Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

What Is WRONG With These People?

These days are nothing short of temporary social insanity. Such is human nature when stress is virtually intolerable and the body politic is hurting. I say “temporary” because we can only hope and pray that it is.

At such times, certain behaviors are excusable to a degree but there is a difference when inmates attempt takeover of the asylum. Hysteria has become a tactic and fills newscasts with perverse notions and accusations that are patently irresponsible, given the high suggestibility levels among the populace.

Boom times of not long ago were lost to the perfidy of poor foreign and monetary policy. The late systems analyst Edwin Freedman used the metaphor that anxiety is always hovering over society like a cloud, seeking a place to land–and will do so at any provocation, accidental or not, be it fear of other nations or races, e.g. Particularly toxic is the tendency to turn on ourselves.

There is a false claim that Fox network exists because conservative ideas are given no hearing in mainstream media. But among them are many who say they “don’t want to hear” the other side of any issue. I am liberal but I want to hear what others are thinking and saying. Certainly there are news sources I prefer, not because they are liberal but because they air many sides. To say otherwise is one, but not the only, of the bald lies that vex discourse in our times.

At what other time has a major news source, like Fox, dedicated itself to the ruin of our government and its president with a drumbeat of misinformation? I make sure my daily plate of news includes it, in hopes that conservative views will grace themselves with balance and integrity. But modern conservatism is now held hostage by extremists.

For scores of months CNN has given long and generous coverage to matters ranging from Katrina and Haiti to the current environmental disaster– sometimes 24/7; but when I switch to Fox I find successions of noisemakers ranting on about–big, bad liberals. Fiddling while Rome burns?

During elections, Fox weighs in with one-sided coverage of races and unrepresentative polls as if to create the future by suggestion. CNN, though scorched with accusations to the contrary, offers all manner of liberal and conservative dialogue, and moderates them with an insistence on civility. What is it that causes some people to say otherwise, except that they have no idea what is going on at CNN other than what Fox tells them?

One late night an AM station host called on “psychologists and therapists” nationwide for a gabfest of mental and character analysis of Obama. One can only guess that all were pretenders who at best give psychology a bad name. Some said they didn’t dare psychoanalyze Obama without his being their client, then gladly succumbed to the temptation–as unprofessional a tack as can be imagined. At last, Obama was formally declared to have a “narcissistic disorder.” What is wrong with these people?

Another bit of wisdom from Friedman is that leaders be “non-anxious presences” when all others are losing their minds. If anyone is a model of that it is Obama. He does not get into pissing matches with skunks and certainly not with other legitimate leaders who take substantive issue with him. Yet, as on the radio program mentioned, he was deemed dangerous to the country and to democracy.

The same critics dwell instead on the words of people who have little else to recommend themselves besides making money with their mouths. They take no responsibility, let alone accountability–Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter and Sarah Palin, but the list is longer. When anything happens in the world they and Fox search diligently for how it can be turned into an Obama roast and construed to be all his doing. When Challenger exploded with God and the whole world watching, I don’t recall the “liberal” media trying to make it look like his fault.

Another bit of wisdom is that nothing lasts forever. Things that ignite with such intensity and burn out of control soon consume themselves as much or more. They also breed their own internal division–in this case, recent news that Libertarians will no longer allow the Tea Party to speak for them, and are mounting opposition to Ron Paul, who predictably stumbled out of the gate from his pole position.

Another factor is when an economic climate improves–as when Father Charles Coughlin nettled FDR and the entire country, then dried up and blew away as better times returned.

I will at least not pretend to speak as a mental health professional or other than one with an opinion when I say that such persons seem to exhibit delusions of adequacy.

Pygmies casting such long shadows merely indicates how late in the day it has become. People in wiser society: it is time to speak up and engage this folly, or risk the night settling in altogether.

2 Responses to “What Is WRONG With These People?”

  1. They are the one-third of people who will react negatively to a change and it is the action of the non-anxious presence that will determine whether the one-third of swayables will join with the positives or the negatives. I really like Friedman, also his posthumous book called Failure of Nerve.

  2. What is ‘wrong’ with ‘these’ people is that they are poorly educated in matters of morals, ethics and logic. A participatory democracy can only be healthy when its citizenry is educated and informed. That education in this country has become an exercise in creating factory workers for non-existent factories. The information of this country is so embroiled in profit-taking that sensationalism and the tawdry sex mis-steps of notorious exhibitionists drive the hours of reporters and those who are responsible for giving us a few facts to chew on. No wonder so many are so cranky.


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