The Blog of the “Anonymous Patient” is designed to ask you, the reader, to act as the author’s therapist or adviser or peer in some fashion. Each entry is an honest depiction of the author’s state of mind and emotion.
Many of us have come to see politics as a horse race. I know I do. More than a horse race, politics have become a projection of my own needs. Long ago (or maybe yesterday) I wanted to stand above the fray, to counter arguments from both (or any) side of the political spectrum with a “well, we all feel as we do coming from how we were raised…” etc. It’s the same thing I would use for arguments about which college football program was better. I would presuppose that opinion and passion are simply products of childhood programming, the messages that were told to you as important, that you lived with, that your parents gave to you as they gave themselves to you (or didn’t as the case may be).
I’ve always seen politics basically as a personal issue since, largely, if you just look at things rationally, each side has points to make. It’s like religion as well. If you were an alien dropping down to earth and were confronted with all the different world religions and their dogmas you’d find yourself asking logical questions of each: So your savior says this… How is that different from that savior? Could you explain why that religion is bad? Can you explain why you believe in this text more than that one?
Honestly the answers would seem to be that whatever religion you hold to is the religion that is fused to your inner-self, your identity. It is in your DNA or some such. You didn’t choose it. It’s just there.
I tend to see the same with politics. I was raised in a liberal home by parents who were fans of Roosevelt and Kennedy when they were younger and who had also been raised in a particular religion that they had both more or less abandoned by time I was born, in one case with utter revulsion. Both my parents were well educated with several degrees and both had come from fairly humble backgrounds and worked their way to their station in life.
Now they had different approaches. My father was pretty mellow about politics. My mother much less so. She practiced politics daily, going out and canvassing, running or working for campaigns (all on the local level for city council, mayor, etc.) and protesting, mostly over issues she really cared about,Viet Nam and abortion, women’s rights, etc.
But even before that more active politicking began in my family, there was a string of hard core “which side are you on?” feeling that ran through. I remember vividly in 1968 watching the Chicago convention and hearing my brother refer to the students as the “good guys”. I wanted to ask what the police were so upset about, as I believed that they must have a side in this. I would have preferred at the time someone had explained to me what was happening from a less strident perspective. But no such luck.
So my point I guess is that I grew up with a side of my family that was very “fused” if you will to political opinion. If I disagreed with that opinion, or at least wanted to argue it, I was not in for the best time. I did though, not because I was embracing the other side but because I simply refused to allow the world to be that simple.
I believe my mother was attached to her opinions for reasons having to do with her circumstances. Life had not turned out well for her in many ways and she was unhappy. I think she held on strongly to her feelings in part because to let go of them was to in effect fall into a kind of abyss. Even to let go a little would somehow be deadly to her. I now understand this a lot better than I would like to.
Cut to: The present. My mother is long gone. My father, too. Yet here I am feeling intensely one-sided about politics when once I did not. Here I am hoping beyond hope Mitt Romney crashes and burns. Every second I’m checking Daily Kos and whatever else I can find looking for ways he could be and is being destroyed. I listen to conservative talk radio looking for signs that Medved or Gallagher or whomever are suffering. This is of course pure Schadenfreude. I want and need them to suffer. I want right-wingers to feel terrible.
Well, they’re wrong. Right? That’s a start. But am I really that caring of what their policies will do as I am caring that they get the shit kicked out of them because it will make me feel better about myself? Why would I be this passionate when probably the world will get by if Romney is elected. But, damn, I even say that and I think: NO! I will lose my job. Terrible things will happen. There is simply no hope in a Romney world! Or even worse a Santorum world, etc. They cannot be. This, to me, is an almost religious zeal I feel. I hate these people. They will make a world of evil.
And it strikes me that maybe, just maybe, this is my past coming home to roost (I guess I am a bit of a chicken). This is me coming back to my mother’s fold now that she’s gone. I am like the kid raised in religious dogma who rebelled and then fell back into it not really having anything to replace it with. But it’s different because I’m not trying to protect my rights or my kids as my mom was. I just want bad guys to suffer. I think.
And they’re not REALLY bad guys, right? Just people I disagree with? Yet maybe they are bad guys ultimately. I don’t know. I do know that this feeling I have doesn’t apply to everyone, only the ones whom I guess are like me but for the other side, the acolytes. I know several people on the other side of the political spectrum whom I think will be just fine if their man loses. They’ll carp a bit, they’ll have a few fearful moments I guess, but ultimately it won’t matter that much to them because it will never matter that much to them, not like it will matter to me. I think.
Am I that powerless?
I’m figuring now that must be it. I figure I must feel so unempowered by the choices I’ve made in my life or some such that I feel passionately involved in someone else carrying my torch for me and beating on those who I feel have wronged me in my life. Somehow. From Reagan revolutionaries on down. I want them smashed. I want them destroyed. I want to, paraphrasing Conan the Barbarian, “crush them, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentation of their women.”
And I ask you point blank: Are you that different? Really?