Another PTSD Stupidty Rant

Every now and then I wonder if my distaste for talking to people is purely a result of my PTSD or if it’s a mixture of PTSD and a complete hatred of stupid people.  While for the last couple of years I’ve been blaming it mostly on PTSD, lately I think I’m coming around to the reality that the vast majority of Americans agree with each other because they are unable to think for themselves and that level of stupidity is what nauseates me every time I see that a conversation may be about to take place.

I spoke in an earlier article about the two people who stood in the street and, with absolutely blind obedience, blamed everything that is wrong with schools and the number of kids in a classroom on Obama and, when reminded of 10 years of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and two useless wars decided that the only two replies they had in their little mental arsenals were to call me a “liberal” and begin a sentence with the word “Rush” anywhere in it.

Yesterday I was at the VA Hospital clinic in Sacramento dealing with the effects of Agent Orange and the VA’s refusal to accept their own neurologist’s determinations and for more tests on the nerves in my feet and legs. This would be the third time that the exact same tests would be done but since the VA’s computers aren’t capable of giving a complete record of what vets receive in different VA areas and the first two showed the same results, well, since the VA isn’t very organized I would have the same tests a third time and the results, as I was later told, was that the results were getting worse as time passed.

Granted, I try as hard as humanly possible not to get into any conversations with the vets there or much of anywhere because, well, frankly, most of them are idiots and I hear the words “Rush” and “Beck” constantly while they whine about the government and their taxes and wasteful spending while they sit in a government hospital getting free medical assistance from the taxpayers. I tried one time at a VA hospital in Los Angeles to ask a group if they saw any hypocrisy in complaining about government programs while sucking up government programs and damn near got in a fight with six old fools that immediately started calling me names and threatening me without one, NOT ONE, responding to the question.

Yesterday’s incident almost got to that same level but I was called away for my appointment.

Some fellow came in with his wife and tried to return a big plastic boot that he had been issued after an operation and that he no longer needed. The lady at the counter stated that the VA had no process in place for the return of issued medical equipment and so he would have to deal with it himself.  She sounded like it was a question she dealt with a lot and was getting kind of tired of responding to.

IMMEDIATELY, two vets sitting in the waiting room started in about how one had been issued a wheelchair after back surgery and the other had some complicated back support equipment and they had both tried to return then and couldn’t. For some reason, the one guy launches into how this is all the Democrat’s fault for not having this stuff taken back and the other was nodding his empty head saying, “Yup! Yup!” over and over.

When the crap deteriorated into “It’s because of Obama” and “those Democrats” I couldn’t sit quietly anymore. Granted, I’ve lost the vast majority of faith I once had in Obama. I walked and knocked on doors and gave money and voted for the candidate Obama but the guy that took the oath isn’t who I worked for and nearly none of what he has done since was what he promised so I don’t bother to defend him. He hurts my heart.  What he’s done hurts my soul.

Instead, though, I just can’t let stupid alone. When there was a slight pause in their growing attack on everything “liberal” and “Democrat” and “government” I broke in and said, “You know, you could take those things to some place like the Red Cross or Haiti Aid places or even to Goodwill and organizations like that and just donate them. There are a hundred organizations that would love to get their hands on things like that for free to give to the poor for when they need them. You’d have them out of your garages and make them useful again and you would probably even get some sort of tax deduction out of it.” I put on my brightest, most harmless looking smile while I said all of this so that they could, maybe, think I was just adding an idea to their conversation and not calling them the freaking idiots they obviously were.

From the side I heard one of the women at the counter tell the guy with the boot “That’s a good idea. Why not do that?” His answer? “I’ll throw the damn thing in the trash before I give it to some lazy, out of work bum.” Off he and his wife stomped to throw away the perfectly good piece of medical equipment because some poor person might actually have a need for it.

I turned back to the two guys that had been talking and said, in my softest voice, “It’s still a good idea. Why waste something that costs so much?”

The first guy looks at me for maybe five seconds then turns to the other vet and says, “See? Damn Democrats. Wants us to give away perfectly good medical equipment to the poor. The poor are poor because they’re all lazy and won’t work and I’m supposed to help them? If the Democrats had their way we’d be giving the poor free medical care, too. Damn Democrats.” During this amazing twisting of reality the other vet just kept nodding his head and repeating, “Yup! Yup!”

