COMMENTARY: Mass hysteria – taking our political pulse

By Blogger David Scott
Politics + Religion

I can only hope it’s temporary, this acute case of social influenza that has gripped our country.

Writer Rob Schofield with North Carolina Policy Watch puts it this way: “Combine a measure of legitimate grievance, a kernel of truth, big helpings of distorted history lessons, and rigid, half-baked ideology along with healthy dashes of paranoia, racism, and religious fundamentalism and then cook it for a few years over the heat and fear generated by globalization and a vexing recession and what do you get?”

The answer is a national mental illness, said Schofield in a Feb. 15 N.C. Policy Watch post.

This “social malaise” shows its bizarre and alarming symptoms every day and has become all too evident in the modern American mindset. Look closely at how we perceive the world, what we’re teaching our kids, what we learn at school and church, our politics, and at how our institutions have bought into this new paradigm of malignant thinking.

In Schofield’s column, he called it “fear of change and the future.”

One of our two major political parties has fallen in love with “the America of yesteryear”–the days when men were men and women were barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. It’s a politics based on a distorted and rose-colored image of the past when minorities stayed quiet and everybody owned a ’55 Chevy. Back to the future.

“Contempt for science and intellectualism.”

Even the educated in this group have chosen arbitrarily to pick the facts that fit their convenience and to disregard the remainder as a hoax or sinister plot against their status or way of life. People ignore global warming so they can continue to drive their Hummers guilt-free. Some fundamentalists have decided evolution is synonymous with godlessness. Citizens thumb their noses at public education so they can teach their kids whatever “facts” they have chosen to accept. People consider intelligence with suspicion and the scholarly as snobs.

This cancerous worldview has now spread to our political, judicial, and religious leadership who are busy working hard to advance policy positions that dismantle effective public programs and structures – programs and structures that enhance everyone’s freedom and quality of life.

If this scenario weren’t so tragic, it would make for great theater. This production won’t win any Oscars and will hopefully have a short run at the box office.

If you’re observing something different, I’d like to hear about it.

How do you read the political pulse of America this election season?


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