A longtime ago, cardiologist Dr. Meyer Friedman gave me some valuable (but sometimes unworkable) advice: “If you see an accident about to happen, look the other way.”
Friedman developed the theory of the Type A personality, one that is more competitive, outgoing, ambitious and impatient, among other things.
Telling a reporter or editor to stop pushing himself with intense deadlines, particularly one with a heart attack in his medical history, was very good advice, if impractical.
Mike Friedman, a San Franciscan, thought there was a relationship between personality and heart attacks. We seem to be proving it everywhere, not just in the Bay Area.
What I am getting around to here is this: America is creating a national Type A personality, and it has serious implications for the future.
Example: The incredible story of 143 million Americans having their addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, credit histories and more stolen from the databases of Atlanta-based Equifax.
The thieves had from March to sometime in the summer to roam around unnoticed. Worse, none of us victims knew anything about the intruders until September, six months after the first hack.
How did the thieves get in? Because somebody at Equifax forgot to install a patch (think update) into the software, if you can believe it.
What it is impossible to fathom is what the executives and board of directors were thinking in keeping us in the dark for so long. It was an accident they saw coming and just stared at it. It’s unthinkable.
(Remember: When your device says “update available,” get it.)
Friedman’s theory said that Type B personalities could be found more frequently among computer managers, professors, judges and others who seemed to enjoy more the processes of life and work. They don’t blow up at slow sales clerks or rage in traffic.
Given that contrast between types, it is clear that Washington is full of Type A personalities. A blowup is guaranteed between now and nightfall — and it will occur this coming week for sure.
The Senate is set to try once more to vote on whether to repeal Obamacare. For the last seven years, Republicans have raged against it while Democrats have raged at the GOP for making the effort.
Voters, meanwhile, have made up their minds. Obamacare reached its highest approval record, 54 percent to 43 percent disapproval, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.
Following right behind the health care fight is the battle over Dreamers, the 800,000 young people who were brought to the United States as little children who now know no other country and consider themselves Americans.
President Trump seems to have a torn heart on this one. He campaigned with a promise to throw them out and discarded an Obama administration order that gave the Dreamers a right to obtain green cards while promising not to deport them to other countries.
But he also gave the Congress six months to write a new immigration policy that would allow them to stay in America. “I don’t want to hurt them,” he said.
Why give ourselves a national heart attack when all Congress has to do is say these young people — soldiers, technologists, healthcare workers, English speakers — should be legally left to lead productive lives in the only country they know?
If we weren’t so worried about these things, perhaps we could get to a constructive and bipartisan discussion of the real issue of tax reform, instead of just massive tax cuts that will run up huge deficits.
Republicans now are talking about cutting taxes $1.5 billion with no real plan for reforming the many abuses of the 7,000 pages (and counting) of the tax code.
Their rationale is that the economy will grow faster over 10 years and that will take care of the deficit. But of course it won’t. History is full of instances where politicians claimed the same thing, only to mislead either themselves or the voters.
Kansas recently tried this gobbledygook, and how did it work? The legislature raised taxes to keep their schools working and their roads repaired, and then had to override a misguided governor’s veto to keep adequate taxes flowing.
Oh, and we are blowing gaskets everywhere over what to do with monuments. Latest of these is what to do at Stone Mountain, where Confederates of the past ride sturdy granite steeds on their way to memory.
Mike Friedman, if you were here now, we could argue some more about deadlines, personality traits and national discord.
It’s enough to make the heart hurt.
Reg Murphy is a former publisher
of the San Francisco Examiner
and the Baltimore Sun. To
contact the him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.