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America’s Suicidal Personality Disorder(s)

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“Your son and daughter are going to die in a car crash!” The short, red-faced man is poking his finger at me and standing way too close for comfort. This might feel like super-bad mojo if I had kids. It still feels a little crazy, as so many things do these days.

I had just left the grocery store and made a friendly comment to an older fellow on the sidewalk. “I love your overalls – you don’t see enough of them anymore.” He smiled, his chubby cheeks rounding. “Very practical,” he said.

From behind me, a voice said, “Pretty soon we’re all going to be dressed the same.”

“Excuse me?” I turned to see Short-Angry man hurrying to catch up to me.

“Yeah, in drab, gray jumpsuits like the Russians when the Communists took over.”

(I think he was talking about the Chinese, but hey, what’s the difference?)

I hope Obama still lets us wear heels!

“Oh,” I said, now understanding what I was dealing with. “I don’t see any indication of that. Now excuse me while I go get in my car over here with the Obama sticker.”

Short-Angry followed me to my car. “You know, he wants cars to get 50 miles-to-the-gallon!”

“Yeah, wouldn’t that be awesome?” I said. “We would get a lot more gas for our money.” I didn’t mention climate change or air pollution, not wanting to have to physically defend myself.

This is when he cursed my non-existent children. “Your son and daughter are going to die in a car crash! The cars will be made out of all light shit, and we’re all going to die!” This might not have been his words exactly, but I caught the gist and exclamation points as I closed and locked my car door.

I might have just chalked this up to some sort of mental imbalance, impulse control, whatever, except that I’ve been hearing and seeing so much of it lately.

It seems America has a raging personality disorder.

 

 

Diagnosing the Patient

I used to think it was pure Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Some of the characteristics used to identify NPD are vanity, conceit, extreme self-centeredness, arrogance, bravado, entitlement, grandiosity, and self-righteousness. In the extreme, this can result in exploitation of others, manipulation, isolation, and rage.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, but I do see signs of this disorder from time to time. It can be more or less apparent depending on who is president, but there’s a poisonous streak of it in our DNA, I think.

Poisonous Pride

Lately, I’ve come to believe that our diagnosis is more complicated. There’s a touch of Borderline Personality Disorder, surely. Swinging from one extreme to the other every election cycle, blaming others for our ills, and believing that our version of reality is the only possibility and anyone who doesn’t agree is evil or delusional. And worthy of a few drone attacks, or maybe going to Hell.

These days, there is a strong streak of Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as multiple personalities. Red state, blue state. The media feeds this – journalists are taught to look for conflict, not harmony. “The People,” though, are sick of it — even as we often engage in it ourselves. My finger is pointed at myself, here.

Suicidal Nation – Guns & Climate

Sadly, this combination of chronic disorders becomes seriously acute when gun control or climate change gets mentioned. This has literal life and death consequences.  We can’t get our fingers out of our ears and stop yelling, “Nyah, nyah” at each other long enough to stop our own suicide.

I don’t believe in climate change. What school shootings?

I’ve ranted on climate change in this space before. Today’s irrational, reality-denying, suicidal issue is gun control.

Setting aside the National Rifle Association going completely over the sanity cliff and the conspiracy theorists who say that Sandy Hook was a hoax, here is an authentic recent offering from a “Friend” of mine on Facebook:

“I’m talking about our government dictating what our rights are, taking them from us when the constitution guarantees them for us. Spouting it’s for our own good. Ok. Then… Outlaw cigarettes. They are cancer causing and addictive (and I don’t smoke so others shouldn’t either) No reason for them. Outlaw alcohol. This would eliminate drunk driving and related health issues (or did they try that already). Outlaw fast food. Causes obesity and no reason go it [sic] (I don’t eat it so I don’t care about it). Outlaw muscle cars and sports cars. They are designed to go faster then the national speed limit and have no place on the road. And since I don’t own a corvette or any other car like that then others shouldn’t either. Outlaw them all !!! I want the government to step in and regulate our lives, tell us where to go, what to eat, control what TV we watch and take that and the Internet also (yes, other countries control all of that). There is a huge band wagon out there which has spun as politically correct which everybody is jumping on… You better hope your [sic] right, and I want to see how every body [sic] who does jump on it reacts when the government we have strips you all of something you believe in… Let’s take religion. If the government feels like it wants to control how we pray, or if we can, or to who! How would you feel. It’s in the construction [constitution], but hey, that can be changed apparently. And Obama is stating he can step over the congress to do so with out giving them a say in the matter. Don’t think that could happen? It’s happening right now on another issue that you don’t care about. Wait till it happens to one you do. It may be to [sic] late by then…”                                                               

How is that anything but certifiable paranoia? He forgot the part about all of us dressed in “drab, gray jumpsuits;” otherwise, he’s done a good job of channeling the red state psyche. (In southern Virginia the other day, I saw an “O’Vomit” bumpersticker. Har, har, har.)

