ALPERN AT LARGE--Word of the day: GASLIGHTING. This happens increasingly in the United States, and throughout the world, but especially here in California. Gaslighting, as per Wikipedia, is a form of manipulation that sows seeds of doubt in an individual or members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their memory, perception, and sanity.
The script is all too familiar: something terrible and unsustainable gets imposed on us, we scream, and then we're told WE are the ones who are being ridiculous.
Locally, a few lousy, unsustainable and economically city policies involving everything from misappropriation of homeless/transit funds to "road diets" that potentially make safety issues worse gets rammed down our throats, and then when the citizenry screams it's told that the citizens are the crazy ones.
At the state level, Senate Bill 827 will destroy our environmental and zoning standards, violating the laws of physics, biology, and decency, and likely HURTING the desire for more transit, but those up in arms are told THEY have the problem.
The cost of going to a public/taxpayer-funded UC or Cal State college is going way up to north of $30,000 a year, and those shrieking at the unfairness of our budgeting process are told that THEY are the problem, and that THEY need to "get with the program" and pay up.
Evidence keeps accruing that our pension crisis at the city, county, and state level (and it's not just California, of course) is out of control, and those raising the issue about the unsustainability of more retired employees making six figures a year than ever are told that they just don't respect police, firefighters, and teachers.
And then there's the biggest "you're not allowed to talk about that" issue, that of illegal immigration. With even Wikipedia describing the cost of educating and providing other services to illegal immigrants as being over $11 billion a year, when ARE we allowed to raise the issues of unsustainability, the effects of these costs on the middle class, and the unfair practices of businesses undermining the Minimum Wage without being labelled racists, haters, and any other names that can be thrown at those raising the issue?
So, remember that term: GASLIGHTING.
Because saying that 2 + 2 cannot, just CANNOT equal 7, isn't the statement of a crazy person.
But there's no shortage of "higher ups" who will try to make that statement get proclaimed as crazy if it furthers their collective agenda.
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud father and husband to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at [email protected] He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)