Americans are overworked, over spent and exhausted and when a nation is under chronic stress the citizens eventually undergo a psychological regression whereby they tend to sink to earlier and more primitive forms of thinking, feeling and behavior.
As I listened to the impeachment hearings it occurred to me that America is slowly regressing toward a schizophrenic position. Schizophrenia is a mental condition where the patient has decreased ability to understand reality, uses denial of reality as a defense and shows an inability to communicate with others.
It has been said that since the 1970s America has regressed toward a narcissism. A ‘perfect’ example of this is the guy who is now sitting in the oval office.
Narcissism has become more commonplace but I now see evidence of the American personality falling toward a more primitive mental state as evidenced during our presidential impeachment hearings.
In a schizophrenic breakdown real facts become comingled with paranoid fantasies which produce an inability to communicate.
The failure to achieve any meaningful communication is now standard in American political life with democrats and republicans no longer able to have any productive dialogue.
If you watched even five minutes of the impeachment hearings you witnessed Democrats and Republicans holding views of reality that seriously clashed and where facts, truths and logic were dismissed offhandedly.
Dr. Fiona Hill described two parallel realities being played out by American ambassadors and state department officials in Ukraine. She told the committee that the official national security foreign policy is designed to support democracy in Ukraine, reinforce the rule of law and advance justice there.
Then she remarked that another process unfolded which was to advance a domestic political errand on behalf of President Trump in order to benefit him personally and politically.
This reality split in our approach to Ukraine matches our approach to each other. The Democrats, led by Chairman Adam Schiff and Daniel Goldman as chief counsel, displayed righteous indignation, moral outrage and an effort to spell out the facts about Donald Trump’s intentions. Their arguments were supported by a documented history of questionable behaviors by the president which has already landed many of his chief advisors in jail.
The Republicans, led by Congressman Devin Nunes and Stephen Castor as counsel, argued that the hearings were a circus and that this circus was not only based upon no facts but was supported by a dishonest left-wing media that promoted fake news.
One of Devin Nunes’ closing remarks was “I have bad news for you Mr. Schiff, the TV ratings are down!” That remark struck me as so clownish and off-topic that it bordered on the bizarre.
This sense of bewilderment, confusion and nausea not dissimilar to what one feels when treating a schizophrenic or a paranoid personality. There is no convincing a schizophrenic of reality. They have a particular view of the facts and have arguments to support their belief. As an example, if I am talking to a paranoid schizophrenic in my office and they believe they are being followed by someone I might ask them to point the suspect out. They will go to my window and point to a car in the parking lot with a driver in it and say “See….there he is over there!”
George Orwell referred to doublespeak in his classic “1984” where the government would say peace when it meant war. Doublespeak is unfolding now in America. We are witnessing a regression to a schizophrenic state of affairs in the realm of politics and in the psyche of every American as well.
The nation as a whole is slowly moving toward a regressed highly defensive state where each group is no longer able to hear the logic of the other.
Proof that the schizophrenic mindset is in ascendance can be demonstrated by the rash of mass shootings that now take place on a weekly basis. These are the loners who are not in touch with reality, have no friends, family or neighbors. The failure to connect to reality or community pushes some into a psychotic regression.
Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” and Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Nausea” were both existential classics that described this sense of isolation, loss of reality and despair.
How strange it is to see this schizophrenic like state unfold before our very eyes during these impeachment hearings. Long gone are the days where we had to worry about the rise of narcissism. We are now faced with something more primitive and more dangerous which is the loss of reality.
Back in the 1970s, President Carter consulted Christopher Lasch, the expert on narcissism when Carter was concerned about the malaise in America. Well, we’ve come a long way baby and it appears that our president now needs to find an expert on the schizophrenic mind to help resolve our nation’s split apart mind.
Something tells me that just building a wall to keep people out will not be the answer. It appears to me that our biggest problem is occurring inside our own nation and the level of denial, divisive, hatred and inability to share a single honest view of reality is the norm.
And until that occurs I think we need to get used to vulgar, immoral, bizarre and bewildering dialogue in Washington that has produces not much more than stagnation and hatred.