Yesterday, I had a discussion with my neighbor about Obamacare. He is conservative and opposed to it on the grounds that it restricts his personal freedom not to have insurance. He is about my age (late 70's).  I pointed out that he is on Medicare with a good secondary insurance from his former employer and is therefore unaffected by ACA, his reply was that he would be if he didn't have insurance and that was enough to make him mad.

The argument that the uninsured use emergency rooms for which he pays indirectly through increased hospital costs did not make any difference to him since he never sees those costs explicitly. The man is a retired software engineer and might be expected to understand things better, but his rightwing mindset prevents it. He said he preferred the country he grew up in where you still had choices. In that country—before Medicare—one third of people our age lived below the poverty line.

This illustrates the difficulty in getting people to understand public issues. Once the issues have been framed in an emotional setting, reason departs.

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I don't know how many times I tell myself to just walk away but, the temptation is too great.  And, that's on the internet.  I seem to have improved with face to face situations.

I know Susan, it IS such a temptation.  I find it harder to do it face to face, but now at 46 I have no patience.  My neighbor has asked me to sign a petition against abortion-rights (No I won't I told her), talked about how much they liked George W Bush as president, and dislike President Obama (you would, I told her), talks about "them" (meaning poor and black people.) THAT one I said "How Christian of you", because she could only understand it in that context, and she mumbled some excuse, and keeps coming at me and coming at me.  When I say I'm going to walk away next time, I mean while she's talking.  So she knows I'm being rude. She still won't get it. Sigh...

My punctuation is horrible! 

Booklover, I too have lost patience with religious nuts.  You can't explain to them.  They just won't listen.  Their minds are made up before my first word is spoken.

It's true k.h.!  You are exactly right.

It took me a very long time to learn how to do that.

Ditto SB. Under my pic in my high school Annual (1949 in a Catholic school) an editor wrote "Loves an argument."

I still need the mental stimulation but I turn and walk away from a few.

Tom, I used to NOT argue.  I was very diplomatic.  Had tons of friends.  Not so much anymore! lol.  Now that I'm older and jaded, I just can't seem to keep my mouth shut.  I am learning to when the situation is hopeless.  I can't waste my time or care then.

Mindy, I like that you can't keep your mouth shut! Some call it "jaded" but that is one of the techniques used to keep people from speaking their truth. So, it is OK by me if you open your mouth, and I suspect a lot of other thinking people are afraid to speak up, thinking they will be destroyed. Well, it ain't so! Speaking up doesn't destroy one, it is the self censorship that destroys. 

Sure, you will get knocks and lumps. So what! People get knocks and lumps because they stay quiet. So, pick your fights, prepare for a good debate with a worthy opponent, and walk away from the nutcases. 

From time to time, we need a little comforting. This is a good place to renew and refresh oneself. 

You are one fine lady and I salute your vinegar!

I love how you say things Joan, you're an awesome person and a wonderful friend!~ Mindy

Sometimes it is hopeless, but when possible I try to respond. Not with anger, but with as gentle a rebuke as I can manage. I try not to be defensive, but to act as though my opinion is the most natural thing.

Anytime anyone wants to bring up socialism as an automatic evil, there are a few things which can be used as ... well, let's call them counter-examples, to wit:

  • Police
  • Fire Department
  • Public roads
  • Libraries
  • Garbage collection

The last two may be either public or private, but regardless, one is at least desirable and the other pretty much mandatory for any kind of community I know of ... and I don't know as I'd want to depend solely on the supposed beneficence of some moneyed heavyweight for any of the above.

There's another one, Loren. About a week ago, I was having a cocktail at a local hangout when the old tea party types started griping about socialism and "Obama Care," as Fox News has trained them to refer to the act. Anyway, I interjected myself into the conversation and asked how many of these "patriots" were receiving medicare. All of them. Then I asked if they all liked it. It was unanimous - they did. I then pointed out they were all in favor of socialized medicine. All I then heard were crickets chirping.

Like the commercial says - PRICELESS.

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