by Reid Fitzsimons
From 1982 to 1986 I worked as a Physician Assistant (PA) at a Federal Prison (FCI Ray Brook in New York). This, of course, was in the early days of AIDS and there was heightened concern of exposure to blood. One day, along with one or two other PAs, I was in the little pharmacy and one of us knocked over a bottle of Betadyne, a common surgical antiseptic with a rusty brown color. The pharmacist, who was not with us at the time of the spill, returned and was quite vocal that we had been “throwing blood around the pharmacy.” We assured him everything was okay, it wasn’t blood but Betadyne. His response to this was emblematic of certain human reactions in the face of the unexpected: “It might as well be blood!” he declared. To be fair, the pharmacist was a decent guy who had a little problem with his temper, but in many ways his denial of facts in favor of his angst of the moment has proven to be prescient of a behavior that is now largely ruling our society.
A philosophical underpinning of progressivism is that feelings trump facts, and we create entire policies, belief systems, and movements based on feelings alone, oftentimes that are in direct opposition to facts. This prompted me to recall the Dan Rather controversy from the 2004 election in which he and CBS News did a “We Got Him” story related to George Bush’s military service. Without recapitulating too much detail, the reader (if there is one!) might recall there were some documents, later shown to be forgeries, which impugned Bush’s time as a Reserve/National Guard fighter pilot. Dan Rather, never beholden to objectivity, used the tactic that the documents in question were never fully proven to be false (reminiscent of pretty much every statement originating from the mouth of a Clinton), but even if they were the underlying story is true (largely that Bush skipped out of a few drill weekends in the early 1970s). It Might As Well Be Blood! said America’s anchorman.
2004 was a very, very long time ago so it’s almost quaint to recall a statement from CBS News in response to the Rather controversy that, “It is obviously against CBS News standards to be associated with any political agenda.” How far we have devolved in the ensuing years.
Elizabeth Warren defender Melissa Harris Perry (formerly of the crack team at MSNBC) decried It Might As Well Be Blood! when she stated, “If candidate Warren grew up thinking she is Native American by heritage, who are we to say she is not? And who are we to define her based on narrow constructs of race.” This being associated with the controversy when now Sen. Warren claimed, depending on her life situation at the time, American Indian ancestry based upon family lore and the high cheekbone thing (is it possible she’s Russian, they have high cheeks?).
Progressives, more than normal, have difficulties with conceptual interpretation, which perhaps has some neurological basis but is more likely emotional/psychological. Specifically they are more inclined to believe lies, have problems discerning fact from fiction (i.e. limited abstract or critical thought), and cannot respond calmly or effectively to thoughts and ideas inconsistent with their own. They need to feel comfortable in their world view, which is why the first line defense for a progressive is to disparage anyone with divergent or diverse ideas: it is much more soothing to mock someone who disagrees, to call them “hateful,” than it is to consider an uncomfortable opinion or idea. This manifests itself especially in regards to clinging to their narratives. Essentially their narratives provide an emotional safe-space, and they resist any deviation from them like a frightened child clinging to a favorite stuffed animal.
With Black Lives Matter our progressive fellow countrymen are either immersed or enamored with a narrative that was false from the beginning, that is Hands Up, Don’t Shoot never actually transpired. Even worse, their martyr was a brute who was perfectly happy to abuse and rob a person of color who was vulnerable to his (Michael Brown’s) physical mass. The reality is that very few black lives matter to the BLM crowd; we can even put an approximate number on it: in 2015 roughly 300 back lives mattered, the number of black persons killed by police, rounding up a little to account for whatever black celebrities died during that time and the handful murdered by non-blacks. For the 7,000 plus mostly young black men who are killed by other young black men annually BLM couldn’t care less, which also goes for the 10s of thousands of black children killed by the abortionist (hell, the BLM crowd, egged on by their progressive masters, celebrates those deaths). And don’t forget the innumerable black lives lost to disease in 3rd world countries that also are valueless to the BLM activists and hangers on. BLM adheres to the It Might As Well Be Blood! narrative even when it actually involves copious amount of blood and misery (see http://conservativeproletariat.com/?p=231).
My pharmacist friend from the opening scenario of this article soon realized he was simply overcome with emotion, calmed down, and the matter soon faded away. I can, however, too easily imagine a different outcome from a progressive government bureaucracy (indeed I’ve seen and experienced such things, ridiculous as it may sound): the pharmacist was upset enough to report the incident to administration. They in turn order an investigation that concludes something like this- while we determined that the spilled substance was actually Betadyne, the fact that someone felt it was blood requires that the employees involved in the spill be disciplined, that policies and training be initiated to clearly state we have zero tolerance for throwing blood around, and that people offended by such acts have support resources made available to them.
I will end with two recollections from the excellent show Seinfeld. One, we sadly have entered the Bizzaro World of political and cultural progressivism, which will prove temporarily satisfying for some but ultimately unfavorable for all. Second, as we increasingly find comfort and even power in fantasy at the expense of reality, a quote from the great thinker George Costanza is increasingly pertinent: “Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.”