Saturday, May 23, 2015

If liberalism is mental illness...

A recent letter-to-the-editor claimed there is psychological evidence that columnist Jack Pugh and I are mentally ill. The diagnosis is based on Dr. Lyle Rossiter’s book, “The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.” This darling of the rightwing says that Barack Obama’s liberalism is a psychological disorder.

Dr. Rossiters’ theory is frightening. The pathology he unearthed necessarily applies not only to Mr. Obama, but to countless political leaders throughout history. The U.S. was apparently founded and nurtured by several madmen and a few mad women.

Washington was assuredly a crazed liberal when as the first president, he agreed to a constitution granting enormous new powers to the federal government. John Adams taxed citizens to socialize government healthcare for U.S. sailors. Jefferson believed in separation of church and state. Ben Franklin trusted science.

How bat-crazy must Rossiter consider Lincoln for paving the way for the 14th Amendment and its equal protection clause, the basis of marriage equality in federal courts. Don’t even mention FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, or JFK. And Richard Nixon gave us the Environmental Protection Agency and the earned income tax credit.

During one of his many bizarre parole hearings, Charles Manson once cried out, “Yes, I’m crazy, but I was crazy long ago, when being crazy actually meant something.”

If believing in equal opportunity, universal healthcare, environmental protection and reducing economic inequality brand you with as mentally ill, Dr. Rossiter should have a field day analyzing today’s conservatives. 

Michael Savage, a conservative radio host wrote “Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder.” Savage claimed Obama intentionally sent the U.S. military to fight Ebola so they’d return and infect Americans. He alleged Obama initiated the Baltimore riots as a pretext for arming gangs.

Joseph Farah, conservative WorldNetDaily editor, accused Obama of sending secret signals to Muslims to “finish off” the Holocaust. Before joining the far-right Family Research Council, retired General Jerry Boykin called Obama the leader of a “Marxist insurgency.” Obama, he said, inserted secret clauses in the Affordable Care Act establishing a personal army akin to Hitler’s Brownshirts.

Doc Rossiter would enjoy studying “Faith 2 Action” founder Janet Porter. She revealed a chain email proving that the Russians planted baby-Obama in the U.S. as part of a long-term plan to take over America.

Rossiter could spend a lifetime analyzing Texans. Many, including 56% of Ted Cruz’s supporters and 76% of Rick Perry’s backers, are convinced Obama is plotting to take over the Lone Star State, impose martial lawconfiscate people’s firearmsand force them into cattle cars, locking them up in Wal-Marts converted into FEMA camps.

Those are just the folks on the fringe. It’s not much better in the GOP mainstream. A third of GOP voters think Texas is on the brink of an Obama takeover. More than 50 percent of Republicans think Sarah Palin is better qualified than Barack Obama to be president and 24 percent believe Obama wants the terrorists to win; 67 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a socialist. Forty-five percent of Republicans believe Obama wasn’t born in the United States, 38 percent say he is “doing many of the things that Hitler did,” and 54 percent think that “deep down” Obama devotes himself to Islam.

Ask Senator and possible Republican presidential nominee Marco Rubio how old is the earth. “I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians. Whether the Earth was created in seven days, or seven actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that.” Don’t bother asking him whether the earth is flat or revolves around the sun.

Maybe we’re all crazy, liberals and conservatives alike. If so, I’d choose a hospital ward with Jack Pugh and others who believe in equal opportunity, racial and social justice rather than share a room with those Manson would recognize as “being crazy long ago, when being crazy actually meant something.”

NOTE TO READERS: All facts derived from surfing the Internet, but then, the righties shouldn’t object to that.

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