Schizophrenia, the New American Illness


Definition:   Schizophrenia (in Greek, “split mind”) is a severe mental illness characterized by a variety of symptoms including but not limited to:loss of contact with reality

bizarre behavior
disorganized thinking
disorganized speech
decreased emotional expressiveness
diminished or loss of contact with reality
diminished to total social withdrawal.

Schizophrenia afflicts approximately one percent of the world’s population, making it the most common psychosis.

Schizophrenia is characterized by positive and negative symptoms. Fundamental symptoms include thought disturbance, withdrawal, and difficulties managing effect. Secondary symptoms include perception disorders such as hallucinations and grandiosity. Symptoms may also be non-schizophrenic in nature, including anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic symptoms.

Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic brain disorder that alter the way a person acts, thinks, perceives reality, express emotions and relates to other people. Schizophrenia affects people of all gender and races. People suffering from Schizophrenia believe that other people have a capacity to read their mind, control their thought patterns or are scheming to harm them. In other cases, they may smell odors or hear voices that other people don’t smell or hear. These experiences leaves a person withdrawn, frightened of extremely agitated. Just like cancer or diabetes, Schizophrenia is a long life disease that has no known cure but it can be controlled with the correct treatment.

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder in that a person may not differentiate the reality from imaginations; this usually leads to change in a person’s behavior and personality. When the change is sudden, it is referred to as psychotic episode.

Sufferer of Schizophrenia experience different psychotic episodes during their lifetime, making the severity of the disorder to vary from one person to the other.

Sound familiar? It does to me. You see, I have been mulling over the events of the last week and trying to understand the hows and whys of it all. It ain’t easy.

Let me lay out a few things for you:

1. The GOP proclaims regularly that they are the party of pro-business and fiscal conservatism. I don’t need to post a link for this one, as it’s all over the place.

2. America’s debt has rocketed up under Republican presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan and culminating under George W. Bush.  During those years, several Democratic presidents have managed to actually bring down the level of government spending, including President Obama. Bill Clinton even managed a budget surplus. (Here’s a helpful graph:

3. These alleged “fiscal conservatives” under Bush put not one, but two wars on the national ‘credit card’ along with unfunded Medicare Part D, and then cut taxes on top of that.

4.  Now, of course, the new meme is blame President Obama for our economic woes, all of which began under other – Republican – presidents.

To use an analogy, as you know, an arsonist is someone who deliberately sets fires for fun and profit (and occasionally sexual gratification).  Think of the GOP as a sneaky arsonist who has been filling our American house with straw (the wars), dousing it with kerosene (Medicare Part D) and then tossing in a match (the Bush tax cuts) — and then blaming the fire department (President Obama) for showing up and trying to put out the raging conflagration.

Not only that, they are doing everything they possibly can to obstruct the fire department’s efforts to put out the fire. They cut off the flow of water (blocking the stimulus) and have even tried to destroy the fire hydrant (debt ceiling).

That’s why I posted the definition of schizophrenia. For us everyday folks who make up 98% of Americans, this is craziness.

If you look back, the GOP has been following a blueprint laid down more than 30 years ago; it’s called the “Two Santa Clauses” theory; for the details, I’m going to refer you to Thom Hartman. In essence, the Republicans are going to “out Santa Claus” the Democrats (who are responsible for our social safety net of Social Security, Medicare and other programs like unemployment, welfare and the like) by playing Santa Claus to the more powerful among us, the wealthy and corporate interests. By cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations, abolishing regulation on all sorts of things from campaign financing to the EPA, Republicans are playing Santa to the movers and shakers, sucking up to the big fish who can line their pockets and keep them in power.

And this schizophrenic game of brinkmanship has now led to the full faith and credit of the United States of America, exemplified by our solid gold AAA credit rating, being downgraded for the first time in our history – because the Republicans and the out-of-control mob of ignorant Tea Party freshmen in the House stonewalled, blocked, obstructed and frankly, took this nation hostage – like terrorists everywhere do to get what they want.

Their motivation intrigues – and frankly, frightens me, because, uniquely, our exhausted economy has once again come to the point where it can take no more abuse, just as it did in October of 1929.

