Diagnosis And Treatment

Pointing out that a doctor cannot treat an illness successfully if that illness isn’t correctly identified/diagnosed is to state the glaringly obvious. I would suggest that the same caution should be applied when we attempt to address the ills of society.

Charles Blow–in my estimation–has offered precisely that insight in a recent opinion piece the New York Times.

Blow begins with what is now a depressingly familiar litany of the sins of the party that calls itself Republican–a cult that bears less and less resemblance to what used to be the mainstream of that party. As he asks, what do you call members of a party who are invested in an obvious lie–not to mention a liar “determined to undermine, corrupt and even destroy our democracy?” What about that party’s leaders, who feel entitled to use that lie “as a pretext to suppress the votes and voices of Americans with whom they disagree?”

What do you call a party where many of its members have worked against a lifesaving, society-freeing vaccine in the middle of a pandemic, exposing many of their own followers to the deadly virus, all for the sake of being contrarian, anti-establishment and anti-science?

Those accusations–that litany–is, or should be, stupefyingly familiar by now. The contribution Blow makes in this column is his insistence that this is anything but “politics as usual,” and that we need to recognize that fact if we are to summon the will and wit to overcome the threat these people pose to democracy and the rule of law.

I have heard all the things that the moderates and neutralists have to say: Overheated language helps nothing and alienates people who could otherwise be converted. Don’t cast as evil someone with whom you simply have a disagreement. Build bridges, don’t burn them.

I could understand and appreciate all of that in another time. I can recall being impressed by how well a conservative argument was asserted, even if I disagreed with it. I can remember when conservatism was just as intellectual as liberalism, and compromises could be made to feel like the combining of the best of both…

But we should also not underplay or sugarcoat the darkness of the current season.

I don’t see how we continue to pretend that this is politics as usual, that it’s normal squabbling between ideological opposites. No, something is deeply, dangerously wrong here. This is not the same as it has always been.

Blow doesn’t offer a strategy for dealing with the situation that he has accurately described, and I certainly don’t have a solution, or even a proposed intervention. But I do know that you cannot solve a problem you are unwilling to recognize. A doctor cannot cure someone’s cancer if she continues to insist that what ails the patient is just a common cold.

Let’s be honest: A significant minority of the American public is dangerously mentally ill. (Mental illness, as Mitch recently reminded us in a comment to a previous post, is ” a state of mind which prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction”) A troubling number of those who have been drinking this generation’s Kool Aid are acting out their fantasies–shooting up pizza parlors, staging an insurrection, denying the reality of a pandemic…Failure to recognize the extent to which the moment we occupy differs from the ideological or political disagreements most of us formerly experienced will make it impossible to fashion an effective response.

I wish I knew what that “effective response” might look like. Other than a massive GOTV effort, I don’t. But I do know–and yesterday’s blog highlighted– that we aren’t dealing with the common cold.


  1. Did Blow mention that we have a senile POTUS and Speaker who wants to negotiate with the mentally ill?

    Or, instead of taking them all down for their involvement in a fascist coup, our identity-focused DNC wants to take down Gov. Cuomo.

    How many millions are we letting landlords evict during a pandemic after we kicked them off unemployment?

    Oh, and the report I got yesterday showed Indiana rated 51st for pre-K education, which should be good news for future Republican operatives in this state.

    Florida is on fire with red tide and COVID under DeSantis leadership, and Tokyo is on fire for hosting the world Olympics during a pandemic.

    I would say the authoritarians are winning the races but killing off society in the process.

    p.s. How fast can you run and are you mobile? 😉

  2. I really wished that 45 would sit in front of a tv camera and tell the truth. He lost. He concedes the 2020 election and promises to return every penny he grifted from his fans. I wish that someone would point a gun at him behind the camera to make him say all that. Then, then I wish that the Secret Service would arrest him and we all get a handcuffed video of him hauled off to jail. That might just do it!

    But again, I’m just an aging hippy girl with big dreams and a big heart for my fellow Americans.

  3. Todd,

    Neither Biden nor Pelosi are senile. You may perceive them that way because they’re not doing what YOU think should be done both in substance and in style. That misses the point entirely.


