This is not a crude pejorative, I’m not just searching for a way to dismiss Tea Partiers as inferior and brain damaged (they do a good enough job of that on their own). I just happened to refer to the Mayo Clinic’s definition of Antisocial Personality Disorder which is the proper medical term for sociopathy.
Let’s begin by looking at that definition. As you review this, ask yourself how many of these traits are dominant in the stars of the Tea Party, such as Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin as well as many of the rank and file. Also consider how many of these traits were apparent in the GOP’s 2012 nominee for President, Mitt Romney. Here we go:
Antisocial Personality Disorder:
By Mayo Clinic staff
Antisocial personality disorder signs and symptoms may include:
- Disregard for right and wrong
- Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
- Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or for sheer personal pleasure
- Intense egocentrism, sense of superiority and exhibitionism
- Recurring difficulties with the law
- Repeatedly violating the rights of others by the use of intimidation, dishonesty and misrepresentation
- Child abuse or neglect
- Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, impulsiveness, aggression or violence
- Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
- Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behaviors
- Poor or abusive relationships
- Irresponsible work behavior
- Failure to learn from the negative consequences of behavior
Should it even be an option to have people who can be clinically defined as having Antisocial Personality Disorder…having power over the lives of others? The cliche about the inmates running the asylum comes to mind because in a literal way, the asylum inmates are running part of our government.
There’s no reasoning with a sociopath. They are devoid of the ability to empathize or reason. They are purely focused on self-satisfaction and the sad thing about Tea Partiers is that their satisfaction comes from the acting out the pain and fear they carry inside against those they have deemed as deserving targets. Or more accurately, deserving victims.
They exhibit the same belligerence and aggressive ignorance as their ancestors who burned women at the stake who were too independently minded as “witches” and lynched black men for the having been born with a skin color that frightened them.
The sociopathic hatred of women and minorities has been a tradition passed down through the years to them and their hatred of the U.S. government comes of course from their Confederate ancestors who went to war to maintain their society that enslaved black people and enshrined the second class and subservient status of women.
I’ve said this before but it’s something I have to often repeat to myself when I feel the urge to debate with such people, someone who didn’t use reason to arrive at an opinion can’t be reasoned out of it. There may be some exceptions but as hard as it is for people who value reason to accept, they are mostly a lost cause.
Can you reason a 9/11 Truther out of their conspiracy theories? I’ve never seen it happen. Or a Birther?
These people need to believe the way they do, they have to choose denial over truth because having such beliefs are a pillar of their understanding of existence. To let anyone pull those out from under them would cause their insecurities and fears to collapse in on them, the world as they depend on it to be, would vanish. And that’s frightening, As long as their delusions remain righteous and true in their minds, that women and minorities (especially black people) are inferior, they can feel superior even though their lives are in shambles. As long as they can blame the poor or immigrants for being the reason they feel they’ve failed in their own lives, they aren’t responsible for that. As long as they can hate, they don’t have to feel afraid.
So what are we doing with such mentally unhealthy people in a position of power in our government? They have mostly been put there by many people suffering similar problems. Mental illness is an invisible plague, there are so many people out there with real mental illnesses that go unaddressed and untreated because of the stigma associated with it and the denial over it.
For every mentally ill person who attacks innocent people in a mass shooting or bombing, there are many who don’t act out on that impulse but still sit around harboring the same feelings and thoughts. For every Tea Party member who espouses lies, racism and blind hatred, there are many more who don’t voice their similar thoughts.
This is not to say that America is overrun with people suffering from mental illnesses but it is true to say that there is a meaningful number of people walking around us every day who are suffering in one way or another from such issues and they are mostly untreated.
A number of Tea Partiers enclose themselves in thick bubbles of denial and hatred, to protect their mental deviations, because of the fear and insecurity that stems from race and class. The question is often asked, why do poor white people who depend on Social Security Disability, Welfare, Unemployment Insurance, Medicaid and/or Medicare, let alone a bevy of other social programs, vote against their own interests and elect Republicans who want to take much of that away from them? While there are those who do so because of their extremist religious beliefs that Republicans exploit, many of these people are willing to have their lives ruined as long as they can keep blacks and women from getting what they have been getting.
This is the very definition of the old phrase coined long ago, cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The power of spite can’t be underestimated and it does drive people to become mentally imbalanced. Would any sane person be willing to destroy their own lives including their children’s and spouse’s just to get satisfaction that black people’s lives would also be destroyed?
Spite has poisoned the minds of many of these Tea Partiers and made them mentally ill as the clinical description above illustrates. They are spiteful because a black man is President, they are spiteful of women being able to do their jobs (and often better), they are spiteful of other people being helped by our society, they are spiteful of other people being able to realize their aspirations, they are spiteful of people with better educations…the list goes on and on.
The truth of course is, they have been screwed by the same Plutocratic class that has screwed most Americans but they have gotten some of the worst of it. They have been deprived of opportunity, of the American Dream, of the life they imagined they’d be living when they were kids, of upward mobility, of a good job and a substantial retirement nest egg. The irony is that many Americans share the frustration of these Tea Partiers but the impact of having a lower quality education and lower standard of living has made them easier prey for the Plutocrats to manipulate into their marching army (since the Plutocrats are so few, it is necessary that they find a zombie army to mindlessly fight for their interests or they would be so easily defeated in elections).
So while I’d venture that many in this generation of Tea Partiers are too mentally troubled to ever be straightened out since their condition only makes them more adamant about their hateful and ignorant beliefs the more they’re questioned (and such people would never accept that they have mental problems), their kids might be reachable and that might not be a bad investment to make. This group may be too far gone but if we can turn our education standards around, especially in poorer areas and make some headway on economic equality and justice for the 99%, we might at least be able to put a dent in the next crop of Tea Partiers that come up. Who knows, the ACA (Obamacare) that they are fighting against so viciously, might turn out to be one of the most important developments that helps their kids climb out of the despair they’re born into.
In all societies, there will always be sociopaths and there will always be altruistic people. We should do what we can to reduce the number of sociopaths but we should resolve ourselves to do everything possible to keep such people safely away from where they can harm others, especially near the levers of our government since that’s exactly where a sociopath would want to be.