“let them eat cake”

Politics isn’t my forte. For the most part I avoid it. It pisses me off. If you’re reading this chances are you know about “the number one offender” of the recovering sort. So today I’m about as apolitical as I once was amoral. In other words, completely.

A couple of the bloggers I like have waxed political, or perhaps philosophical, as of late. Depression Introspection posted the thought provoking Politics yesterday. Angryballerina posted phooookit rantamble, a visceral rant, today. They’re both interesting, if you like that kind of thing. One of the ladies is religious. See if you can figure out which one.

There must be something in the air. An encounter I had with a relative today caused me to want to address perceptions. Our conversation was on the pending presidential election in general and a couple of the politicians and issues in particular. It hammered home a point I’ve been aware of for some years now; people see what they want to see. Facts and evidence are cherry picked to support whatever set of preconceptions we’ve grown comfortable with. To borrow a line from an otherwise forgettable Dustin Hoffman movie (Hero), “It’s all bullshit. You just have to find the level of bullshit you’re comfortable with.”

My relative was very disturbed about Barack Obama. “He could be a muslim” he informed me.

“Yeah, and he could be a Klingon” I was thinking. Hell I don’t know who or what he is other than a name in the paper and face on the tube.

“He’s pro-gay. He said he believes in the Sermon on the Mount and not some obscure passage in Romans, the most doctrinally important book in the Bible”.

He had me there. I didn’t dare share my theory about the Christians largely ignoring the teachings of their God in favor of those of a demented zealot. Had I, physical combat would have instantly ensued.

“His minister is a racist. He said god-damn the white man right from pulpit!” Shocked expression. Face red. Veins popping out of his neck. “I just hope McCain will have the sense to use that in an ad”. He was pleased with himself for thinking of that. It seemed to relax him a little.

Again he had me. I thought about asking him why he thought an older black man might not like white folks but I didn’t want to have to do CPR on the bastard.

“All that stuff about healthcare. 47 million uninsured. I don’t believe it! Anybody that wants to can just go to the emergency room. It’s all a lie spread by the media. Nobody does without healthcare in this country.”

I had him, or so I thought. “Well, I don’t know about 47 million” I said. I do know that I’ve suffered with chronic, debilitating pain that I couldn’t get any help for, and for about eight years now.”

The veins again. “Well did you go to the emergency room? Well did ya!?”

“Well it wasn’t exactly that kind …” he cut me off.

“I just want to know if you went to the emergency room.” This was more statement than question.

“No, I never did.”

“Well then. You don’t know if you didn’t even go to the emergency room.” He was more than a little pleased with himself. “The emergency rooms are full of people from the projects that just have colds or sore throats. The emergency rooms have to treat them. Why wouldn’t they go? It’s not like they’re ever going to pay for it.”

And I’m finding it hard to believe that people so poor they have to live in the projects aren’t going to make good on a $5,000 dollar hospital bill. Again, though, discretion is that better part of valor with much of my family. One side’s like He-Haw, the other like something from a creepy Faulkner novel. Sometimes I get them mixed up. I gave up and shut up. After all, who’s the bigger fool, the fool or the one who argues with him? The other fool in this particular story is probably pretty close to a millionaire. He came up hard, but I think he’s blocked all memory of what that was like out.

What irked me about this whole exchange is that I see this bastard at least once a week. He was here, nearly eight years ago, on one of the days I was about to pass out from the back pain. He’s seen me go from shitster job to shitster job to no job, and all because I can’t cope with the pain and the depression that has plagued me even longer than the back pain has. He’s seen me return to active addiction after seven years of continuous sobriety, at least in some part due to pain and depression, not to mention the emasculation of not working regularly.

I guess the point of all this is that he actually hasn’t seen any of that. He sees what he wants to see, probably something like a lost-punk-doper-bum who’s getting what he deserves. He’s never offered me one word of encouragement, much less say a helping hand. He’s mister Jesus though. Church every time the doors are open. Mission trips to Vermont and Mexico every year. There’s no doubt in my mind he sees himself as an ultra-spiritual sort of super-Christian.

I’m willing to conceded that I don’t know him any better than I do Senator Obama. I see him all the time but he’s buried beneath so much bullshit that I don’t think either of us has the slightest idea what he’s really like. (And I sure as hell don’t know the real me.) To me he seems like a miserable-misguided little bastard, but I can’t prove it. I don’t have to because it’s not my problem. Not anymore.

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9 Responses to ““let them eat cake””


  1. 1 angryballerina March 15, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    No cake for me,, goes straight to my ass..

  2. 2 bottlecappie March 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Yeah, the ER is no place to treat chronic illness. Plus, doesn’t he know that uninsured people using the ER for non-emergency health-care drives up costs for everyone? Who does he think pays for the county hospital?

    And the county hospitals are so overcrowded and understafed. Last summer my husband ahd to lay on a stretcher in the HALL for 2 days with a shattered ankle until someone could see him. And then they SET his shattered ankle in that same hallway (in full view of a grip of onlookers) and they couldn’t properly anestesize him because there was no back-up equipment in case he stopped breathing. Because it was the hallway, arrrg! And that is normal around there, and I’m sure it’s even worse in other public hospitals, but sure, go the the ER with a sore throat.

    My parents are clueless like this too. I will question them about the way they vote, and the consequences of voting that way and when it comes down to it, to them, $600 or $1000 in their pocket as a result of the Repub tax breaks means more to them than the wellbeing of poor people or the future of the country. Oh, that and making sure that gay people can’t marry – because that would somehow affect them in some way that they can’t really articulate…

    Gah!

  3. 3 Prester John March 15, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    bottlecappie – I think a big part of what motivates my relative and his wife is some unconscious need to have it better than somebody. They think most people are going to hell, and while they would seem to be concerned, even to the point of actually aggravating folks over it, I bet they like “knowing” most of us are gonna burn. Additionally, I suspect they like having people to look down on socio-economically. The only unforgivable (if unspoken) sin in America is to be poor. They’re just fearful-hateful-assholes that buy into all that simple-minded right-wing propaganda.

  4. 4 Prester John March 15, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    angry – as high-strung as you seem to be if you start hitting the gym you’ll be able to eat whatever (whoever?) doesn’t eat you first. It’ll help with the smoking too.

  5. 5 ocdiva March 17, 2008 at 8:24 am

    God! Do we all have the same family? There are people out there addicted to their money, whatever “status” they think it gives them, and their need to have it better than somebody, unconscious or not.

    I have just been dealing with this myself. Please see my recent post: http://ocdiva.wordpress.com/2008/03/15/greed-is-a-bitch/

  6. 6 Prester John March 18, 2008 at 5:49 am

    ocdiva – I think a lot our experiences are similar, that is those of us who have left the fold, so to speak. Personally, I think the evangelicals, as a group, are the cheapest, meanest, lyinest, cheatenest, back-stabbinest, two-facededest mfs in the world. I try not to dwell on it, anymore, because I’ve yet to be struck wonderful myself. Plus, when they’re not pissing me off, they’re wonderful for my ego, and a clown like me can use any ego boost he can get.

  7. 7 bottlecappie March 22, 2008 at 1:09 am

    We are going to have so much fun when we all get to hell!

  8. 8 Prester John March 22, 2008 at 5:54 am

    bottlecappie – I’m working on a tune …

    When I get down to hell
    First thing I’m gonna do
    Is look up ol Duane Allman
    And Jimi Hendrix too.

    If I had a day job, I wouldn’t quit it. Well I would, but it wouldn’t be smart.


  1. 1 two four one « Cracked Head Blog Trackback on March 17, 2008 at 10:43 am

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