My head was filling with all the things I wanted to say but all of it was blotted out by a sudden realization. I had just witnessed the transmission of learned stupidity from one person to another while both completely and utterly ignored any suggestion of a possible alternate way of doing things that benefited other human beings. I had just witnessed exactly what happens every time these people turn on FOX NEWS or Limbaugh and, regardless of how ignorant and mindless the speaker is, they just nod their tiny heads and think, “Yup! Yup!”

They have heard what they wanted to hear. They have said what they think and that is the end of it. They have already completely forgotten every word that they didn’t want to hear. They didn’t want to discuss the issue. People like that know that the facts are usually against them so they just nod their empty heads and think “Yup! Yup!” That is America in 2011. That one conversation is everything that is wrong about every single issue that exists in our nation. Do NOT tell me what I do not want to hear because I will either ignore you or call you names that I have been told are insults and everything you say is wrong wrong, wrong because it makes me uncomfortable to hear it said to me.  It is the semi-adult version of the screamed schoolyard taunt “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!! NYAH! NYAH! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

I was called back by the doctor or whatever she was and I limped away, shaking my head. I glanced at the lady at the counter and she smiled right into my eyes so I knew that someone had actually heard what I said and took two seconds to consider it and she said, “I’ll recommend that people do that from now on.”

That’s why I hate people. That’s why, along with the wonderful mix of PTSD, I try not to get into conversations with people. I know I am not talking to them. I am talking to the voices in their heads that come from their TVs and radios and tell them to hate the poor and less fortunate and to throw away perfectly good medical equipment rather than benefit their fellow human beings. If I try to talk to them I’m arguing with Beck and O’Reilly and Limbaugh but one step removed from them because none of those creepy little animals would ever consider sitting down and talking about the facts because they know that the facts would make them appear to be the complete tools of the wealthy that they are. And those tools twist the screws in the empty heads of people who want to hate, they just need to know who to hate and, god almighty, the right is flooded with people thrilled to tell them who to hate.

So there I sat, listening to three featherless parrots who were so full of hate for “them” that they will never comprehend that there is no “Them”, there is only “Us”. And “Us” are screwed.

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6 Responses to Another PTSD Stupidty Rant

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    • Jelena says:

      The video we watched in class was infotmarive, but nothing that I had not seen before. Throughout my years in high school, we had assemblies about suicide, and these assemblies always touched on some sort of aspect of PTSD in the military. My father is a subscriber to Time magazine, where the article is from, but it s not the first time I ve read an article from Time about suicide in relation to the military. The video we watched did shed some light on what our troops see, experience, and act out overseas. But the hardest thing that our soldier s deal with is what to do with what they ve seen; do they internalize it, most do, do they talk about it, most won t, or do they just leave it over there and try and carry out their regular lives back home, most try but few succeed.I had always contemplated joining the military while I was in high school, but one of the biggest obstacles in my way, was my fear of PTSD. I well knew what the consequences of seeing some serious shit, excuse my language, over there would do to you. It honestly scared the living crap out of me, even to points where I would just give up thinking about joining. But the saving grace that re-assured me was that my father, had served in the United States Navy, and he turned out to be a fine person. You may say that the Navy doesn t see any combat, or any other excuse, but you never know they are all cooked up on a boat, for months on end. I finally made my decision earlier this semester, when I joined the ARMY ROTC here on campus. I knew the decision I made took a lot of courage from my inner being, because I am signing that I will serve 8 years for the United States government. One saving grace that may slightly help me, pending my deployment after I graduate is that, I am a nursing major. Most nurses, to my knowledge serve in hospitals behind the front lines, which is good because I will not see very much combat, I will just see the effects of combat on our troops. I hope to be deployed to Landstuhl, Germany which houses a very large medical facility, which is the first stop back from the Middle East. But there is always a chance that I may not get my deployment choice, and I will have to be deployed to the Middle East in a hospital, where I will see severe combat related injuries, so PTSD will honestly affect me. It s always in the back of my mind that PTSD will affect me, but hopefully my inner strength will let me revail.

