I have been thinking a lot lately how easy it is to become a sudden expert on everything, especially when it comes to criticism. Perhaps it’s the internet, or that we just don’t want to work that hard, or wait that long, or maybe it is just the arrogance of our time. I was listening to someone the other day complain about how their doctor was wrong about a certain thing because he had looked it up on the internet and heard an anecdotal story from a neighbor. I was astounded. Not that a doctor isn’t ever wrong, because I will be the first to say we give people like doctor’s, religious leaders, and politicians too much authority, but because of the complete disregard of their expertise and knowledge. I should have said, before you jump to the internet or a secondhand story, you should walk the journey it took the doctor to receive that degree. I would think their opinion would weigh a bit more than your neighbor or an article on the internet. There is a reason that many of us toiled hours upon hours in reading, lectures, study and exams to get that sheepskin…to reach a level of expertise that goes beyond any other layperson who hasn’t gone through the process. So while I may disagree with any particular expert, I do give them the respect their title has earned them. There is something to be said for an educational process that makes extreme demands on one’s intellect. Almost like a physical exercise program results in a strong toned body, an academic one does the same for the mind. Simply reading about exercise won’t make you close to the expert that one who actually does the work. Personally, I worked my ass off for every degree I have. There are areas in which I hold an expertise that others do not and I will never apologize for that…because I earned it and am proud to be a credible source of information. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I do have many that will help people with questions they may have.
A respect for expertise is important in rebuilding this country which is in dire need of dramatic changes. It will be difficult and a lot of us will have to make uncomfortable changes. I think President Obama has the necessary expertise to direct the rebuilding of our country and it saddens me that disrespect that is directed toward him. I have disagreed with many a president but have never felt compelled to disregard the office because I am completely aware of what a difficult job it is. Walking in someone’s shoes is something that should make us all pause before we criticize an experts opinion.