HEALTHCARE AND THE POLI-PSYCHOLOGY OF ENTITLEMENT

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2009 by Don Wells

DSC_9022donsmallAs the debate over Healthcare Reform continues in Congress, some of you have asked me about roots of the conflicts between both sides.  In short, why isn’t Universal Healthcare a no-brainer in America?

I addressed our national preference for “no-brainers” in my recent article, “Does Your Idea Fit On A Handmade Sign? Why Thinking Too Much Makes Americans Angry.”  I could discuss the topic at length right now but I know you’re…busy.

At any rate, I’ve observed that understanding the Healthcare dilemma, and almost every other irresolvable conflict in American political life, comes down to one concept: Entitlement.

Let me define the term.

Entitlement is when you jump into the ocean to rescue a drowning man and, once you get him to shore, he complains about your technique.  And wonders what took you so long.  And hints there may be a lawsuit in your future if there’s any way he can get what he “deserves”.  

 Now, think about the family member or co-worker who irritates you most.  Like the brother-in-law you can’t stand.  Or the neighbor you despise.  Think about their attitude toward life and other people.  Got it?

 That’s Entitlement.

The contrast to Entitlement is Gratitude, which most of us have only seen in movies or read about in books.  You save the drowning man.  He invites you to dinner, names his next child after you, and shows up to speak at your funeral.

 What does this have to do with the Healthcare debate, you ask? 

 Have you noticed that we call a whole category of government programs “entitlements”?  Is it wise to encourage people to identify with the same unpleasant attitude you hate in your cousin?  Couldn’t we call them “gratitude programs” instead?  I suggest this idea knowing full well that, given a choice, our preference is to feel entitled rather than be grateful.  Especially in California.

 But don’t assume the conflict raging between Liberals and Conservatives has Entitlement on one side and Gratitude on the other.  In fact, BOTH sides strongly believe in Entitlement, especially keeping their own.  Liberals just think the best way to do that is to have everyone Entitled (which sounds like a great party but a bad idea).  Conservatives think Entitlement should be earned (presumably like they did.  Hmmm).

 Just think how different things would be if Congress had real Gratitude about being elected. 

 And be grateful that you’re not entitled like your sister.

THE COMIC-CON CONSPIRACY

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2009 by Don Wells

DSC_9022donsmallThis past weekend over 125,000 intensely passionate people descended on San Diego to hear debates on the nature of good and evil, hang on every word as expert panels discussed issues of global survival, and make monumental decisions about who most deserves their loyalty in 2010.

 And after four days a new movement was born – to make Iron Man 2 an epic success next summer.

 But if you think I’m about to make fun of the fanboys and geeks at Comic-Con, you’re wrong.  Because this “Celebration of the Popular Arts” isn’t the big joke they’ve made themselves out to be.  In fact, it is the harbinger of The End of the World as We Know It.

 The Barrier between our Earth-1 Universe and the Comic-Book Universe is disappearing. 

 Look for yourself.  Everything is becoming less real.  Fantasy is overwhelming reality.  The Democrats control most of the government.

 In fact, it started during FDR’s administration when the first comic books appeared around 1938.  Then the bleed continued into the 40’s and 50’s with movie serials and television shows.  And there’s new evidence that TV Superman George Reeves began to suspect the Conspiracy right before he mysteriously “committed suicide.” 

 With Reeves out of the way, the floodgates opened. 

 Fantasy movies now make up nine out of the top ten films of all time – and that’s counting “Titanic” as a “real” story.  Video games consume the population in a virtual world of avatars and digital destruction.  Music idols are manufactured in assembly line regularity.  The World Wrestling Federation.  Remote control wars.  TV evangelists.  Comic book personalities get elected to run the country. 

 Then re-elected. 

 So when somebody like Walter Cronkite passes from the scene, you look around for the “real” journalist to take his place and what do you find?  Have you seen cable news lately?

 So the Barrier is just about gone.  It’s the same in sports, politics, entertainment, business, art, religion and every other part of what used to pass for Real Life.  Except science.  Science still prefers reality.

 That’s why the Comic-Con Conspiracy invented Science Fiction.

 To be Continued…

Black Like Skip

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2009 by Don Wells

DSC_9022donsmallHarvard Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates arrested for breaking into his own home, then released with no charges!