  2. Marybeth Maria says:

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    • ChujCi says:

      Killing another human being. That is one of the sklils a soldier is taught at boot camp before departing to a foreign nation. If this doesn t tell you why soldiers are fucked up in the head after going to battle then I don t know what will. Watching your best friend die. There are very few of us not in the military that we can say the person most near and dear to our heart we watched die. They say that history repeats itself but war is always constant, and it s true. The United States has worked for 300 hundred years to become the worlds largest super power and believe me we are not going to stop now.A soldier s life isn t worth much to the government, just a casualty of war. It s quite sad when you think about it, how low we value our soldiers. It s one of those things where the soldiers get into the government military and then realize how corrupt it is.PTSD is a result of all of these factors coming together in a dramatic realization. There is nothing more brutal than war. There is nothing more detrimental to a person s mental health than killing someone. The life that a soldier lives over seas is drastically different that of what they live here. The numbers don t lie, of course suicide rates are going up because the military is a bureaucracy and they have one agenda, to get soldiers in perform a mission and shuttle new soldiers in as fast as they can. They do not want to have to be accountable for the soldiers who come home.There are a few factors that case this jump in suicide rates that differ from other wars such as Vietnam or World War II. Anomie is sweeping over our nation like a disease. People do not just come home from war and meet up with a girl and have lots of babies. Its not like that anymore, most of the population openly disagrees with the war but have little say, or don t care to say their opinion. Secondly, people just really don t care one way or the other; if I don t do it someone will mentality. Lastly, soldiers are sent back to the US kicked back out into the society and expected to be regular functioning member of society. No. There not. There changed now. The military has to implement more patient based help. Not help that will just satisfy a requirement for release. Serious help that will help the soldier recover. Then the next step is to teach them about sociology.

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  4. Doc Carney says:

    Hi John:

    Glad to see you’re writing again. From time to time I feel the urge myself, but not strongly enough to give up pursuits I find more satisfying in my September years 😉

    Thoreau said that “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” I think that’s particularly true of the men and women who served in the war of our generation, in Vietnam. And despite the increasing numbers of young folks from our Muslim wars of recent years, still the majority of VA enrollees are old folks like ourselves from the Vietnam war, men and women beaten down not just by our war experiences but by our advancing years and ailments as well. Thirty years ago the scene you describe might have been considerably different.

    I recall my first trip to the VA after my retirement. I was just a year out from an amputation and my stump was still maturing, requiring frequent adjustments. When I arrived for my “appointment,” I quickly found out that everyone in the amputee clinic waiting room had identical appointment times … all at 0900. When I (very loudly) pointed out that fact, a near riot ensued and the clinic procedures were changed to insure individual appointments and a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere, with much less company, in the waiting room thereafter. But that was when we were still young and full of piss and vinegar. Now, we’re old, pliable, homogenous and many of us are not as smart as we used to be. Hence we’re more liable to say, “Yup, yup,” than to risk the disapproval of our more insistent peers. You probably had more friends in that waiting room than the single woman who smiled and agreed, perhaps even the “yup, yup” guy.

    I think that Obama’s main problem is one shared by all black people, and it’s a delusion of sorts. Most black folks only experience racism as a victim, that is they see and hear only openly displayed racism. One the one hand they learn quickly to separate the wheat from the chaff in linguistically nuanced racism by politicians and right wing talkers like Limbaugh. But on the other hand they almost never hear the “hard” racism that our white brothers frequently display amongst other whites of like mind. Hence, in my estimation, most black folks are blissfully unaware of the true depths of hatred held by many whites and give us far too much credit for being willing to embrace equality between the races. By now, he clearly understands that the republicans will never, never give him an iota of legislative help, but I don’t think he fully comprehends that their agenda is only peripherally political, secondary to their main agenda, which has been racist since the days of Nixon’s “southern strategy.”

    There’s a third leg here also, and you were kind enough to couch it in kinder terms than I’d have used. It’s the simple fact that in terms of computing power, half the country is just plain smarter than the other half. Some of that deficiency can be made up by education, of course, but even the best educated on the south side of 100 IQ are simply incapable of understanding our complex political system with sufficient clarity to cast their vote in favor of their best interests rather than their worst instincts. In the present instance, many of the people of whom you spoke above would rather be beaten up in a VA hospital than to participate in a rational and effective all inclusive health care system.

    Hang in there. It has to get better.

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