Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Bane of Denial---An American Ethos

During last week's operator and management meeting, I heard a flurry of denials from both sides, making or believing statements not completely reality based.  That got me to thinking about how commonplace denial has become, seemingly now an essential part of  our cultural dialogue.  And related to that thought, just how did we arrive to this greater societal agreement, replacing fact with denial and obfuscation, collectively condoning what should be unacceptable?   A quick examination verifies what now should be obvious.

Everyday new discoveries of dinosaur fossils dating from millions of years ago tell us how life was formed yet many around our planet hold beliefs saying everything was instead created in a mere 7 days, namely in a universal minute. Of course many other associated myths connected to that notion sprout up, further entangling the mind.  While these kinds of refusals might be the ultimate denial of our shared reality, it is only foundational--- begetting other kinds of more mundane denials of what is right in front of our noses.

Denial has become so popular that even criminals who clearly have committed an offense are both allowed and encouraged to plea not guilty even though irrefutable evidence exists that they did do what they shouldn't have.  And if you are someone who is clearly mentally ill, the accused might be found not guilty by reason of insanity even when it is obvious that the defendant instead should be found guilty because they are truly mad, their cognitive situation being the reason the action, be it murder etc, occurred.  In these cases, the denial is twofold in that someone is seen both not culpable and innocent for what they did. There is true cause, it exists, so why deny it?

Another commonplace associated denial is that prosecutors will say that the person is not nuts when clearly they are, the only interest being a guilty verdict and not justice.  If prevalent denial weren't in play, everyone would and could admit to what is truly obvious and known.

Adding fuel to the denial fire is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump who both denies functional reality and his own lack of presidential resume.  Of course I can, he says, and millions of fellow deniers agree with him, a conspiracy of the blind leading the blind down a dead end constitutional alley.

Referring back to the driver meeting, more than one board member said that problems with our current computer dispatch system occurs only 2 percent total out of an entire operational year, repeatedly giving us the figure of 98 percent efficiency when none of them have spent a minute this year or last sitting in a taxi staring, like we have, at a dead computer.  There is denial and then there is denial, swallowed whole by crocodiles swimming in the River Nile.

There were also statements made about levels of business and account activity while simultaneously not knowing that weekly  HopeLink account availability hours have been slashed by 96 hours out of a potential 168, leaving a mere 72 account hours left.  This kind of denial then only adds to driver frustration which logically leads to irrational shouting and screaming, one tied to the other.

On the driver side, their primary denial were obvious costs and financial obligations  PSD sustains weekly. That is why I asked for financial records to be released and presented, allowing us to understand why a $180.00 weekly dispatch fee remains necessary.

If PSD wants all of us to keep paying at the current rate, proof is required.  Isn't anything short of that just another kind of denial, saying regardless of anything---declining business, reduction in supervisor and cashier hours--- we must keep paying what was paid prior to Uber and Lyft entry into our market?

 As I have said, there you have it, denial our reliable friend, forever backing questionable contentions.  Is truth and clarity better?  What can't be denied is that most deny those alternatives.  Try denying that?!

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