That’s the Big Story of the week!   Sort of like calling your friends and family to tell them burnt toast set off the smoke detector in your kitchen but there was no fire.  Or sending out the wedding invitations even though Halle Berry never replied to any of your letters.  Or telling everyone the promise of bipartisan work in congress has produced meaningful change in the country.

The fact is, nothing really happened.

I’m as black as the next guy who happens to be black but, C’MON!  This is just not a Big Story even if it does feature a black man who calls himself “Skip”.

And it’s that No Birth Certificate Obama’s fault.  Now that we have an African-American President everything about race is suddenly critical to the national discourse.  Even when nothing really happened so it becomes a “teachable” moment.   That’s the moment when nobody knows what to do or say so they test our patience.

But the good news is we now have a formula for getting the truly significant news back on the media radar.

Healthcare Reform, because a black doctor was arrested trying to break into his hospital to provide services to the uninsured.  

Afghanistan, because a black soldier was arrested trying to break back into the country to fight the Taliban.  

Unemployment, because a black autoworker was arrested trying to break into a plant to build a car.  Any car.

Of course these are truly Big Stories are unavoidable realities, while the Gates Big Non-Story actually could have been avoided entirely.

Somebody just needed to go to Kinko’s and make flyers with the names and pictures of all the black people who live in Gate’s community.   How many could there be?  Three?  Four?   Easy for neighbors, nearby businesses and the police to memorize.

Especially the one black guy with the nickname “Skip.”

Pat Buchanan & White Anger Management

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2009 by Don Wells

DSC_9022donsmallThis week, many of you have asked me about this statement from conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan.

“White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy.. This has been a country built basically by white folks.”

One person wondered if “Pat’s 100%” included Italians or Spaniards.  Probably not until Normandy.  In fact, the Irish weren’t considered white until late summer of 1951.  The French are still questionable.

Another person took offense at Mr. Buchanan’s assertion that white people alone “built” America.  Of course, he meant “built” in the same way a couple says “We built our new home at the lake” not to suggest they laid the foundation, wired it and put on the roof.   In this context, “built” means finding and using workers, then moving into the house and never giving another thought to anyone who actually did the work once it’s done. 

Mr. Buchanan is simply angry the worker’s kids have suddenly shown up and afraid that want to move into the house with him.

So let’s not judge him.  Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion.   But it must be dealt with it in a politically positive way is important.   Here are a few tips for Pat:

 Take a ‘timeout.’ Counting to 10 somewhere far away from a cable news channel, radio show or newspaper before reacting really can defuse your temper.

Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide a release for your emotions.  If you’re about to erupt, go for a brisk walk along a steep cliff, hit your head against an actual wall, or leave the country

Use ‘I’ statements when describing the problem. This will help you to avoid criticizing or placing blame. For instance, say, “I’m upset you want to be on the Supreme Court,” instead of, “You’re not qualified.”

Use humor to release tensions. Um, forget this one, Pat.

Don’t hold a grudge. It’s unrealistic to expect the country to remain the way you want it to be.  Make peace with your loss, move on, and study Spanish.

 In a later blahg, I’ll discuss more insights from my groundbreaking book, “Angry White Men: Pissed Off & Privileged”.

The Poli-Psychology of Political Suicide

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2009 by Don Wells

DSC_9022donsmallIn my book, ”The Poli-Psychology of Promiscuity in the Clinton White House,” I outlined and explored the three classic hidden motivations underlying most Political Suicides, and how to spot the warning signs.  With so many male political figures exhibiting career threatening behavior, I’ve been asked to explain the seeming epidemic of “Political (Male) Suicide”.

The classic motivations I uncovered were – The Cry for Help, The Final Defiance and I Didn’t Know It Was Loaded.  Or as I currently refer to them  – The Sanford Syndrome, The Edwards Endgame and Blago Brain.

The Sanford Syndrome – A Cry For Help

When someone’s actions are clearly leading to Political Suicide (i.e. leaving the country to have an affair on Father’s Day) but they leave a “note” behind that will lead straight to them, it’s classic Sanford Syndrome.   Other indications are confessing when caught, confessing again when no one has asked you to, and confessing yet again when everyone would prefer you shut up and go away.  Tears are optional but numerous mentions of the wife are mandatory.

