I was watching CNN (I know, I have no one to blame but myself) and while I am constantly tempted to reach into the screen and attempt to strangle some ass hat trying to be balanced and actually being a moron, today in particular I wanted to lose my mind. Even more than when Jack Cafferty suggested that Hillary challenge for the 2012 nomination. They were surprised that 88% of Tea Baggers don't think they recieved a tax cut this year. The one small hope I have is because of people like Jodine White in the NYT article:
“I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”
Since we've all known this is the case for many of these people, just whipped into a frenzy by selective information, never mind the out right lies and the histrionics of Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and co. That said, for those others, and I mean the man boob sporting, gun owning, melanin deficient types, is it just racism or is there something more going on here?
To paraphrase Fritz Perls, refusal to communicate is the most toxic of human traits. Not that they aren't willing to shout at the tops of their lungs while simultaneously misspelling things on signs. Refusal to communicate really means refusal to listen and to enter into dialogue, especially when there is a disagreement. They are self-centered, they think that their way is the only way, with total disregard for others and they indulge in subterfuge, self-delusion and see themselves as persecuted. Their delusions of self-persecution cause them to become angry manipulators which is almost the text book definition of sociopathic behaviour. Unfortunately for those who have honest reservations about policy, spending and the role of government, it is these hysterical fear mongers who are getting the air time.
“Action speaks louder than words” Everyone’s mother has probably said this during our childhood more than once. My father used to say “Talk is cheap, whiskey costs money.” The typical behaviors of those who refuse to communicate are labeled by psychologists as the “fight?flight” response. Those who refuse to communicate are usually adept at manipulation, they have toxic behavior in general and when confronted by circumstances that proves their position is faulty, they will attack or run away, or they will attack then run away. Toxic people are adept at pushing our buttons and provoking an over-reaction in others. But the up side of that is that they challenge us to remain centered and be a positive influence even if there is no reward to us directly. Our efforts to not add to the anger and chaos toxic people use to justify their emotional cruelty and brutal behavior is our best strategy. If they do not run they will not listen using a variety of tyrannical behaviors like bringing guns to town hall meetings.
These are all characteristics of Sociopathic Personalities. The detachment, the narcissism, the refusal to acknowledge any point of view other than their own. It is my belief that a substantial portion of the Tea Baggers are actually Functional Sociopaths. They work, they cut their grass, they pay their bills but at the end of the day, they are dangerous and unstable individuals who are really best left alone.
A final thing that is helpful is to remember that “help is not always helpful.” Recently I tried to talk to a person who was complaining loudly about "Obamacare" at the local pub. I asked her what she thought the new healthcare package did and her remark to me was “I don’t need your help. You'll just say some numbers and think that explains things. He's a communist.” For a lot of these people it is probably wise to avoid unnecessary contact as they are not rational and may actually be suffering from a serious mental disorder.
I asked a friend of mine who is a behavioral psychologist to give me a list of the traits found commonly in sociopaths and here is what he gave me:
Glibness and Superficial Charm
Manipulative and Conning
Grandiose Sense of Self
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Sound familiar? So here is my question: Is the Tea Bagger movement actually a sign of a severe mental disorder, because it sure looks that way to me?