Just Above Sunset
May 2, 2004 - Selling ersatz personal responsibility to the masses...
Fools and Knaves? Suckers and Sharpies?
Thoughts on selling ersatz personal responsibility to the masses…
Here’s another item from James Benjamin, Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Behavioral and Social Science at Oklahoma Panhandle
State University. Yes, a minor school in an odd state. But the man is a psychologist, for whatever that is worth. Some
readers know that my surly cat Harriet – and photographs of her appear regularly on this site – was named after
a prominent psychotherapist here in Los Angeles – the author of Lethal Lovers and Poisonous People: How to Protect
Your Health from Relationships That Make You Sick. The trendy psychotherapist
Harriet is no longer with us, and the feline Harriet is no psychotherapist. But
Benjamin is, indeed, a psychologist.
Maybe it isn't so much that Bush failed to finish his commitment to the National Guard. Maybe the issue is broader: that the man has a consistent pattern of behavior that makes him far from presidential
material. That pattern: using family and friends' influence for personal gain,
failing miserably, and then getting said family and friends to bail him out. Over
and over again.
Ah, spoken like a true
psychotherapist. GWB as codependent.
"I've never begrudged people the choice that they made, but once you've made a choice, I think you have a responsibility to honor the choice that you made."
Bush, and Cheney too, by ducking the Vietnam business in spite of their enthusiasm for that war, were not.
But most people see Bush (and Cheney) as paragons of accepting personal responsibility (perhaps because they chat up the idea so much) – and thus Bush is sure to be elected to another four-year term. He says what he means. He does what he says. No one can change his mind – because of his rock-solid convictions and deep Christian faith. He knows he is doing God’s will.
The fellow who actually did what he said he’d do and didn’t ask for any favors? He’s the fellow with no “personal responsibility.” He even (gasp!) now than then changes his mind. He ended up thinking that war we had in Vietnam was a really bad idea. But he went, and he did his duty. Irresponsible? That's how he is being defined.
So Bush is responsible and Kerry is not. We’ve all seen the flood of television advertising telling us that. And people buy it – with relish. A neat trick.
How did that happen? This is just one of the wonders of careful, targeted advertising and well-thought-out public relations. It works.
This issue updated and published on...
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