If an alien observer not trained in our customs and way of life were to read our Constitution, come to America and view our current situation, our fine little green friend would no doubt be amazed at the spectacle.
A political party utterly without conscience, whose members do not hold power in the Executive Branch, nor yet hold power in each chamber of the Legislative Branch, and only hold a single-vote majority in the Judicial (and after the lame-duck session will hold but one of two chambers in the Legislative) has taken upon itself to hold the country at ransom.
Our alien would wonder at the spectacle of basic help for the unemployed being held hostage for deeply unpopular tax cuts for the already insanely wealthy.
And it would shake its head in disbelief that, seeing the apparent success of the previously undertaken heist, that same sociopathic political party would see fit to hold such popular initiatives as the DREAM act and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell at gunpoint so that a commonsense, widely supported treaty to assist with the world's nuclear security might yet see the light of day.
Bob Corker, speaking softly to Olivier Knox, casually says that the START treaty won’t pass if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell or the DREAM Act get a vote tomorrow.
Yes, our observer would remark at the abject nihilism and greed of this political party. And it would remark at the transparent weakness of those who cave to such demands, curiously viewing payment of ransom as just another form of compromise.
But it would be most astounded, one might think, at the easy compliance of a populace so ill-used that they whisper scarcely a word of protest even as the pistol is held to their heads, their wallets taken, their cash distributed to those who would burn it to light their cigars, their families and children starved that their captors might eat caviar uninterrupted, their sons and daughters prevented even from serving to fight at their lords' behest for the crime of loving the wrong person, and denied the opportunity to pay off massive educational debts to the landed gentry for the crime of having been born to the wrong social caste.
Examining our encyclopedias of human behavior to explain such a situation, our curious onlooker would find only one explanation: Stockholm Syndrome.
In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, essentially mistaking a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome. The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28, 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term "Stockholm Syndrome" was coined by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot, who assisted the police during the robbery, and referred to the syndrome in a news broadcast. It was originally defined by psychiatrist Frank Ochberg to aid the management of hostage situations.
Stockholm Syndrome arises during times of great stress, when those whose lives have suddenly been turned upside down find themselves in an enclosed space with but one information source, and but one source of sustenance hope for safety: the continued well-being of their captors.
And here again, our friend from beyond the moon might understand the situation clearly, were it to examine our history of the last 30 years. All of the elements necessary for Stockholm Syndrome are fully in place.
Our society has been placed under great physical and psychological duress. A long and arduous road to record income inequality has been exacerbated by a sudden collapse, seemingly inexplicable to all but the closest students of complex financial instruments and their consequences. Worlds have been turned upside down, as families across our nation look for any kind of answer, from anywhere, and will latch on to any seemingly coherent explanation, regardless of its factual merit.
The media that would have provided the nation with the outside information necessary to distinguish its own well-being from that of its captors has not only failed utterly, but has in fact been nearly co-opted by the captors themselves. When only media in autocracies half a world away bother to cover the hostage-taking and ransom of first responders on 9/11, there is clearly a closed information loop so tight, that not even a rescuer's loudspeaker can penetrate the fortress in which this nation is held prisoner.
And the final blow? The apparent ideological victory of supply-side economics among the near entirety of the ruling class has led the nation to believe that our well-being, our own economic survival, depends entirely on the well-being and continued pampering of the Brahmins for whom we are lucky to serve as wipers and concubines, so that our children may consume the trickled-down wet crumbs they leave behind. The rich must be granted yet more wealth, or the nation may starve as a result. If we get any other ideas, the ruling caste will slice open the throats of our less fortunately employed brothers and sisters.
Our alien would doubtless counsel us that our only prayer lies in deliverance. It might tell us that things are darkest before the dawn, and that captives so held can often experience psychological transformation once on the outside of their prisons, though it may take some time.
But first, we must understand our illness, and work to combat it. We must understand the degree to which we as a nation are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and engage in a deliberate plan to rethink and reorient.
It starts by telling the truth about our captors and their motives. And it continues by organizing plans to truly fight them, and to find leaders unafraid to call them by the names they deserve, and to brook no compromise with them. To deny and reject those who would counsel negotiation with the terrorists who abuse us. This, our alien would say as it zooms back to its own world in disbelief, is the challenge that lies before us.