That's America, so says Daniel Pinchbeck, an author i've really enjoyed and share some commonalities of experiences in Peru.
Along a similar concept to the social theory of Spiral Dynamics, Pinchbeck is suggesting that our society is a mix bag of personality types, just like in families, between adolescent teens through wizened grandpa's. That not all "adults" are made equal. Adulthood doesn't automatically bring with it intellectual and emotional maturity just because one hits the voting/die for country stage.
The well established Erikson Psychological Stages of Human Development posits that all human beings progress through a series of well-defined stages where we confront certain emotional/psychic (as in psychological) challenges. Surmounting a particular stage requires that we effectively confront and overcome the "dark side" of that particular stage and mature into the "effective side" of that stage.
(look through that Erkison tabel link above)
Now, at each stage there is considerable risk for being anchored there, stuck per say in a certain psychic stage of development if there has been emotional trauma or turmoil, or perhaps just a lack of guide parental support and nurturing. This is so incredibly common!
What does this mean??
What it means is when we are out and about in life, interacting with "adults", we are actually interacting with a wide range of human psychological stages and profiles.
There are adults who are advanced beyond their years (even children can accelerate beyond their stage years). But it also means there are adults who are "stuck" psychologically in less functional stages of their development.
This helps explain the behavior of many, including what's happening in the political arena that we are all discussing here.
Realize what Obama said about Paul Ryan's love for Ayn Rand:
President Obama: Well, you'd have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity, that's a pretty narrow vision.(LINK)Bamm! He's flat-out called Ryan to be at that adolescent stage of self-absorption and selfishness.Obama knows Erikson stages trust me! (and i suspect he's pretty advanced, if not at the most advance level already).
Now let's be blunt about our crew at Dailykos as well:
We've also got a mixed bag of psychic types who post here. It ranges from mature, well-reasoned personalities all the way down to cry-babies, sky is falling everyday, angry adolscent types who are going to stomp their feet and curse out friends and enemies alike when their wants and needs are not met immediately.... actually that sounds kinda way down in the infant stages don't it? ;-)
Anyways, just joking around.
Study up on these stages, it may really help you comprehend why people behave the way they do sometimes. Not all humans in "adult" bodies are actually adults emotionally and psychologically. And that's not some wishy-washy opinion, it's scientifically true.
So as a final suggestion, we need to look at the Republicans and Tea Baggers for what their are: adolescent (or lower) level psychic types who are stuck in the negative stages of their development. Perhaps from lack of proper parental guidance or psychological trauma that has them anchored there.
Now, think; how do you negotiate with angry teenager who are drinking and smashing beer bottles on your street?
I don't know the answer to that, but that's basically what we have at hand.