Right-Wing Republicans Everywhere!!!

All this talk in the news lately about republicans has me reminiscing.  You see, I didn’t have a typical introduction into EMS.  Actually, several things about me that I consider a fundamental part of my identity aren’t exactly characteristic of professionals in this field; like the fact that I have a vagina, for instance.


Fresh out of college, I proudly displayed my Bachelor of Science degree as I worked…in a coffee shop.  I enjoyed working there, but I knew deep down that I would need health insurance one day.  A friend of mine had recently begun volunteering as an EMT, and he double dog dared me to take the EMT class.  I studied forensics in college, and I love evaluating facts and solving a mystery surrounding death.  I couldn’t see a single scenario in which I would want to work with living patients.  I thought living patients are boring and annoying.  The problem is that this was a double dog dare.  One does not balk in the face of a double dog dare.  Plus, I was working at a coffee shop and tutoring a few local kids in math; my time wasn’t exactly in high demand.


I enrolled in the next available EMT class, and shortly after graduated top of my class.  I’ve always loved to solve a puzzle, and I was thoroughly surprised to find that every patient has a mystery to solve.  Furthermore, you have to solve it on your feet, in a limited amount of time, in difficult surroundings.  Well, I do love a challenge!  I opted to apply for a job as an EMT, thrilled by the fact that I could get health insurance AND a 401k.  I felt like I was impersonating a grown-up.


The job was like nothing I’d ever encountered.  I was completely unprepared for several aspects of emergency medicine, but the single biggest initial shock was my coworkers.  I had never seen so many right-wing republicans in my life.  I felt like Jane Goodall.


Many of my coworkers appeared to be right-wing republicans to me, regardless of where they actually fall on the political scale, most likely as a partial result of so much exposure to the liberal side of life.  At first glance, it appeared to me as if the archetypal EMT is molded from a gun-toting, conservative, WASP household with some deep seated connection to emergency and rescue services.  He is a Caucasian male, slightly overweight, and has a bitchin’ mustache with a receding hairline. He typically drives a pickup truck too large for one paltry parking space, often adorned with a toolbox, American flags, at least one star of life, a fire symbol, and an occasional biblical reference.  He has a side job in a manly endeavor like carpentry, logging, auto-mechanics, masonry, or creating testosterone.  He loudly spouts antiquated ideas and references, and he has distaste for new technology he has yet to understand, unless it will calculate drug dosages for him or bring him pornography.


My coworkers weren’t exactly prepared for me, either.  I grew up reading comic books and finishing my homework early in a family that only cared for politics when the discussion turned to legalizing marijuana.  My pepper spray is pink, I’d rather read than watch television, and I drive the sissiest pickup truck known to man.  Maybe I didn’t fit in here because I’ve never fit in anywhere, but the differences made me seem like a pariah.  I saw myself as a modern, feminist intellectual with a strong sense of purpose and ethics, but I probably appeared to be an over-educated, bleeding-heart hippie with a snooty lust for literature.


A few incidents stand out for sure as extreme:


The first time I worked on an ambulance, my field training officer and I went to McDonald’s for lunch.  We sat down at the table, and he prayed before eating his meal.  I’ve never been a religious person and was slightly caught off guard, but I respect his beliefs.  Although I did not participate, I waited in silence for him to finish.  He immediately took on a very serious tone, raised his voice, and told me that I am going to Hell.  I honestly thought he was joking at first, as it seemed so strange to me.  It’s not every day a girl gets condemned.


I quickly learned that political commentary is not an invitation for polite discourse. I just spent four years in a liberal arts college, surrounded by geeks, activists, artists, and hippies.  I had grown accustomed to having the opportunity for cerebral conversations about rights, laws, science, technology, art, religion, or politics with nearly anyone I came across, and I was so surrounded by the liberally minded, that I thought that was the norm.  A coworker complained disdainfully about immigrants and “other freeloaders.”  At first mention of the word “socio-economic,” I was told I was “one of those” before I had even made an actual statement.