    Donald Trump is a psychopath and, despite our fondest wishes, he will NEVER admit he lost, NEVER admit he made any mistakes and NEVER, EVER apologize to anyone. In his demented mind, all those things are signs of weakness, something his pathology simply cannot tolerate. Read Mary Trump’s analysis to confirm this summary.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I saw the abrogation of facts and truth coming in my classrooms. These kids were the products of parents (when they had some) who simply didn’t parent their children and left that to the teachers – who are basically unprepared to do this as well as legally restricted in some of the necessities of parenting on the job. The miscreants of today are left with few intellectual choices since their value systems were dictated by TV, eating sugar and not understanding that THEY were at fault for their lack of success. Nothing new here, except the social media and other inputs have cemented that victimhood mindset.

    Donald Trump’s pathology is the culmination in “leadership” for these folks. The point is that the Reagan-generated attacks on government agencies – especially education (cut government spending) created this systemic decay which we are now seeing as rotten boards in the bottom of our garages. Adding the incredibly corrupt and intellectually challenged Betsy DeVos to the fetid stew, and public education is set back another decade.

    Sorry for the lengthy rant, but the systemic failure of parenting and public education are parts of my version of the correct diagnosis for our political ailments. Todd will think it’s senility, but the facts are that ALL of us who didn’t do something to make sure the correct things were implemented and practiced are liable for our societal failures… just as we’ve always been.

  4. Todd; you are insulting an entire generation of Americans with your comments in your first paragraph. We, including President Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have survived from WWII and remember that dictatorship, without knowing our enemies, is a losing situation for any nation. What you refer to as “senile” are intelligent leaders who are attempting to bring this country together under one union; we are fighting a cold Civil War with domestic terrorists within our own government. President Abraham Lincoln fought that same battle within the remaining Union to unite the country. Those “mentally ill” you refer to are still duly elected public servants; they cannot be ignored unless and until they are voted out of office. Many of those “mentally ill” you refer to are also family members, friends and neighbors of each of us; however wrong they are, they have the right to be listened to to know what we are fighting against.

    Your repeated insults of Democrats individually and the Democratic Party in general, offer no solutions, you don’t appear to have noticed that the DNC is doing much more than “taking down Gov. Cuomo” and they are fighting to save this country from the Pandemic while upholding their Oath of Office to protect and serve democracy, Rule of Law by supporting the rights of ALL Americans as stated in the Constitution of the United States of America.

    I join with AgingLGirl as an even older “hippy girl with big dreams and a big heart for my fellow Americans.” And I include you among my fellow Americans.

  5. Amen Sheila,
    and the only answer is the light of day,
    that articles like yours provide.
    Thank you,

  6. Thanks Vernon. I know 45 will not do that, but again, I’m a dreamer. And JoAnn, I’ve come to ignore Todd’s opinions because I believe they are unworthy of a response. He’s all over the place with his anti-government views.

  7. Sunlight, sunlight and more sunlight. We have to expose the darkest hidey-holes surrounding Jan. 6th. There was planning and coordination. How high up the food chain did it go is what we must reveal. Even when the truth is aired for public view some won’t believe, but eventually sunlight and truth will out.

  8. “What do you call a party where many of its members have worked against a lifesaving, society-freeing vaccine in the middle of a pandemic, exposing many of their own followers to the deadly virus, all for the sake of being contrarian, anti-establishment and anti-science?” Since most of those working against the lifesaving vaccine have themselves been vaccinated, might we call it mass murder? It is most certainly depraved indifference.

  9. We are seeing more and more evidence of what has been going on in the shadows of Trump’s government. His own E-mails asking DOJ to interfere and to overturn the 2020 presidential election results is blatant Treason!!! He is claiming they are protected by Executive Privilege; NO ONE is protected from being charged with Treason including Donald Trump and his personal DOJ appointees and the GOP who should be charged with Aiding and Abetting Treason. That is one “Diagnosis And Treatment” solution which is now being brought out into geraldine’s “sunlight, sunlight and more sunlight.”

    Regarding Gov. Cuomo’s situation; we need to see what he is being charged with and by whom, so far we only know there are 11 charges. Being a public official; the public has the right to know and being a national figure, the nation has the right to know. Speculation and accusation is not proof and it fits more with Republican tactics.

