Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Is the GOP Driving Us Crazy?

If McCain, Graham, Boehner, Cruz, Rand Paul et al shut up, would our mental health be better? Without such nasty sounds in our heads 24/7, would there be less violence in America?

A proposed GOP filibuster on defunding Obamacare raises such questions in the light of a provocative essay about the angrier voices schizophrenics hear in America as opposed to India and elsewhere in the world.

A Stanford anthropologist suggests that “the greater violence in the voices of Americans with schizophrenia may have something to do with those of us without schizophrenia. I suspect that the root of the differences may be related to the greater sense of assault that people who hear voices feel in a social world where minds are so private and (for the most part) spirits do not speak.

“We Americans live in a society in which, when people feel threatened, they think about guns. The same cultural patterns that make it difficult to get gun violence under control may also be responsible for making these terrible auditory commands that much harsher.”

Such speculation may be academic, but wouldn’t we all benefit from a lowering of the endless screaming of TV talking heads, tweeters and bloggers that assaults us?

A century ago, President Teddy Roosevelt, a warrior by nature, recommended that America “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Three years after his White House tenure, T.R. left the Republicans and ran for the Presidency again, forming the Bull Moose Party “to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics."

When the GOP comes to its senses again in this century, it may result in breaking that alliance, speaking more softly and removing those angry voices that constantly keep assaulting our heads today.

At the very least, it could stop driving us crazy.

1 comment:

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

I concur.

Sometimes I think we have fostered a culture of remorseless and ruthless sociopathy. Are incidents of gun violence signs and symptoms of a culture in crisis? Yes, I believe so.

We equate freedom with excess and excess with freedom. We enable overindulgence without self-restraint. We practice brinksmanship but not citizenship. With each passing year, we drive all standards of civility, community and accountability further into the wilderness. National conversations turn fractious and fragmented; not even the high ideals of secular democracy bind us together. We covet freedom but spurn responsibility. Perhaps the worst monsters of society mirror the accelerated grimace of a culture grown monstrous.

Absolutely! Let’s talk about the cultural artifacts that crash in the mind.