I was going through some archives looking for an older post of mine and came across this Chris Britt toon I published back in November 2010.
Nine months later and the base is still yelling, “STAND UP TO THE BULLY!! GROW A SPINE AND LEAD!”
Unfortunately, there is more to this particular bully than simply standing up to him. When your opponent is borderline insane – nix that – when your opponent is totally insane, it gets a bit trickier. I know. I’ve had experience with a crazed and delusional sociopathic stalker and if I’ve learned anything from it, it’s that Republicans exhibit many of the traits of a sociopath.
[The] sociopath [...] shows a lack of regret in his or her actions. A major personality behavior trait is the violation of the rights of others.
Research has shown that the sociopath is usually a person with an abundance of charm and wit. He or she may appear friendly and considerate, but these attributes are usually superficial. They are used as a way of blinding the other person to the personal agenda behind the sociopath’s behaviour.
Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of dealing with sociopaths, eventually comes to learn some basic facts.
1. YOU CANNOT REASON WITH THEM.
The debt crisis nonsense highlighted this first point. There was nothing which President Obama or Dems could possibly have offered Tea Party Republicans that would have satisfied them. Sociopaths adopt a righteous stance and no degree of fact or logic could dislodge them from their beliefs.
2. THEY PLAY THE VICTIM CARD
Stand up to a sociopath and call them out on their actions and they instantly cry foul. When Vice President Biden accurately compared Tea Party negotiator’s tactics to those of a terrorist, the right-wing freaked out. Case in point was Sarah Palin who called Biden’s remark “vile” and “quite appalling”. Yes, that’s the same Sarah Palin who is fond of making the claim that the President of the United States “pals around with terrorists”.
3. PSYCHOLOGICAL PROJECTION
Here’s how Wiki describes it:
Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others originate those feelings.
Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted unconscious impulses or desires without letting the conscious mind recognize them.
Point out that Herman Cain exhibited bigotry in his stance over Muslims, and you are immediately called a bigot or racist for daring to call a black man a bigot. Point out that Sarah Palin is an airhead and you are accused of being misogynistic. Point out that Republican tactics in Congress are hurting the country and you’re accused of being unpatriotic. You get the idea.
So what is my point here? Simply this: These are not normal times and the President is facing an opponent who plays by a unique set of rules – rules which they create and change which each new crisis, real or contrived. An opponent who has no interest in compromise or debate or reasoned dialog. An opponent whose actions are dictated by a singular purpose: take down this President. And if that means crashing the economy into a brick wall, or watching more people join the ranks of the unemployed or destroying an entire middle class of Americans, so be it. In their sick and twisted minds, the end always justifies the means.
So every once in a while, progressives need to take a step back and come to grips with what it is this President is facing. Their frustration is understandable but screaming out, “GROW A SPINE!!”, while satisfying in the moment, might not be the most constructive approach to the matter.
Dealing with insanity requires a cooler, calmer approach. Stand up to them, yes. Speak of truth and facts but know that you are not addressing the crazies. They’ll never understand because…well, because they’re crazy. Progressive’s and liberal’s only hope lies in ensuring that moderates and independents don’t fall for the slew of lies and misinformation put out by the right-wing’s well-oiled noise machine.
I can think of no better words to describe the current state of U.S. politics than to quote the opening paragraph from Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
The age of foolishness, indeed.