“Politicians are just there to self-promote themselves,” he said. “It might appear that they want to help the public or to move issues forward. But they’re really trying to get themselves ahead.”
My mouth dropped at that. Here was a San Francisco Caucasian guy. Likely liberal since we were standing in a bar during a break at a marketing business conference. We had heard from speakers who lamented the rise of Trump and the twist of how humor can break through the lies we tell.
“Maybe I am optimistic,” I finally said. “Recently, my boyfriend asked me how I would describe what lawyers do. I replied, ‘Defend me!’ He laughed and responded that most people would say, ‘They sue.'”
“I should go to town halls,” he continued, not quite reflecting on my response. “But what’s the point? They’re not even helping the American public.”
“But to be at that kind of role, they do need a degree of narcissism.”
But it dawned on me. Is this how all of America feels? That there is no hope? That there is no point to all of this?
That everyone who holds political office is a liar. That they’re only to promote their agenda. That this is all nihilism, as a friend aptly described later.
I didn’t bother arguing with him. We had just finished a debate about healthcare where I believed that poor health is systemic and that it’s not the individuals fault that they’re unhealthy. That the healthcare system was oriented, as it is being proposed in the House, to help people like us—highly motivated, highly educated, surrounded by resources. I suggested that fitness wearables need to be oriented toward the masses to be more successful. There needs to be better programs, most importantly. Even without wearables. “It’s not designed for them,” he argued.
“What if,” I insisted. “What if they could?”
I kept thinking of that last statement. What if something could help the poor find better health? What if something could help the poor make small changes or even be informed? What if?
And what if we believed that the politicians can be good? They may be just led astray.
I thought all of this as I thought about how I met this guy. Formerly at Yahoo. Now at Twitch. A contrast to my own healthcare experience—dabbled with a biopharm, did a longish stint at a healthcare startup helping people with diabetes, and a large complex healthcare organization. How does a guy who never worked in healthcare and only worked on services about delivering video about games know anything?
Then I realized: he totally mansplained healthcare and politics to me.
In return, I’ll keep my distance and note his name on my blacklist (aka people never to work with ever).