“AMERICA DIDN’T BECOME GREAT BY ACCIDENT.”
July 26, 2020
David Puro, M.D., F.A.C.C.
HEARTHEADED – One doctor’s healthcare (among other) rants and musings.
WHEN RIGHT IS RIGHT, WHAT’S LEFT?
I’m the only conservative among the blood relatives in my family. For years I’d related a decade old telephone conversation with a relative as an example of parallel liberal-to-conservative sociopolitical evolution, (he’s stayed back East, I’ve migrated from NY to CA). So I thought it was time for my next 10-year call. He’s a smart and logical guy, and after the familial updates, we got around to discussing COVID and I expressed my view that eventually we’d overcome the pandemic, but I wasn’t as sure about the rent in our sociopolitical fabric. He responded, “Yeah, we need to get that guy out of office.” I’d erroneously assumed that if anyone would be immune to the “orange man bad” rhetoric, it would be him; and his casual response indicated that, like others on the left, he was certain I shared his beliefs. We avoided lengthy discussions of the issues, agreeing that we would be unlikely to change the other’s mind, but he did ask what seemed to me to be his litmus test of the depth of my eccentricity: my view on climate change (the implication being it is “settled science”). Both of us lacking the time for an in-depth discussion, I accepted that I’d likely be viewed a “flat-earther” and simply indicated that I’d researched the subject, listened to speakers on both sides of the issue (yes, there are two), and believed the climate is warming but don’t subscribe to the alarmist take that is being used for political purposes, or the validity of the proposed “solutions.”
Interactions like this with people I respect that have a divergent world view are profound and frequently cause me to pause and reevaluate my current beliefs. However, the opposing viewpoints and reportage, rather than becoming more coherent, are diverging more and more from the overt reality, sometimes expressed through hyperbole, and often via omission or outright lies. These tactics are not limited to the Left, only extraordinarily more extreme and frequent to an extent that continues to amaze me. There is little question the apparent success the radical Left has achieved would not have been possible in the absence of control of the mainstream media, an educational system with preconditioned minds, and the ability to disproportionately filter major social media sites such as Twitter, Google, and to a lesser extent, Facebook. For normally intelligent, logical and discerning people to look at all the information and boil it down to “Trump” seems to me to be impossible. There are bad people who are willfully using misinformation to accrue power, but the people I’m referring to are honest, well-intentioned, and bright. So only two possibilities remain: I’m wrong or they are misinformed. My having acquired a conservative state of mind via a liberal upbringing and a difficult evolution, I’ve excluded delusion through nurture. And there are countless historical and contemporary examples of the end result of what is happening now in the US, if one is willing to critically examine them. In addition, my perception spans a couple of decades, long before COVID, Black Lives Matter, Inc., or Trump. So my only conclusion is that good people on the left are being pounded again and again with the same inaccurate or incomplete information; they are far less likely to seriously listen to conservative sources than I am to visit liberal/Leftist ones—I can hardly avoid them. My occasional visits to some right-wing opinion sites I normally avoid due to excessive pro-Trump bias confirm that even they cite facts more frequently and completely than the Leftist equivalent.
I recognize that it’s difficult to go to places at odds with our deeply ingrained ideology, and the instinct is to dismiss views that make us uncomfortable. Simply put, no one wants to be “wrong.” Withdrawing into the protective cocoon of “it’s Trump’s fault, and things will be better if only he’s gone” can be comforting, but also simplistic and lead to wrong conclusions. I could rehash details ad nauseum to support this, but it’s already been done, by me and others. Instead, I choose to hope that many of these bright, busy people just haven’t started paying enough attention yet, but will be investigating more thoroughly in the time remaining before the election. And, perhaps, there are a lot already out there that see, but are afraid to speak before going to the ballot box. In any case, the result will demonstrate the net value system of our great but beleaguered nation.