Sometimes more knowledge only leads to more frustration

VANCOUVER — I have a very good friend who is extremely passionate about political issues. That wasn’t always the case, but since I’ve known him, it’s always been a dominant part of his identity.

 

When my friend began showing some interest in political issues, he received some advice from his older brother, who already was the kind of person who passionately kept himself informed on political issues.

 

The brother encouraged my friend — his younger brother — to research the history of economics. Specifically, his advice was for my friend to read as much as he could from the writings of Milton Friedman, described by Wikipedia as “an American economist who received the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and the complexity of stabilization policy.’’ Friedman’s many works include “Capitalism and Freedom’’ from 1962 and “A Monetary History of the United States’’ from 1963.

 

But, the older brother offered the younger brother this advice. He told my friend, and I’m paraphrasing, be careful of venturing down this foxhole because what you will learn will only frustrate you because the world doesn’t operate the way it should. Perhaps, more specifically, many, if not most, people are woefully misinformed, or uninformed because they haven’t taken the time to educate or inform themselves on the issues of the day.

 

I think of the advice my friend received  from his older brother often because the more I learn about politics, politicians and the way the world works, the more frustrated and disenfranchised I become.

 

I love Facebook for many reasons. I love staying in touch with friends from the past, many of which live in other parts of the country and I never see. If it wasn’t for Facebook, I would like have very little, or no, interaction with those people. I also like it when my timeline contains inspirational or humorous posts, and as a loyal fan of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,’’ I’m a sucker for the cooking videos.

 

What I’m not a sucker for is the average person’s political views. Regardless of the person’s ideology, the next  time I’m influenced politically by something I read on Facebook will be the first time. And, I almost never express my own ideological views on Facebook, with the exception of sharing my editorials, which is virtually a requirement of my job. And, I’m quick to remove the political posts of others from my timeline.

 

You might disagree with me on this, but I consider myself a fairly open-minded person. As most of you know, I lean a little to the right, but I will surprise you from time to time. I don’t just march in step with my ideological brethren on every issue. I even have a few close friends who hold quite an opposite ideology from my own (I’m still searching for the person who revealed the secret handshake to them).

 

So, it doesn’t bother me when someone sees the world in a different way than I do. What does bother me, and makes me feel the emotions my friend’s older brother cautioned him about those many years ago, is the people who blindly jump to uneducated and uninformed positions just because they know that’s how their brethren believe they should feel on the particular subject.

 

This is not an editorial in favor or opposed to Trumpcare, or Obamacare for that matter. Frankly, I am not educated or informed enough on either to take a strong position. I encourage each of you to take the time to educate yourself on the issues before making up your mind.

 

The nonsense I have read in the last 24 hours, since the U.S. House of Representatives passed  the American Health Care Act (AHCA, also known as Trumpcare) is exactly the type of rhetoric that makes me want to stick my 7 and ⅝-sized head in the sand. Living in denial is better than dealing with the misinformation that oh so many of us attempt to pass off as facts.

 

I refuse to repeat some of the ridiculous claims I have read last night and today from those who oppose Trumpcare, or more specifically, oppose President Trump. Claims of how many lives it will cost, how many people will either be denied health care or lose their health care.

 

There’s a video passing around Facebook and the internet of the Democrats in the House breaking into song after the AHCA vote became official. “Nah Nah Nah Nah, hey hey hey, Goodbye,’’ the Democrat representatives sang in unison on the floor of the House, obviously implying their Republican counterparts who voted for the bill would be voted out of office by their constituents at the next opportunity. It was disgusting behavior, in my opinion, for an elected official.

 

Video courtesy of C-SPAN

 

I interviewed city of Vancouver Mayoral candidate Steven Cox recently. Cox said something very interesting to me.

 

“In my opinion, government should not be compassionate at all,’’ Cox said. “Compassion is a tenet of the church. The people are compassionate and the government should not assume what level of compassion the people have. At some point, there is a breaking point when you take from the livelihood of the people who have earned and give it to the people who have not earned. There’s only so far you can go.’’

 

That resonated with me. Why should anyone put themselves in the position of deciding how compassionate others should be, and by compassion, we’re talking money. Trumpcare is an attempt by the president and the Republicans who support the AHCA to cut the costs of Obamacare. They’re in the majority. They feel they know the level of compassion of their constituents. If that compassion doesn’t reach to the level of those not in the minority, sorry, but that’s how a democracy works.
The bottom line is this, I’m covering my ears to the nonsense scare tactics I’ve witnessed during the last 24 hours. I will seek more facts, and I will likely make up my mind on Trumpcare at some point. But, unlike others, until I have an informed, educated opinion, I will keep my thoughts to myself.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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