“The top 10% have hundreds of billions in wealth, but it would only take hundreds of millions to cover the health insurance of all the uninsured,” she told me. She was grading papers. She was an instructor at Antioch College. She had told me the plagiarism of ideas in the papers was abhorrent.
“Wow,” I said, “if that’s true, I’d support moving that wealth around somehow.” I went on, “I would like to see the breakdown though…Who has how much of the wealth in the top 10%. And where is their wealth…”
She got an impatient look on her face, “You can look this stuff up. It’s out there. Do some research.”
My irritation flared up, and I grew impatient, too… but I checked it, reminding myself she was an academic and her experience was probably more from published data, and less from real-world data. And anyway, what good would my impatience get? I wanted to learn, not get into an argument.
“Shoot me some links on that,” I said. “Ok,” she said, but sounded more bothered by my ignorance.
I soldiered on, wanting to share my inclinations, “I’d rather focus on helping people, to empower them to be able to pay for health insurance themselves.”
“That’s kind of naive,” she said.
The comment did not cut deep, since by this point I was getting accustomed to her authoritative style. In addition, I was on my third beer.
She left after a few minutes. I gave her my contact info, to get the data from her.
Then I sat thinking for awhile. She was cute. I liked her passion. I wish I had steered the conversation away from the generalities of politics and sociology, and more about her.
I finished the last of my beer and thought, “There are really two kinds of people in the world. There are the ones who want to focus more on empowering people. And there are others who want to focus more on empowering the institution to help people. One is about giving power to the individual, while the other is about taking power and decision-making from the individual.”
Satisfied in my conclusion, I got the attention of the bartender, “Cash me out please.”
I gathered my things to go home, and found myself feeling regret.
Although I had solidified my philosophy, I had missed an opportunity to truly get to know another human being. And that misplay went against the very essence of my philosophy.