I don’t believe my response to his rant was paranoid, but I will own up to being passive-aggressive. For my “gun-toting friends,” I posted this:

Another friend pointed out that “gun-toting” might not have been the most constructive term. I meant it as tongue-in-cheek, similar to the way they call me a “tree hugger,” but OK, I’ll try to behave.

Anyway, I’m willing to lay down my sarcastic, passive-aggressive behavior and take my fingers out of my ears if the people in the red states would be willing to admit that maybe, just maybe,

WE SHOULD NOT HAVE FREAKIN’ MACHINE GUNS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS!!!

That’s my humble opinion. What’s yours?

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Heal the Planet? Absurd.

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Why, oh why, did I watch Romney’s speech? I guess if I’m going to write with spirit, I might as well write in anger once in a while. Anger is usually a defense for me, a denial of deep sadness. And sadness seems an appropriate reaction to that convention. Oh there were the lighter moments, such as watching Clint Eastwood do whatever the heck it was he thought he was doing with that chair. Offensive, yes, disrespectful and juvenile, but kind of a giggle because it was so nonsensical. I just hope he made it out of the building OK. And then there was the over-the-top pandering to women, Latinos, and African-Americans – that was so blatant, it was kind of funny.

But the underlying message of the whole shebang seemed to be, “Americans love money.” The notion that America is all about who gets the most stuff is now, apparently, something to be proud of. Oh yeah, we love our kids, but mostly for their earning potential. They must make more money than their parents, or they are failures. I kept telling myself to calm down, I was over-reacting; it was just politics. Until the end of the speech, when Romney dropped what has to be one of the most ignorant, terrifying statements ever made at a convention. And that’s saying a lot.

“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans,” said Romney, and then paused dramatically while his followers figured out that they were supposed to scoff at climate change. Then he finished his sentence, “and heal the planet.” Oh my God, you’re kidding! What kind of a nutcase would want to take care of the planet we live on?? Oh no, Romney has much bigger aspirations. “MY promise is to help you and your family.” Like curbing climate change won’t help people? Yes, it’s true (and highly unfair, IMHO) that the effects of global warming won’t be as lethal for North America as they will be for less developed nations, which have contributed relatively little to carbon emissions. But still, don’t the drought, heat waves, wildfires, West Nile, and more frequent and severe hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes cause Romney to at least raise a well-groomed eyebrow? Is he so out of touch?

Yes he is, and he’s not the only one. I think the reason I was so bent out of shape by his willful denial of reality is that earlier in the evening, I had inadvertently ended up in a debate with a “friend of a friend” on Facebook. He had started on health care reform, trashing “Obamacare.” I don’t know why, but I piped up that I had just received an $800 check from my insurance company because they had not met the new standards and spent too much on admin. I also said that I was glad my brother with a pre-existing condition would be able to get care. Well, then this guy smelled liberal, so he moved on to abortion, which I happen to think that reasonable people can disagree on. We did. Then I said that I thought climate change was a more important issue in the scheme of things. “Climate change isn’t climate change,” he wrote. “It’s caused by solar flares.” OMG. I ended the discussion and turned on the convention. So I was primed to erupt.

No more politics for a while. Bad for blood pressure. I said in my last post that I couldn’t seem to get worked up about it anymore. Guess I was wrong. Not too long ago, a friend suggested that my “overreaction” to anti-environmentalists was a deep-seated issue within me. I did some inner healing work on it, following the agitation and anger back to childhood memories of escaping from my dysfunctional alcoholic family to the safety of the outdoors. Catching guppies and frogs in a nearby pond had restored my sanity. Nature was my refuge, and it saved my life. So today when I deem nature threatened, I fear I might not survive. Deep-seated inner angst, indeed. But in the case of climate change, I’m afraid it’s not displaced.

Noted Climate “skeptic” changes his tune in new scientific study:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?pagewanted=all

Some of the latest:

http://ncronline.org/blogs/making-difference/climate-change-its-real-and-its-dangerous

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