Monday, October 13, 2008

Monsters from the GOP 'Id'

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

In the late 90s, a sleep study done at Stanford University indicated that Republicans have more 'nightmares and night terrors' than do Democrats or, for that matter, members of any other party. The study could not have imagined one of the GOPs worst nightmares ever: a landslide loss of the White House to a black liberal who has proven himself as tough as he is intelligent, as formidable in debate as John F. Kennedy. Faced with a similar catastrophe, a good Nazi could have been relied upon to shoot himself. With the cowardly GOP, the rest of us won't be nearly so lucky.
The victory would send Barack Obama to the White House and give him larger Democratic majorities in both the House of representatives and the Senate — and perhaps a filibuster-proof margin there.

That could mark a historic realignment of the country's politics on a scale with 1932 or 1980, when the out party was given power it held for a generation, and used it to transform government's role in American society.

--Daring to utter the 'L' word: Obama on track to a landslide
The GOPs worst nightmare? Certainly -- Stanford psychologists could not have imagined that in Bush's occupation of eight years, a panoply of GOP nightmares --literally, monsters from the id --would manifest themselves to terrify the nation and the world. The monster summoned up: world terrorism which FBI stats prove is always worse under GOP regimes.

While the specter of 'terrorism', the monster from the GOP id, born of its irrational fears and twisted neuroses, deflected US attention, Bush waged a less publicized but much more effective war on the US Constitution. He presumed to rule by decree: 'signing statements' that rewrote laws passed by Congress. Bush trashed Constitutional protections of Due Process of Law, the presumption of innocence, and habeas corpus. Merely 'deeming' one to be a terrorist was enough to get a target incarcerated, perhaps for life. Anyone 'deemed' a 'terrorist' did not get a phone call, did not get a lawyer, did not get a pre-trial hearing or a trial, did not get his day in court. There is no way of knowing whether any of Bush's victims were really terrorists. As an instrument of oppression, tyranny and political suppression, the specter of terrorism was a demagogue's dream! His dream! Our nightmare!

It remains to seen how much of this arbitrary and dictatorial seizure of illegitimate, unconstitutional power will be undone. Getting an idiot out of the White House is one thing. Preventing its takeover by yet another idiot is something else. That is the best reason not to vote for McCain. A vote for McCain guarantees a third term for Bush's failed policies whether McCain lives or dies. A lose-lose deal!

'Terrorism' is a meaningless, political abstraction. One who blows up a truck is not a terrorist; he/she is a criminal. The 'blowing up of a truck' is not an act of 'terrorism', it's a crime. One is not born a terrorist! 'Terrorism' is just the name attached by fearful neurotics to meaningless abstractions for political purposes. It was for this reason that Bush refused to allow trials for those 'deemed' to be 'terrorists'. To allow trials would require that charges relevant to a specific person and a specific act, a specific crime be proven in court. To allow that would have robbed the GOP of its ability to prosecute imagined enemies for a state of being rather than prosecuting criminals for the commission of specific crimes, specific acts. For political reasons, the GOP chose not to prosecute 'culprits' against which there may have been real evidence of the actual commission of a real and specific crime.

You cannot prosecute someone for merely 'being' something. One is not a murderer until he/she commits a murder. You can only prosecute someone for having done something that is against the law. When the law is broken, the individual is charged with having broken it. As long as the GOP tilts at windmills of philosophical abstraction, a 'war on terror' will remain un-winnable because it is not real. To prosecute a 'state of being' is an absurd recipe for tyranny. The GOP will prosecute one for 'being' a terrorist today, and prosecute you for not being a GOPPER tomorrow.

Bush never insisted upon but obstructed a real investigation of the crime called '911'. A real investigation of this very real crime would surely have resulted in real culprits charged with real crimes in a real court returning real convictions. What did Bush fear from such an investigation? Did he fear his own conviction upon the probable cause, indeed, the evidence that 911 had been ordered, planned and carried out from within his own administration? Did Bush fear the loss of the 'terrorism' issue so deftly exploited and demagogued? Did Bush ever, really believe that there were 'evil doers' who had anything other than legitimate 'beefs' with his imperial ambitions, his programs of war crimes, conquest and oil theft?

It is generous to say that Bush never understood the nature of terrorism. More objective observers, however, will find the the most telling clue among terrorism statistics collected by the FBI, compiled by Brookings and published in a chart. I managed to download that chart before it was 'pulled'.

The chart proves that terrorism is worse under GOP regimes. For example, terrorist incidents against US interests were three times more numerous during the Reagan administration than that of Bill Clinton.

Bush and the GOP as a party exploited the term 'terrorism' as the party earlier exploited the perfectly good word 'liberal' to rally a base of bigots, fear mongers, and right wingers fearful of everything. It is this 'base' who fears to sleep at night. It is this 'base' that is so definitively identified by the Stanford study.

The GOP is terrified by the monsters of its own creation. In 1936, Jung was trying to figure out what was happening in Germany —just as many are trying to understand what is happening in America today. Jung wrote an essay called "Wotan" and in it, he tried to understand developments under Hitler, in terms of the mythology of the god Odin, a.k.a. the Germanic god Wotan. Jung wrote: "We have seen him come to life in the German Youth Movement." I am not sure what "gods" have come to life in America —but I am inclined to characterize them as fallen demigods, if not demons. Gods or Demons, they are but manifestations of the human personality. There may be a "Wotan" in all of us.

A “mask” is but the smiley face we show the world; it's origin is always the lie that we tell ourselves. A PBS documentary dealt with a Japanese sergeant who "supervised" British and Australian POW's in Southeast Asia during WWII. Though he had been convicted of war crimes in connection with the treatment of the POWs, the man —some 55 years after the fact —still denied that thousands of POWs had been literally worked and starved to death under his supervision. He denied that he had beaten many of them himself with wire whips.

There is an old saying that the truth will set you free. Here was a man who by his denial made himself prisoner to the lies he told himself. In Jungian terms, his life --premised as it was upon the falsehood --was "inauthentic".

Dr. Gustav Gilbert, the American psychologist at Nuremberg, came to some conclusions based on his experiences keeping Nazi war criminals alive until they could be hanged. He said that he had come to understand the nature of "evil". Evil, he said, was an utter lack of empathy. I might add: that empathy with another is only possible if one has come to terms with one's own "shadow", one's own "source of creativity", one's own humanity. One who cannot see humanity in him/herself or in another is a Nazi in spirit; and “Nazism” typifies what Jung would have called the "inauthentic" life, a life lived upon lies and denial --a life lived behind a mask.

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