Friday, February 15, 2013

The Conflict

There is a phenomenon recognized by the mental health community known as Gaslighting.   It is defined as a form of psychological abuse.  The name derives from a 1938 motion picture entitled Gaslight staring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.  Plot wise it is very straightforward.  A man attempts to drive his wife crazy by manipulating and denying her reality – object, to get her money. 

If you add power and control to money; make Bergman analogues to the American people and Boyer the embodiment of modern GOP politics, the parallel is exact. Interestingly enough many shrinks consider Gaslighting the preferred operational method of sociopaths.  Well, if the shoe fits.

Contemporary political and cultural examples of this trend abound.  For instance, the Wall Street monsters who imploded the economy – the world economy, thank you very much – received millions of dollars in bonuses; they are still doing their work in much the same way they always have, and not a single one of them was ever brought to justice.  After all to do so would result in the loss of jobs and possibly implosion of the economy.  The people they bankrupted and put out of work, on the other hand, are parasites on the state and responsible for the deficit.  They are to be scorned and penalized at every turn.

Special tax breaks for people with yachts is not an extravagance to a nation in debt.  However, school lunch programs that feed hungry children are prohibitively wasteful.  Cutting of Medicaid to the poor by states obsessed with austerity serves prosperity and economic growth.  Stopping multi-million dollar subsidies to bloated oil companies does not. 

The circumstances that sent us into an unnecessary, costly and bloody war fueled by lies and funded on thin air require no investigation, no hearings, no scrutiny – indeed can be denied with immunity.  Conversely, when a man who challenged his party and questioned that war is nominated to the president’s cabinet this requires investigation, hearings, scrutiny and an incredible effort at slide of hand.  I submit that staging a filibuster and refusing to call it a filibuster in order to block that man’s appointment is akin to entering someone’s home at two in the morning wearing a mask, cracking their safe, taking their money and refusing to admit that you are engaged in robbery.  

If you are not dizzy by now, you have an incredible sense of equilibrium.  Did I mention that many shrinks consider this behavior the preferred operational method of the sociopath? 

Who are these abominations that would reduce the American people to feeble minded children – afraid of their own shadow, doubtful of their reason and ability to perceive reality; children who must take instruction and their world view from the ever shifting fiction of their “leaders?”  They are mediocre and bitter old-white-men who lost the presidency, to a brilliant black man no less.  They are spineless Senators and House members, facing re-election in '14 and panic stricken at the thought that they will have a Tea Party primary challenger.  Accordingly, they will do anything, say anything, batter and brutalize anyone in order to prove that they are right enough and Right enough to keep their seat.  These are the gutless politicians who have pandered to so few, for so long that they now have so little opportunity or incentive to do anything on the national stage but inflict their own personal humiliation.

There is a war going on in this country.  It is not a class war or a war between workers and corrupt crony Capitalism.  It is a war between these slaves of a malignant political machine that distains free thinking and those of us who demand to own our thoughts, our reason, our perceptions, and to claim our right to live in a world we wish to live in and of our own making.  We all must choose a side and be seen to have chosen.

To paraphrase the great Benjamin Disraeli, the question is this: are we a nation devoted to freedom of thought or a nation of wretched, intellectually barren children.  I, my friends, am on the side of freedom.

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