  10. IMHO we may know soon which way the tipping point goes with the 1/6 hearings. IF the DEMS do not subpoena everyone (except The Former) because of fear of SCOTUS, it will be a HOODGE sign that they have given in to any semblance of standing up for the rule of law. And they must pursue any and all possible connections between the FORMER’s administration and the events.

  11. I just received a newsletter from my representative Cherrish Pryor. She states that Indiana has budgeted 1 Billion dollars for public schools and teacher raises. She also states that 150 million dollars has been allocated for K-12 students who have fallen behind.

    My sister who is a retired teacher is now tutoring students. Hopefully, no one is telling her how to teach any more.

    I saw an interesting TED talk from a man who states that the knowledge of each person is built those who share their knowledge with us. And that each of us in our silos needs to admit that none of us has all the answers. He was encouraging humility in all persons.

    He did not, however, address how to solve the divide created by this shared knowledge except to state that calling those who disagree with us “stupid” is not helpful.

    I learned a long time ago as a psych nurse that with delusional people it’s important to pay attention to the feeling(s) underneath the delusion. With paranoid people it’s almost always fear. They don’t feel safe. And, of course, those who have bought into the Big Lie are angry which is just what the former president wants.

    If only rational people could take control over the platforms of misinformation and the conspiracy channels, a free radio for America, so to speak. However, that is not possible at this time.

    So I continue to imagine what I will do if I am ever yelled at by someone who bought into the big lie. Needless to say, I will use my mental health intervention skills.

  12. Very interesting question: when does political disagreement become mental illness? When it no longer supports rational thought. To fight a life-saving vaccine in a pandemic qualifies. Suppressing vote in a democracy perhaps does not-it simply means you are a fascist. Of course, nothing says you can’t be both.

  13. It’s so fascinating to watch a group of self-described “liberals” ranting against closed-minded GOP and anybody who differs from their status quo Democratic Party cheerleading. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black for you old senile farts. 😉

    Lighten up Boomers, look at all your accomplishments, but do take inventory of your deficits because there are many, and you’ve managed to mess things up for the younger generations.

    The DNC is hand-delivering this country to the looneys who’ve set up the deck in their favor by putting up zero opposition. In fact, the DNC has moved so far to the right; they are now the Olde GOP.

    The question is, what will replace them on the Left.

  14. AgingLgirl, as an aging hippie myself (easily determined by the tie-dye mask I wear), I have to love your fantasy!!
    But, the former guy is not going to openly admit anything, to do so would mark him as a “looser,” and we have a tremendous amount of evidence that HIS mental disorder, Malignant Narcissism, would not permit this. It is my personal belief that he knows, deep down inside, that he is an empty shell of a being, and that the machinations with which he has captivated sooo much of our populace are aimed at both hiding this fact from them, and…himself.
    Sheila, I, perhaps obviously, agree with your diagnosis. I do not have a treatment,either, but do like the GOTV idea. My pessimistic side ays that it is possible, nay, probable, that such an effort will just light up the stoking of paranoia “lovingly” engaged in by the (criminal) dis-information folks.
    I believe it was Peggy, yesterday, who said the the cure, essentially, is to seriously beat the GQP at the polls in the next couple of election cycles. My beloved Governor (NOT), DeSantis responded to Pres. Biden’s talk of yesterday, by ratcheting up his blatant, and odious, dis-information stance by claiming that the current Covid spike is attributable to the illegal immigrants coming in at the Mexican border! He insisted that yes,”I’m standing in the way!”
    After 7% of Florida’s voting population was removed from the roles (thank you former gov. Scott) in the couple of years leading up to DeSantis’ “mere” 32 and some thousand vote win, this wanna-be Trump, fans the flames of insanity, here.

  15. JoAnn, as a New Yorker I have been following the situation with our governor quite closely. I, like the vast majority of New Yorkers, was proud of and grateful to our Governor for his handling of the initial horrors of the pandemic. When the first two accusations were made last year, I was skeptical. As a 72-yr.-old feminist, I found them not quite believable, playing the victim card. Now that AG James has completed her comprehensive investigation, I find it impossible to ignore the evidence. It is no longer just two women but 11, with corroborating witnesses. Andrew Cuomo can no longer function as Governor. It is my hope he will resign, but he seems to have one thing in common with Drumpf–total denial he did anything wrong. If he does not resign, he will be impeached. Unlike a federal impeachment, under New York law he must step aside during the impeachment proceedings and our Lt. Gov. will step in. We need a functioning governor, and Andrew Cuomo is no longer that person.

