“We have to abandon the passive role we have accepted as mere consumers of media; we must see ourselves in a new light — or rather see ourselves once again in a revolutionary light — as citizen leaders with responsibilities to speak the truth.” — Naomi Wolf, “The End of America” — in speaking of liberals.
I don’t want to completely spook you out or anything, but then I think of what those determined and obstinate tea party types and the wimpy legislators who have not stood up to them and put them in their place have been doing to this country. When it comes to being frightening, the ghosts and goblins of Halloween cannot come close. And as I looked through my notebook and noticed all of the references and quotes I had jotted down in relation to this debacle, I just automatically marched to the desktop.
The tea party types keep holding us hostage to their demands — completely obsessed with what is obviously their aim to sabotage “Obamacare” with no thought to the consequences for anyone else. Too bad there haven’t been enough undaunted congressmen and congresswomen to protect us from this threat to our democracy. It’s such a sad comment on the human condition when people who are obsessed with their own narcissistic aims can throw the whole country out of whack and so many of our legislators are so beholden to special interests that chaos results.
It was bad enough during George W’s administration. We were duped while he and his mentally sclerotic cohorts maneuvered us into unnecessary wars. Now we have to deal with the antics of people with similar brain quirks who have been doggedly pursuing ways to bring down the Obama administration. You can’t help but wonder how some people become so arrogant and narcissistic and what is behind their behavior. As one wise commentator recommended: “We must face reality instead of trying to make reality fit our preconceived ideas of what reality should be.”
So how did those ultra-conservatives become so completely engulfed in their self-serving aims, closed to any thoughts but their own and so dismissive of those of us who believe government and democracy should operate for everyone? What caused them to become so indifferent to the welfare of the rest of us and so obsessed with being in control? Nature or nurture?
Looking for some answers, I went to my book closet and there I found three very interesting books that offer much insight into the ultra-conservative mindset. One was written about what made George W. tick: “Bush on the Couch” (2004), by Justin A. Frank M.D. In describing Bush and others like him (including his cohort Cheney) Frank wrote: “He wants to do what he wants to do — and nobody can stop him. The megalomaniac hates anybody else having power — it is always a potential threat to his own.” Add Jacob Weisberg, author of “The Bush Tragedy” (2008), in referring to Bush 43: “Bush’s inflexibility is rooted in the old family drama. At a temperamental level, the president has almost no ability to accept blame or learn from mistakes.”
Also I found “The Republican Brain” (2012), by Chris Mooney who writes at length about the problem of the right wing mind and how it got that way. “Some of our individual brain cells have latent ideological implications, and may predispose us toward the adoption of beliefs that ‘feel’ right to us — religious beliefs and political beliefs, among others.” Then he goes into our environment — especially the influence of our family and “the region of the country in which we live, the era, the political structures, the communication technologies in use.”
And his basic conclusion: “Part of the truce would require conservatives to recognize that if you want knowledge, you must go to a person (or better yet, a group of persons, like the scientific community) that is adept at determining what it actually is. You don’t just get to make it up for yourself and deny what actual experts say because you’re sure you’re right.” (Think global warming).
We don’t need Halloween to remind us that there are spooks out there to harass us. We don’t need to hear anyone yell “Boo” or even “Trick or Treat.” We who cannot fathom how some people can be so recalcitrant are already spooked enough by the tricks of the extreme right’s tactics which, we can be sure, haven’t ended. As the Oct. 21 editorial in one of our newspapers expressed: “What’s really scary is that we might have to do it all again.”
“Our democracy is in danger. The danger has its roots in money, power, social structure and history, but its ultimate source is in the brains of our citizens.” — George Lakoff, “The Political Mind.”
Since 1984, Dorothy Dimitre has written more than 700 columns for various local newspapers. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.