The Triumph Of Ignoring

Conservatives don’t want to understand that their system doesn’t work

Hail the victorious Republicans! Their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act with nothing, and fuck you, was a success in the House! Now poor people are going to die more than usual, and faster! That’s why all those Republicans on the TV look so happy, because of the dying poor people!

God, they’re so happy. Everybody’s high-fiving, smiling, joking. They all look like they just went bowling and Paul Ryan got loose enough on beer number-three to pick up a 7-10 split. The spirit of celebration is in the air. They’re ready to attack the new day.

Funny how that works. Republicans always get happy, assured, and “ready to lead” when they’re about to start killing people in broad daylight. Trump finally became “presidential” when he bombed Syria. Paul Ryan finally delivered results when he threw the working poor under a bus. The Republicans became winners.

It’s the triumph of ignoring. Not ignorance, but the deliberate act of ignoring something you don’t want to see, don’t want to think about, don’t want to know or feel. Conservatives don’t want to understand that their system doesn’t work. When they see people in their own country getting sick and dying from lack of access to doctors, it’s easier for them to turn away than to roll up their sleeves and deal with it and confront all the sorrow that it brings.

Poverty is awful to experience, and it’s awful to look at. Trying to fix poverty requires great emotional energy. It requires humility. It requires the humility to say, “Yes, I am one of the people who runs this country, and this country does not work.” It means you have to admit failure and see the weariness and fear and anger etched onto the faces of the people you failed. It forces you to see that there are people who cannot lead what you consider a normal life, because they come from places without accessible jobs that pay more than minimum wage, without accessible routes to college or job training or community, because they got a raw deal at birth. Knowing that some people never have a shot is the scariest and saddest feeling in the world.

It breaks the hearts and souls of the best of us. And the men who run this country are not the best of us. They are not intelligent men. They are simple men who crave power, and they don’t want to earn their money by having their hearts broken. When you present them with our systemic ills, they will propose the solution that is easiest for them. The solution that lets them sleep at night.

That solution today, and yesterday and tomorrow, is to ignore. To say that the way they were taught to be is fine and good, and the millions of people struggling are struggling because they did something wrong, because they decided to fail. Because they chose it. It is easier to see millions of people living wrongly on purpose than to see a country that is inexorably separating into the haves and the have-nots, a country where the have-nots die.

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