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Bush/GOP Supporters and the Phenomenon of Delusion

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George W's poll numbers are tumbling as more and more Americans are seeing through his lies and are shaking off their blindness to the devastation he and his Republican co-conspirators are bringing down upon our great republic and our personal lives. It is a gleam of clarity for these millions of Americans, an experience liken to seeing flashed across their TV screens the images of destruction wrought by hurricane Katrina.

They have become fed up with the shameful Bush/GOP legacy: Elections stolen by dirty tricks, unanswered 9/11 anomalies, Patriot Act obliterating parts of the Constitution, fabricating bogus intelligence to sell the illegal preemptive Iraq War, thousands of American soldiers unnecessarily killed and maimed, Osama bin Laden still at large, stratospheric national debt putting us in hock with China so the GOP wealthy base could have a big tax break, $45 Billion cut from social programs, cutting aid to veterans, shorting supplies to the troops while fattening the coffers of corporate war profiteers, acting as if above the law and so on.

It has become clear to these Americans that the Bush/GOP regime is not about conventional politics. Instead, various GOP politicians arrogantly speak freely of their 'movement' and their 'new wind blowing across America'. In truth, they are talking about crushing democracy, trashing the Constitution, eliminating checks and balances, and limiting the American dream to the top tier. They want to turn America into a Fascist state, in which the corporate sector and the very wealthy grab all the power and wealth of the nation, becoming the governing class, while relegating impoverished and expendable rank and file Americans to virtual serfdom.

In spite of the enlightenment of the millions now disapproving Bush, there are still many good Americans tenaciously supporting the lawless Bush/GOP regime. For example fervent anti-abortionists continue to endorse Bush in spite of all his baby killing in Iraq. Apparently, it's wrong to kill (abort) American babies, but it's OK to kill Iraqi babies. What is the psychology behind this illogical mind twisting that keeps these folks in such a state of delusion?

First, the overwhelming ignorance of the facts is a primary factor in this collective psychosis. The facts simply are not being accurately reported in the media. In addition, a lack of desire to know the real facts, and avoiding the responsibilities that come with knowing exacerbates the disorder. (The Downing Street 'smoking gun' memo: "The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam, through military action, justified by claims of terrorism and WMD's".)

We face a conspiracy of silence from the biased mainstream media, which is very much part of the corporate sector. They are running a propaganda campaign championing the pro-corporate Bush/GOP regime as well as censoring reports of its crimes in the media's ever diligence to not offend their corporate advertisers. For people who form their beliefs on discourse from this source, it is inevitable that at least half of everything they think is wrong. The media lies about facts relating to specific situations, both current and historical, including 9/11. The lies have become so pervasive that they are no longer obvious. (right wing talk radio, Rush Limbaugh)


The size of the lie determines its chances of being accepted by the public. Hitler said, "The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one."(unanswered 9/11 anomalies)

Censorship, brainwashing and intimidation from the media create an environment of passivity and fear in subtle yet powerful ways that keep the delusions going with the complicity of those being deceived. (fabricating bogus intelligence)

Described below are some psychological phenomena, very much useful to the Bush/GOP regime, which enable their lies, crimes and treasons to go unnoticed and unchallenged. Many people accept being deluded for reasons that may be conscious or unconscious.

Disbelief

  • Many people won't believe alternatives to the official story because they didn't read about it in the New York Times or hear it on CNN. (unanswered 9/11 anomalies)
  • Denial is widespread when the enormity of a situation is so unprecedented that people lack past experience to base acceptance. For example, many European Jews failed to recognize their impending extermination. To quote an old German adage: 'Things whose existence is not morally possible cannot exist.' (Bush stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections)
  • Many people are 'mystified' when a plausible misrepresentation of reality in which forms of exploitation are presented as forms of benevolence. (Bush's 'Clean Air Act' increasing pollution) (Bush's 'Save Our Forests Act' permitting logging in national forests) (Bush's attempt to privatize Social Security)

Conformity and Herd Mentality
  • 'Unity' in a community comes as the phenomenon of 'One Mind' develops.
  • 'One Mind' is each individual in a community aligning their thoughts with what the other members are thinking. This occurrence is motivated by the sense of comfort it provides.
  • It can be described as collective hypnotic induction, which creates an illusion of a consensus that is hard to challenge.
  • Many people lead their lives enslaved by artificial belief systems imposed by others. The few that are courageously critical are not heard, or else they are severely shamed, ridiculed and viciously accused of causing problems. (thousands of American soldiers unnecessarily killed and maimed)
Learned Helplessness
  • Psychologist Martin Seligman's theory of 'Learned Helplessness' explains how when one's repeated actions have no effect, people learn that what they do doesn't make a difference and give up, even in situations where they can potentially make a difference. (Bush stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections)
Cowardice
  • The thought of challenging powerful, dominating authority with the prospect of losing is overwhelming. It is too big for most individuals at this level. This fear becomes part of the problem and rewards domination.
  • As long as people remain silent and isolated from one another, they don't realize the protection of collective action - safety in numbers.
  • 'The Passive Bystander Effect' (psychologist Stanley Cohen) Individuals wait for someone else to act and diffuse their personal responsibility into the collective responsibility of the group. Also, the larger the group the lower is the likelihood that any individual person will spontaneously take action himself.
  • More information alone is unlikely spur action. People need the social support and the validation of others. They will not accept the reality of the problem unless they see others engaging in emotionally charged debate, protest, and meaningful, visible alternatives. (The alternative media)(Air America)(Impeachment efforts by a few in Congress)
Denial and Psychic Numbing
  • It is frightening, unsettling, and intolerable for many Americans to question these core beliefs about our leaders and to accept the reality of extensive fraud. Also, ignorance is bliss, but for the moment, and knowledge implies responsibility, which may be feared and avoided. (Bush stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections) (Bush's AWOL from the National Guard and cocaine use)
Avoidance and Compartmentalization
  • People want to retreat, to focus on their own survival, family, daily life and pleasure, which are manageable.
  • Stanley Cohen in his book States of Denial wrote that the capacity to deny particular levels of awareness is the normal state of affairs for people in an information-saturated society. In order to deny the moral implications of something it is necessary at some level to recognize its existence. It is a state of simultaneous 'knowing and not-knowing'. (Bush's reluctance to accept Global Warming)
The delusions of normalcy created by these avoidance mechanisms in the short run minimize pain. But, in the long run they result in a 'Spiral of Silence' (Elizabeth Noelle Neumann) that plays right into the hands of the Bush/GOP regime in their destruction of our great republic and our personal lives.

 

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Dan Merica is a political cartoonist and opinion writer battling the right wing scourge now devastating our country. His work is posted on his website, www.cartoons-political.com.
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