Shockingly, several people with whom I worked not only refrained from recycling, but opposed it.  Recycling seems to me to be one of the easiest ways in which people can reduce their carbon footprint.  All you have to do is put certain kinds of trash in a different receptacle.  I have worked with more than one person who would intentionally throw away empty soda bottles that I had saved in a bag to take home to recycle.  I was once told by someone who threw away a bottle of mine that he did so, “because recycling is just plain stupid.”  I’m sorry, do what?  I never could wrap my head around that.


Those examples are pretty extreme, but they’re true.  These days, I don’t feel so much like an outsider.  I may obviously lean a little more left of center than many of my coworkers, but few people stand out as being glaringly right-winged.  For the most part, the little differences are for little more than poking fun nowadays.  I tend to just ignore the extremists; as it turns out, they are the outliers, and they are not limited to EMS.


Republican/Parapup Comparison

Utilizing the Second Amendment:

                Republican-Has a multitude of firearms at his disposal.  Knows location and specificities of each gun.

                Parapup-Has pink pepper spray on her key chain.  Now carries pepper spray outside of purse when walking alone after realizing that she would have to ask an assailant to hold on a minute so she could find her keys in her purse to get to her pepper spray.

Identifying One’s Heroes:

                Republican-Actual people in history and athletes

                Parapup-Fictional comic book characters with impossible super powers

Extracurricular Interests:

Republican-Civil war

Parapup-Serial killers

Vehicular Turbulence:

                Republican-Either knows how to fix cars, or knows someone who does

                Parapup-Knows how to turn up the radio louder to mask naughty engine noises


Republican-Enjoys watching NASCAR

Parapup-Enjoys watching NASCAR fans

Fashion forward:

Republican-Accessorizes with camouflage

Parapup-Accessorizes with glitter and rhinestones


Republican-Pickup truck takes up two spaces

Parapup-Pickup truck barely takes me to work


Republican-Hunts for game

                Parapup-Once hit a cat with my truck. I might have cried.



  • EMTFreakGirl says:

    I swear, Parapup and I are soul sisters…seperated at birth!

  • Jane says:

    Brilliant! You’re back on your game!

  • Geoffrey Horning says:

    hahaha…One of these days I’m gonna find someone in America who set out to be a paramedic…We all came from somewhere, for some reason, and somehow ended up here.  Personally I think our varied and storied backgrounds are a good thing performance wise, and ability to “think on your feet-wise”, but its funny how different we all are, and yet how much the composition of your department matches those that I’ve worked for almost to a tee.  Pretty sure after working Internationally now that we really do have a pretty good and pretty unified EMS system in the US, we just don’t often know it or realize it!  My favorite part of political season is the third grade name calling from all the pundits, bloggers, and “every man’s” of the country that goes with it.  i.e. “Pres. Obummer”, “Bill-ary”, “republi-tards”, “dumocrats” etc…My least favorite part is hearing my co-workers spout these off at work. 

    Glad your back!

    • parapup says:

       I’m glad to be back!  The ad hominem discourse is what gets to me about politics. I never understand how anyone can take those things seriously.  I also find it fascinating just how angry everyone gets.  Then again, I was yelling in my truck on the way to work yesterday listening to NPR.  So, I guess I’m one to talk.  Thanks for reading! 

  • CPRinstr says:

    Sounds like you’d fit in here in Chicago

  • EruditeEMT says:

    I feel like we’re /practically/ the same person…except you’re way witter.

  • I would assume that “one of THOSE” meant “a person who cares about everybody, not just the lucky few. But I wouldn’t have liked it.
    Our captain doesn’t let people do that, speak their mind with the only result being a judgment of someone. He’s really strict about it, and nobody does it when he’s around.
    He’s a Vietnam Veteran, and he has quite a sensitive spot about people who “condemn a man prior to investigation.”

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