scarcity. Can cooperation become as vital as competition? This is a vision worth fighting for.


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Retired Emergency Physician.
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