Big business, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the ratings agencies, know their history – and they stated right up front that they wanted the debt ceiling raised, first and simplest of all, because it is a necessary part of doing business in America today. America has been tottering toward a recovery from the Bush recession, and Obama used a tried-and-true method for boosting that recovery:  government spending, just as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did when he created the WPA and the CCC to bring us out of the Great Depression. Take a moment to contemplate the immense benefits of that government spending. FDR not only brought America out of the Great Depression, but the beneficent side effects of that recovery provided us with those incredible monuments to America’s natural beauty, our national parks. The benefits of FDR’s visionary government spending also included highways, bridges and other massive infrastructure achievements we enjoy today, gigantic projects such as the Hoover Dam, which still provides the western states with water and power. And then, think of our crumbling highways, our falling bridges, our antiquated power grid, our sewer systems, our outmoded public transportation system…I could go on and on.

We all want America strong again, don’t we? Any sane American’s answer would be “Hell, yeah!” But this is where the schizophrenia and the cognitive dissonance of the right creeps into the picture, because the Republican answer to this question is apparently, “Hell no, we don’t.”

They have obstructed, blocked, lied, obfuscated, cheated, screeched, frothed, threatened, thrown tantrums – in other words, they have done everything in their power to stop our American economic recovery in its tracks, just like the Republicans did in 1937, when they forced FDR to cut government spending and to “balance the budget.” The healthy growth rate FDR achieved – around 13% – immediately tumbled to 5%, and the following year, slid to an alarming -3%. Unemployment, which had been steadily falling, began to climb again.

Evidently the Republicans haven’t learned anything from history, because now, as then, they are demanding that the president cut government spending and focus on our “out of control” deficit (which, by the way, they bear most of the blame for causing in the first place).

And what, to me, makes this frightening – aside from my current age of 56 and my nearness to the age where I may need to rely upon the Social Security system into which I have paid my entire working life – is that we have the very clear example of history to illustrate what comes next. We only need to look at what happened in 1937, and the parallels immediately become crystal clear. And yet, today’s GOP,  in their crazy schizophrenic way, have, once again, resorted to denial. As they deny global climate change and absurdly, evolution, they now deny history:  the events of 1937 happened because the GOP forced an austerity program and cuts in government spending.

And in keeping with the schizophrenia of the teabaggers, I was called a “lying liberal,” when, in a fruitless effort to convince a “Tea Party patriot” that cutting government spending is the wrong course for this nation at this time, I posted 4 different links to sources with this history. I was careful to keep those sources as neutral as I could – I left out several progressive sources like the Huffington Post and the Democratic Underground. I even included a link to the neocon American Heritage Institute – where the “premature cut in government spending caused the 1937 recession” fact was right there, although it was sandwiched between the twisted “logic” of two other neocon theories postulating that either excessive government regulation and/or excessive government spending caused the recession.

How can you argue with someone who doesn’t live in the real world…?

That’s the problem we’re having right now. We not only have to cope with the powerful Republicans who know exactly what they are doing and cynically doing it in spite of the suffering they know their fellow Americans are currently experiencing – and their knowledge that it will surely get worse if they stay this course, but we must also deal with the ideological zealots of the Tea Party who shout their Ayn-Randian mottoes about greed being good and selfishness being a virtue and drowning our government in a bathtub.

I fear for our future.

And on that note, if there is a nice man from say, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden or maybe even Iceland, who is looking for a wife, I’m a nice American girl who can cook. No reasonable offer refused.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Annie, each of us needs to organize a “protest militia” in our communities throughout the state, choose a date, and read an “I Accuse” type statement at our rerespective courthouses. J’accuse’ was Emile Zola’s greatest moment long after he had driften into comfortable retirement and it cost him dearly.

    I am working on a statement. Your post today is a good start. Cletis


  2. Posted by Leftside Annie on August 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you, Cletis. I appreciate the compliment.


  3. I love it and am tweeting it out for tonite (8/8)! Thanks.


  4. Excellent post Annie. I find myself often scratching my head after a discussion with a Tea Bagger. As you point out they simply do not live in the real world. I’ve toyed with the idea of saying “The sky is blue” to them just to get some agreement, but there’s a part of me that fears they’d deny even that.


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