 The Edwards Endgame – Final Defiance

Gary Hart pioneered it, Bill Clinton raised it to a dramatic high wire act, and John Edwards made it seem much less glamorous because we liked the wife a lot.  Their underlying challenge to the world was “mine is bigger than everybody else’s so catch me if you can.”  Then, they have a bimbo eruption while they’re under a microscope which even sounds unpleasant.  This adolescent self-destructive act is also referred to as “political suicide by mistress”.   Unfortunately, these politicians, often Democrats, usually succeed so the best advice for innocent bystanders is to get some distance or a lucrative book deal.

 The Blago Brain – Whatever I did, I didn’t do it

Sometimes people who commit Political Suicide are just stupid.  Don’t try to understand it.  It will only make your head hurt.

Watch for my new book in 2010, “Karl Rove’s Kool-Aid: The Poli-Psychology of Mass Suicide.”

I’m a Black Man for Gay Rights. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2009 by Don Wells

 DSC_9022donsmallHuman beings have an incredible knack for finding the Differences, then hanging on for dear life against Them.   I watched cable news the other day and was shocked to discover that there is absolutely NO comparison or connection between today’s struggle for Gay Rights and the ongoing struggle for Civil Rights for African-Americans.   None.    I guess that’s true even if the gay Americans who want equal rights are also black!   I guess gay African-Americans only get the outlet mall Constitutional Knock-Off Rights after all that marching in the streets back in the day.

 This guy on TV said the Big Difference is that Black people have been discriminated against based on race, which we can’t change, so that discrimination is Wrong.   Meanwhile, those darn stubborn gay folks are ONLY discriminated against based their behavior, which they could stop (the discrimination, I mean) if only they would STOP the behavior?   What?    Holding hands?   Being in a committed relationship for 20 years?  Whatever it is, how gays behave makes discrimination just Fine and Dandy.

So as my mind unboggles, let me get this straight (no pun intended).   

Gay Civil Rights are Different than Black Civil Rights because:

It’s not about Them.  It’s about how They act.  (And you know how They are…)

If they would only be more like US, there wouldn’t be a problem.   (They’re so…strange….)

If They stay in their place and are grateful for the rights they do have, we can all get along.

And, of course, the justifications can be conveniently found in the nearest Bible.

No comparison, huh?

The connection is pretty clear to me.  African-Americans insisted on the equal application of Human Rights   Gay Americans only want the same thing. 

After all, They are human, too.  And that’s something no one can change.

A 12 Step Program for Michael Steele

Posted in Uncategorized on July 13, 2009 by Don Wells

DSC_9022donsmallMichael Steele is an addict and somebody needs to intervene.

I know there’s no evidence the Chairman of the RNC has a problem with drugs or alcohol, despite the occasional inadvertent “Is he on crack?” response to his rants.  This might be interpreted as racial stereotyping if not for the fact that, by my personal count, eighty-seven percent of African-Americans share that same reaction.  So it’s not a race thing.  It’s a WTF thing.

No, Michael Steele is not on drugs.  He has a much more insidious addiction.  He craves attention.  Any way he can get it.

Don’t take my word for it.  Look it up in the DSM-IV, the reference shrinks use to define and diagnose everything from neurotic phobias to narcissism.  I’ll lend you my copy which, by the way, I can explain why I have it another time.   Anyway, all the signs of addiction are there: 

He spends a great deal of time trying to get attention.

He needs increased amounts of attention to achieve the desired effect.

He gets more attention for longer periods than he intended.

He tries to cut down unsuccessfully.

He has withdrawal symptoms.

He continues to seek attention despite the fact that it routinely causes problems in his life.

I know what you’re thinking.  I’m actually enabling him right now with even more attention.   You’re right but sometimes it takes people who care about the addict to finally step in, draw attention to the problem and do something to help.   Other times, like now, we could care less about the loser but we’re just sick and tired enough to force and intervention and send him into a 12 step program.   

So, Michael, go to the next Attention Addicts Anonymous meeting.  They generally get together often for obvious reasons.  They’ll help you admit that you’re powerless over attention.  Then conduct  a searching moral inventory of yourself.  Make a list of the people you’ve harmed and make amends.   And above all, carry this message to other attention addicts like yourself.

And if you need a sponsor, just call me.