Probably three of the most politically incorrect words in the language. When someone says “I don’t care” we immediately assume they are dunderheads or at the least, curmudgeons.
I got an email the other day from a woman who was irate because she approached a politician about a certain grievance she had and after listening and trying to get out of the conversation he said, exasperated, “I don’t care.” She was incensed and is setting about to ensure he never gets elected to anything other than dog catcher.
I sympathize with the politician. He may not have handled his constituent with the kid gloves they expect, but his answer was refreshing.
How can we possibly ‘care’ about everything. How can the government, a group, a political party, or an individual ‘care’ about all the issues seven billion people have on a daily basis. I”m all for ‘caring’ about a few things and then doing something about it.
Joyce in our office ‘cares’ about stray animals and spend all her free time rescuing and dealing with cats and dogs. She has personally saved the lives of hundreds of critters destined for euthanasia by finding good homes for them. She ‘cares’ and does something about it. She doesn’t just look at the ads in the paper with cute puppies lined up for the gas chamber and sigh. She really cares and takes action.
However if Joyce tied herself in knots about every issue or problem that comes by her door and became emotionally involved in all the causes, issues, and disasters of our time not a pup or kitten would be saved.
Most people who overreact to politicians are one issue voters. They care about one thing and if the mayor, representative, governor, senator or yes, president is on the opposite side of that issue, they assume the person is despicable. They could be the greatest on the economy, or foreign affais, or health care, but if they ‘don’t care’ about the snail darter they should be placed on the scrap heap of history.
Wouldn’t you prefer that someone simply told you how they felt about a topic. You would know where you stood. You would know that they weren’t going to help you, and you could move on. Or they could as they say ‘shine you on.’ Listen to your problem, make all the right sounds, and then when you turned away, make a face and forget the entire conversation. I would prefer if they told me, right up front, that they ‘didn’t care.’
People who accost you with their problems want to draw you in and then look to you for a solution. Unlike Joyce, they don’t see themselves as a solution. They want you to care about something in which you have little interest, and if you ‘don’t care’ you are a goat.
Isn’t is also the case that ‘not caring’ means you are neutral or agnostic on the subject. Neither pro nor con. You aren’t for the snail darter or against the snail darter. You just don’t care. You have no feeling on the subject, either way. You “don’t care.’
I know some people can’t imagine that most people simply don’t care about their pet project or personal grievance. How could you not care about millions of puppies or the snail darter or whether there is a girly bar on Venice Boulevard. What kind of person are you anyway. If you don’t agree with me, you must disagree. You can’t ‘not care.’
Frankly I’m a person who tries to keep somewhat sane by not caring about most things. I think we all really REALLY don’t care about most things. We appear to have opinions and ‘care’ but when its time to put up or shut up, we seldom put up. Maybe we write a check to salve our conscience, but do we ‘care.’
I feel some emotional connection to people who are caught in tragedy, or wronged, or caught in uncontrollable situations, but that must be short lived. Since I know, usually in a nanosecond, about every thing that happens on the planet, self preservation says that I must not get caught up in these connections. If I did, I couldn’t survive.
So if I say “I don’t care” don’t take offense. I’m not for you or against you, I just don’ care.