Cloudy With a Chance of Rhetoric

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I hate presidential election years. 

Invariably patients shift their small talk from families, weather, and vacations to politics. 

These are nice people, generally speaking, but in election years I get to listen to all manner of unexpectedly hateful rhetoric from both sides of the fence and even sometimes from the middle. 

Truthfully, I don’t want to see this side of some of these people. I want to like all of them. Sometimes they open their mouths, though, and I cannot believe what comes out.

Just last week:

“…those undocumented liberal voting workers…”

“Obama is Satan himself.”

“Trump is going to tell the truth. There is hope for us yet!”

And it is only just getting started, folks. We haven’t even made it through the primaries yet.

Maintaining the appearance of political neutrality is challenging. Telling bigotted, ignorant people to shut up and go to hell in a kind, caring, non-offensive way that does not reflect negatively on my patient satisfaction scores is exhausting. 

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111 thoughts on “Cloudy With a Chance of Rhetoric

  1. I understand wholeheartedly…I despise politics. This doesn’t mean that I don’t vote, but I get tired of hateful rhetoric, and the dog-and-pony show that is the result of being a plutocracy.
    Corporations are considered ‘people,’ and human beings are being stripped of their voting rights…it’s shameful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to think that it had to do with a need for reinforcement of one’s thoughts, views, orientation, etc. But I’ve given up on the psycho-babble thinking. I just think the 24-hour news cycle, the need for cable channels to fill the air with*something,* has given rise to everyone living in their own fantasyland of being an in-your-face pundit. You are a captive audience in their eyes. Scary.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hear you on this one! When people tell me why they voted for their candidate I am amazed at their simplistic reasons. I rarely run into someone that wants to calmly debate political issues. I get one or two sound bites from most people and just keep my opinions to myself.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I’m with you. I can’t stand political talk. All people do is hate on each other. Even the politicians themselves spend millions to dis each other on public T.V. What kind of example does that set? I know about it but I stay clear from talking about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel for you, trapped in an exam room with no way out. Practice your noncommittal, I-refuse-to-be-involved face in front of the mirror because it’s going to be a long run until this is all over.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe you need to come up with few scripted responses beforehand… a “ready answer” as it were. Like, “I don’t know if I have the energy to focus on your health and politics at the same time!” or maybe a noncommittal “mmmm….” as you very pointedly examine their ear.
    Man. Not easy, this. Wish I had more for you. I guess this is where the Holy Spirit comes in and delivers on that whole “do not worry about what you will say” after you pray for words…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Donald! The Donald! The Donald!

    As a Canadian,. nothing could make me happier than having The Donald in control of the world’s largest Nuclear Arsenal. After all. no one has hair like The Donald!

    Bwahahaha! American politics never ceases to scare me. 😀

    May the force be with you Victo. .

    Liked by 3 people

  8. My friend is a designer and she works in a lovely furniture showroom. One time a vendor, whom the owner of the showroom hates was in there. He asked my friend if she would please “go over and politely tell him to get the fuck out of my store.”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Victo, patients are there for a medical reason. I’d like to say respect their pathology (meaning world & personal views, etc) like with psych patients! But not sure it would fly. Seems you are their sounding board for every thought. Not easy to keep a straight face & a zipped mouth. Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What worries me most about sound-bite political opinions is that usually (though certainly not all cases) the reasoning to get there was equally simplistic. Doesn’t inspire a whole lot of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I know what you mean. It’s always bothered me that people think it’s ok to say terrible things about other people if they are politicians. Hateful, mean things that they’d probably never say about “regular” people. Even post it on their car bumpers. Politics and parties aside, I don’t think it teaches our children respect. It certainly isn’t kind. You can disagree with someone’s views without being nasty. I think when people say stuff like that it says more about them than it does the politician!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m currently on holiday visiting my family. My brother, who is usually a pretty decent chap, goes all Jekyll and Hyde on us when politics comes up. I have to leave the room. He’s severely off the deep end. Full of hatred and bile. I think it’s a proxy for his own failed life.

    They’re selling presidential election buttons down the street from my office. I almost bought a Trump for Prez button thinking it’d be a barrel of laughs but I realized someone out there might think I’m serious.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. This topic once angered me enough to write “The Detestable Sound-Bite Phenomenon” and still sound-bites get to me.

    I really do not mind talking about politics. Thing is, you have to be ready to explain why and how and know your history or I am no longer interested. Mr Comb-Over is only the start these days and he is already pushing the boundaries. Maybe the U.S. were lucky with Obama being so gentlemanly in his behaviour.

    I know one thing about elections and politicians: avoid the hype…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “Telling bigotted, ignorant people to shut up and go to hell in a kind, caring, non-offensive way that does not reflect negatively on my patient satisfaction scores is exhausting.” What is your secret? How do you do this?!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Politics makes strange bedfellows….even more strange, the exam room fellows.

    It sometimes works the other way,Doc. I had biopsy surgery the day after elections. With local anesthetic, I had to be conscious during the entire procedure when all he wanted to talk about was politics. Maybe, he was trying to distract me…but, still. (It all turned out ok).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Politics = lying, attacking, and incivility. A lot of politicians are lawyers, giving lawyers a bad name. I am somewhat conservative, and I have to be very careful what I say in my uber liberal community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Opinions are fine provided they are not laced with hate and lies. I love liberals and conservatives alike. They are not offensive taken by themselves. As for lawyers… You don’t think lawyers are kind of bad to start with? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  17. You could also respond in terms of how it affects their health: I wonder how that way of thinking affects your health. Is politics good or bad for your health? Do you watch a lot of news? Does that cause stress for you?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. “Telling bigoted, ignorant people to shut up and go to hell in a kind, caring, non-offensive way…” you’ve basically summed up the struggle of my day. As you know, I work in billing for physician practice and since I have the distinct pleasure of answering the phones, I get the wrath of people who don’t want to pay their bills, or don’t think they should have bills, or just wake up and decide they want to yell at someone…I think they have me on speed dial for that. I get a lot of thoughts on politics and healthcare and it is so tough for me to just smile and nod.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Next time one of them starts up, rattle off some statistics or study about how talking politics is stressful and unhealthy and as a doctor, you won’t allow any political talk in your office. It’s for their own good, you can assure them of that and with luck they will stop!

    Liked by 1 person

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