    Additionally, four DA’s in the state are looking at the AG’s report for the possibility of bringing criminal charges against Cuomo. If that happens, he would be forced from office immediately.

    My heart breaks for Matilda Cuomo, his mother. She must be devastated to see her son’s life-long public service career brought to such an ignominious end. I also am so sorry for his daughters. How mortifying to know your father was putting the moves on a woman their age. And I am sad for my state. We need strong leadership in Albany. If Andrew Cuomo cares about New York at all, he will resign.

  16. P.S.: Vernon, I could not agree with you more! I have a cousin whose husband proudly insisted, years ago, that “We are not Bush Republicans, we are Reagan Republicans!” After impulsively and rudely commenting on how awful Mr. Ray-Gun was, I began cataloguing info about his venal impact on the country. Every now and then, I still come across a new bit of downstream impact, and the list keeps growing. The synergy between he and Thatcher was recently laid across my path, raised my awareness thereof.
    Peggy, “mass murder” seems right, from here. But, the one motivation that is not mentioned above is not an “anti” anything, it is a pro “power at any cost.” They are way beyond just trying to bust “Lib” chops for the giggle factor. They want to establish a White, Christian, Elitist, Theocracy, damned be those not “good enough” to belong.
    Todd, instead of blaming the liberal Boomers, look to the likes of the Koch Boys, and other who used to be “conservatives,” whose reaction to the progressiveness of the ’60’s was to double down on corporate greed, while working behind the scenes to develop the likes of the Heritage, and similar venal foundations, with the clear goal of bringing us to just the brink of despotism on which we stand! And, beyond, they hope. I expect that I’ve referenced Nancy MacLean’s book “Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” here, before, but see no reason not to trot it out once again.

  17. All you need to know about the GOP Elected Officials is to look to, Florida governor Ron DeSantis earned a new moniker this week as the resurgent coronavirus continued to wreak havoc on his state: the “Pied Piper of Covid-19, leading everybody off a cliff.”

    The stark assessment of the Republican politician from Dan Gelber, the mayor of Miami Beach, came as Florida continued to set records for new cases and hospitalizations, saw worrying surges in both deaths and rates of positivity, and led the nation in pediatric Covid admissions.

    The mayor said he felt “hamstrung” by legislation signed by DeSantis in May that gave him veto power over coronavirus mandates by municipalities.

    “We’re not allowed a mask edict now. We were one of the first cities to require it and the governor stopped allowing us to do it, then immediately we saw a surge across our county and state.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/05/ron-desantis-florida-governor-covid-coronavirus

    DeSantis appears to be prepping himself for a 2024 run for President. DeSantis has all the talking points and willful ignorance of The Trumpet and New GOP so he will make an ideal candidate for the GOP, if The Trumpet declines to run.

  18. Todd,

    Anyone with your over-the-top negativity quotient has no business telling anyone to chill out. Sheila is gracious enough to allow your B.S., but spare those of us who think your off-the-wall nonsense.

  19. There is no evidence President Biden is “senile.” He is clearly not as quick thinking and as articulate as he was as a younger man. That doesn’t make him “senile.” As we age, we all lose a step. Biden is no different. But we make it up in experience and accumulated knowledge. Same with Biden.

    I just think these attacks on Biden smack of ageism.

  20. Paul, as someone who suffered a speech impediment as a child…I completely understand why Joe sometimes takes a breath/pause before speaking. It’s worse under pressure and, in my opinion, Biden manages pressure with grace and charm. That’s not ”senility”…it’s COPING.

  21. People treat political ills today like a Christian Scientist treats physical illness. And that treatment will work just as well.

  22. Jan, as an ex-pat New Yorker, I am also sad about the situation, and feel for his family as you do. He would be doing everybody, his family and the rest of us a big favor, if he stepped down.
    Pam, excellent point.

  23. Todd — I’d like to vote you off the island! Your daily snarky diatribes are tiresome and a waste of space.
    And as my mentor used to say, when you point a finger at others there are 3 pointing back at you.

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