The news of Jamie Dimons cancer diagnosis produced a double dose of anxiety for me one, because I just hate to hear about anyone having to face this kind of thing, and two, because I was afraid of what the reactions of others would say about the state of our society.
Even before I logged onto Twitter or perused the comments under the breaking-news stories posted on the websites of mass media outlets like The New York Times, I was imagining what they would say: Couldnt have happened to a nicer person, All his money cant save him now, Thats what you get for foreclosing on families. Etc., etc., etc.
So I was relieved to see only a smattering of this type of obnoxiousness in the aforementioned places. Of course, that there were any mean-spirited remarks at all was still disheartening. (I briefly considered embedding some of the offending Tweets here to offer examples, but really, why give these people any more of a microphone than they already have?)
Id rather focus on what I really found shocking: the overwhelming majority of comments that were filled with messages of encouragement, empathy and support for Dimon. Credit the power of low expectations, but I feel a sliver of my faith in humanity has thus been restored especially considering that the good wishes seemed to come not just from JPMorgan Chase employees and other folks youd expect to see in his corner, but from his ideological opponents on matters of banking and regulation.
Sayeth Dimon critic Josh Rosner of research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co.:
joshua rosner (@JoshRosner) July 2, 2014
And Alan MacDougalla person Im not familiar with but who is described in his Twitter profile as an Ironman triathlete, Mac geek, beer lover and New Haven Road Race board profilegraciously had this to say about Dimon, whom he apparently has criticized in the past:
Regardless of my many negative tweets about JP CEO Jamie Dimon, I hope that he has a complete and speedy recovery from his throat cancer
alan macdougall (@cyberdyne) July 2, 2014
My quick, unscientific count of comments on Twitter and elsewhere indicates that the get-well-soon messages far outnumber the you-deserve-it messages. Sad to say, given the coarseness of our public discourse these days and especially public discourse on anything regarding banks and bankers I wasnt at all confident that this would be the case.
So good job, Internet. If the least-loved (or is it the least-hated?) banker in America can dodge snark about his medical condition, perhaps public discourse isnt in as sorry a state as I feared. I only wish we displayed so much good sense, civility and basic humanity toward one another the rest of the time.