The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘ignorance

Shinners, I am a curious person. I like finding out all the five W’s and H (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How) to learn more about a subject of interest. Like birds – I’ve spent a lot of time recently learning about them.

But damn, when your educational system prevents you from even knowing what you don’t know…neither curiosity nor all the will in the world will help.

I was never taught about the Tulsa Race Massacre in school. I guess whomever wrote the textbooks knew how much negative perception would go along with that knowledge – the deep-seated racism in this country, the pure evil of that mass murder, and the reality that would tarnish America’s well-crafted egalitarian image. It was only in the past year (I think it was on Rachel Maddow’s show?) that the veil of my ignorance was lifted. And for the first time, an American President has addressed it, on the shameful and tragic anniversary of its occurrence. Biden made a historic speech, in which his trademark empathy was on full display. But as we’ve started to see with Biden and Harris, words are just the beginning. And now, Biden is looking to begin to address some of the racial disparities that have been kept in public policy and hidden away from public view.

The Tulsa massacre has only recently entered the national discourse — and the presidential visit put an even brighter spotlight on the event.

Biden, who was joined by Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge and senior advisers Susan Rice and Cedric Richmond, also announced new measures he said could help narrow the wealth gap between races and reinvest in underserved communities by expanding access to homeownership and small-business ownership.

The White House said the administration will take steps to address disparities that result in Black-owned homes being appraised at tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable homes owned by white residents as well as issue new federal rules to fight housing discrimination. The administration is also setting a goal of increasing the share of federal contracts awarded to small disadvantaged businesses by 50% by 2026, funneling an estimated additional $100 billion to such businesses over the five-year period, according to the White House.

It is shocking to think that Black prosperity in Tulsa could have been extinguished so quickly. 30 blocks of “Black Wall Street” were destroyed, up to 300 Black Tulsans were killed, and the Greenwood area has never recovered, 100 years later. White people just couldn’t handle the fact that Black people clearly aren’t inferior – when they have equal opportunity, they are able to prosper – and so they made up some excuse about a black man stepping on a white woman’s foot to justify their murderous hatred. But really, they just wanted to stop Black Americans from prospering, and scare them into leaving all the money for white people.

The attempted coup on January 6th was the same type of rage. White men (mostly) are in a panic that when those uppity wimminz (especially Black women) gain power, their power diminishes; thus they decided to scream and attack and kill. Just as on that day in 1921 in Tulsa, no one got arrested on the scene, and it took national attention and a new Justice Department leader to really get the investigations moving. Republicans have begun to gaslight and try to wipe the horrific event from everyone’s minds.

I sure hope they don’t succeed.

medical staff picture

generic picture of medical folk

The other night I was in a semi-public location (it’s the lobby of the small hotel where I have two rooms) and an older gentleman was checking in.  While he was in the process (and I have no idea how the conversation started) he got onto the topic of Obamacare.  He was berating it, describing it as “socialism” (I sure wish it was!) and talking about how it would be the ruination of the American health care system which is “the greatest the world has”and how it was going to “destroy the country”.  I listened to the point where something clicked in my brain and I found myself getting up and asking the gentleman if I could ask him a few questions. I asked him how he thought that Obamacare was going to ruin the healthcare system of the United States.  He replied that one way was because of the people being thrown off the plans that they had and that they were happy with.  I asked him if he was aware that folks were sent those notices because the plans they had did not meet the criteria for health policies under Obamacare and were, in essence, “junk” policies.  I asked him if he had seen  the story about the lady in Florida who was happy with the plan she had, but when a health care specialist from consumer reports analyzed her policy it paid for practically nothing.  I explained to him that many of these types of policies were cash cows for the insurance companies because they raked in hundreds of dollars a month in premiums to cover almost nothing in return.

The gentleman then countered by explaining how Obama was funding Obamacare by “robbing” medicare to pay for it.  I explained to him that, no, medicare wasn’t in the least robbed, that what was done was to curtail the excess amounts the government paid to “medicare advantage” plans as opposed to what the government paid for a claim under regular medicare.  Now, I didn’t have this information at hand from the Kaiser Foundation, but it would have bolstered my argument:

Over the past decades, Medicare payment policy for plans has shifted from one that produced savings to one that focused more on expanding access to private plans and providing extra benefits to Medicare private plan enrollees.  These policy changes resulted in Medicare paying private plans more per enrollee than the cost of care for beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, on average (MedPAC 2010).

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 produced another shift in payment policy by reducing federal payments to Medicare Advantage plans over time, bringing them closer to the average costs of care under the traditional Medicare program. It also provided for new bonus payments to plans based on quality ratings, beginning in 2012, and required plans beginning in 2014 to maintain a medical loss ratio of at least 85%, restricting the share of premiums that Medicare Advantage plans can use for administrative expenses and profits.  (my comment:  hence the “we was robbed” position taken by some)

You can go over to the Kaiser website if you want to read more about the Advantage plans.

But here’s the thing in my conversation with this gentleman:  I could not tell him that I personally knew one person  who was going to benefit by Obamacare and who was going to be healthier because of it.  I couldn’t do that because the person was the man working behind the front desk.

