As a retired person, I have more time on my hands than the average American. I try to spend my time wisely, but I also want to enjoy the time I have. I never really saw any other purpose in working other than to enjoy my time away from work. Seriously, what other reason is there to go to a job, and work 40 or more hours every week if it doesn’t contribute to your life away from that job? So once I (luckily) reached the point in my life where I could get away with not working, I quit. Makes perfect sense to me. But that’s not the point of this article. With the current political situation Americans find themselves in, I started thinking back about things I learned about human nature while I was working. I’ve always been an amateur psychologist and sociologist. I find human nature and thought to be fascinating. So here are some random thoughts I have had on politics, and human nature.
First, I’ll tell you a story. I worked as a Medical Laboratory Technician. Which means I worked in a hospital or clinic lab doing, Immunohematology, microbiology, chemistry, hematology, immunology, urinalysis, and phlebotomy. I wore a long white lab coat, with pens in the pocket. At the clinic I worked at, there was a front desk area for the lab where patients would check in for their lab appointment. Occasionally there would be a disgruntled patient who would argue with the front desk women (the front desk always had women workers) about their bill or whatever it happened to be. The patient could be a man or a woman. I was the only man who worked in the lab at that time. While an argument was taking place with a patient, other lab workers (women) would come and go in the area and it did nothing to detract from the argument. If I, as a man in a white lab coat were to walk into the area, the patient would immediately calm down. I learned two things from that. Men and women both treat women worse than they treat men. A woman in a lab coat is not seen as an authority figure by men or women, but a man in a lab coat is.
Centuries of patriarchal society has done its job. Men and women both will see a man as an authority figure before they see that same thing in a woman. There were times when I sat at the front desk while the regular desk people took a break. I never once had an argument with a patient. Never. And yet people wouldn’t hesitate to start an argument with one of the women who worked the desk. How does this relate to the current political situation I eluded to? We have a lot of women who are running for the next presidency. And we have some men. The women running clearly outnumber the men and yet most of the news coverage is about the men.
Politics, is like sports. I also learned this while I was working. I talked to a lot of patients over the years and the one subject that most people had in common, was sports. And politics is a lot like sports. We want to win. We want our guy to be the best. The smartest, the strongest, the most admirable. I talked with a lot of people when Donald Trump was running for president. I brought up things like the fact that he had no political experience. Or his possible criminal activity. Or sexual assault allegations. Or multiple bankruptcies. None of that mattered to his supporters. Then I started looking at sports figures. Many men in sports have been convicted of crimes. Adultery, abuse, drug and alcohol charges, theft, etc. The list is long. The stories are in the paper and then they’re gone. Nobody cares. As long as they’re team is winning, no one cares about the crimes. As long as the politician promises winning, (who did that?) nobody cares about their behavior.
When I was in grade school, I was skinny and scrawny. No one wanted me on their team. I was the last one picked. And the teachers never saw that as a problem. The team captains were chosen by the teacher and they were always the most popular kids, the most athletic. And they of course always chose the most athletic kids first. All they wanted to do was win. That’s all that mattered. I was always such an outsider, because I didn’t give a damn about winning anything. I didn’t want the glory or the recognition. I just wanted to live, and enjoy life. I always felt sorry for the losers in any competition. Because the winners would run right over the losers and leave them behind. Always.
This is how I see politics today. It’s a competition. In a football game, you make the right plays, throw the ball the farthest, move it the most and win. In politics, you have the politician who is the most popular, (always a man) say the right things, be at the right places to get the most votes and win. A huge part of American culture is devoted to sports. Sports bars, sports channels, billion dollar stadiums, multi million dollar players. In order to make politics more popular, they have to make it like sports. Remember Trump teling you how much winning you were going to do if you voted for him? Americans want to win. At all costs.