James appeared to be the picture of health.  He’s very fit, no belly or gut hanging over his belt, runs a couple of miles several times a week and lifts weights.  He’s what you might call “fit and trim”.  However, a couple of weeks ago he did something that guys sometimes like to do:  he had a place on his hand that was bothering him so he picked at with a needle.  Well…at a point after that he started feeling bad and within a matter of hours had a fever of 105.  James has no health insurance (and no car) so he took a cab to the local doc-in-a-box outfit.  After being seen and paying $165 he found out his hand was infected.  So, he was given a prescription for an antibiotic and a test was done for  his blood sugar.  Fredster here got a call from the doc ina box to see if I could give him a ride back from the office.  He got his antibiotic script filled at the doc’s office but they didn’t have the test back for his glucose and other things.  A day or so later James wasn’t feeling that much better so he decided to go to the emergency room.  There they made the diagnosis that he has type 2 diabetes.  They “washed him out” with probably two bags of saline and got his blood sugar down. He got a script for metformin and we got him a glucose meter.  He hasn’t gotten a statement yet from the hospital but he’s talked to one of the financial counselors and he may luck out and be able to get a reduction in his charges since he has no insurance and his income isn’t that high.  So now James has a disease which will be with him for the rest of his life.  I had put James in touch with our nurse chat and she said he’s probably had the disease for awhile but because of his overall good health conditions it never manifested itself before the big ole infection on his hand.  But there is a good part to this story.

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That’s perhaps not saying much but I do know my own limitations. For instance, I can assure you that I will never be asked to compete on “Jeopardy”, write a manual on car repair, or attempt to understand what goes on within my own computer. Nor can I explain the fascination with all things” Kardashian” but at least I have the wherewithal to admit as much up front.

But listening to the outpouring of stupidity that pours forth from the mouths and brainpans of some of our elected officials, I’m pretty sure I could compete to a large extent with some of these “Know Nothings” without breaking a sweat. And I would also suggest that what I have forgotten over the years still gives me an edge in this debate.  Just saying.

Michele Bachmann is one example of uttering some of the most ignorant statements ever captured on tape. Starting with her unfamiliarity with the Constitution, working her way through the minds of the Founding Fathers, suggesting that “retraining camps” are being thrown together by the evil genius of Barack Obama , and insisting that his trip to India was costing the taxpayers 200 million a day, are easy reminders that this woman is not dealing with a full deck. Far be it for her to check her facts when it is easier to pull it from her @ss while considering that there is a movement afoot to see her name on the ballot as a contender for the position of Leader of the Free World! It is just not that Michele herself is so awful, it is also interesting to bear in mind that there is a contingency out there willing to fund her endeavors!

Sharron Angle is another politician who says whatever it is that finds itself rolling around in her head. Her “making lemonade out of lemons” aimed at women and girls who find themselves victims of rape and incest, advising them to look upon this situation as a “blessing from God”, is about as egregious as it gets when it comes to ranking her brain power in low digits. Chosen as the primary challenger to Harry Reid, the surprise was how often she managed to exceed him in the polls just a few short weeks before the election. In other words, there were enough low information voters out there willing to place their destinies into the hands of a woman whose intellect was –shall we say, below average?

Sarah Palin, whose rise into the political ranks is amazing considering that she has absolutely no grasp of the issues at hand but spends most of her time bashing Obama – ( a sport I would remind you is something we also do here on a daily basis but does not suggest for one moment that any of us should run for president of the US!) – is clearly unable to articulate a whole sentence that does not include a mash up of “word salad” that in the end makes no sense. What is offered instead is a steady stream of Right Wing talking points that even she would have difficulty interpreting as when she sat frozen in time urging her brain to dissect the “Bush Doctrine”.

Sen. Jim Inhofe scoffs at the suggestion that the world may be undergoing “climate change” brought on by a global disregard for carbon emissions and points out that scientists are “still out” on a full conclusion. Of course, he also believes that the world itself is only about 10,000 yrs old and that dinosaurs were used as public transportation much like The Flintstones. Studying fossils that appear to be millions of years old  finds no room in Sen. Imhofe’s pronouncements. He is above scientific theories since he has the bible itself as his reference point.

Sen. Jim Demint believes that homosexuals should be barred from holding public positions. He too relies on the testament of books written over two thousand years ago that were most likely nothing more than “policy papers” of their day and an earlier version of “etiquette”. “Thou shalt not kill” was more than likely written when neighbor v neighbor murdered one another over the misplacement of a wandering sheep.

I make no claim to reside within the ranks of scholars and academics, nor would I ever find my name mentioned as a member in good standing of Mensa. I know what I don’t know. I am well aware of my limitations in most areas and though I can put together a fairly decent meal when called upon, I will never be compared to Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray when it comes to culinary expertise. And this is where some of the above mentioned and I part ways.

They truly do not have a handle of their own limitations when it comes to making policy, let alone common sense. They believe that what they say, no matter how unfactual, outrageous, or lacking any form of prior study, be accepted as the truth. That what comes out of their empty heads by way of their empty rhetoric should be accepted as the basis of the foundation of their beliefs. And these dimwitted beliefs are what they hope to impose on the rest of us by way of sheer ignorance. The problem lies with the simple fact that there are many more like them out there spewing out the stupidity that the rest of us are asked to accept with respect. Like accepting that 2 plus 1= 4. And some do. How else to comprehend their elevation on the national stage?

Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Pam Geller, shout their stupidity from the rooftops and are making themselves richer by depending upon those willing to buy into their ignorance without question. 

Denying evolution, climate change, homosexuality, freedom of choice, healthcare for all, gun control, and a myriad of other causes that are based on commonsense judgments, these simple minded statements and thoughts are actually a danger to any enlightened society. A progressive society must not tolerate the creeping “anti intellectualism” that invades this nation by way of policies and proposals written in deliberate ignorance.

I know my limitations. I know what it is I don’t know. I am also willing to make it my business to educate myself when the deficiencies arise. These people do not yet they have found an audience willing to listen and that should frighten and awaken a public that seems to be asleep at the wheel.

There is no “bliss” to be found in promoting, supporting, or defending ignorance.  A society that does so has branded itself in the same cloak of deliberate ignorance these uninformed speakers bask in.

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