table of contents

art culture politics music humor

Special 2004 Election Collectors' Issue


by Lee Turner

The latest poll numbers show that of likely voters George W. Bush has 49% of the vote, John Kerry has 49% of the vote, and Ralph Nader has 1% of the vote. Many of us are wondering how it is possible that such a large percentage could continue to support Mr. Bush. The thought that he could conceivably be elected for another four years as president is just beyond belief. After all, this is a man who has failed miserably in every possible area of his job performance.

In his most crucial task of protecting the American people from attack, he ignored critical intelligence warnings, choosing instead to remain on vacation for the entire month of August, and thereby failed to prevent the attacks on 9/11/01. He then tried to block the creation of the 9/11 Commission, initially opposed the creation of The Department of Homeland Security, and has done next to nothing to fortify our boarders and secure our nuclear and chemical plants. Then, instead of focusing his attention on Al Qaeda, the real terrorist threat, he misled the American people about alleged danger in Iraq and started an unnecessary war, which has clearly led to catastrophic results. Despite Bush’s fantastical declarations to the contrary, there are very few reasonable people that would say that the war is anything but a devastating failure. In addition, Mr. Bush has taken the largest surplus in American history and turned it into the largest deficit in US history. He is the first president since Herbert Hoover to lose more jobs during his presidency than were gained. He has turned back environmental protections and has virtually ignored the escalating alarm bells of global warming. (Even Republican John McCain called this “disgraceful.”) Five million Americans have lost their healthcare during the last three and a half years, and four million more Americans have fallen below the poverty line during his presidency.

How could any American patriot continue to defend and support a leader with such an abysmal record? The answer simply defies any intelligent argument, and can only point to two possible answers:

1. Ignorance of the issues. The fact that there are 41% of Americans (down from a shocking 69% in September ’03) that still believe Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks speaks loudly to this point. OR

2. A psychological defense of denial that protects one from recognizing any bad/negative information about one’s authority figures.

Since it has been my experience that there are many Bush supporters that are very intelligent, as well as informed on the issues, it is to point #2 that I want to focus my attention on.

All people have it built into their psychological make-up, starting in their early childhoods, to believe in the authority figures of their world. There is a natural inclination to trust that one’s caretakers/authority figures are wiser, more knowledgeable, and able to protect us. Certainly the President of the United States, as the most powerful person on the planet, takes on this symbolic meaning as an authority figure, becoming, in a psychological sense, the father of our country. Many who have maintained a positive, trusting transference/perception of their parents, and other early authority figures in their community, tend to maintain this level of trust in their President and will often protect this image even when reality speaks loudly against the case for trust. (Similarly, those with a negative transference to their parents and other early authority figures can project all sorts of rage and blame onto the president that is not necessarily balanced with the facts.)

This dynamic of needing to trust one’s authority figures becomes intensified during traumatic times, such as during times of war. Fear of attack quite naturally causes people to feel more vulnerable and more dependent on others to ensure their safety. This creates a psychological regression to a more childlike state of mind, where one needs to feel safe and longs for an all-knowing, all-powerful parent/authority figure to protect them. In order for one to maintain the belief that one will be protected, and consequently feel safe, one must continue to believe that the authority figure entrusted to this task is “good.”

We can see an exaggerated example of this when working with abused children. Because abused children are dependent upon their caretakers and need to maintain an attachment to them, they will deny the reality of the situation before them and instead blame themselves or someone else for any negative actions taken by the caretaker.

In order to maintain the false belief that they are safe, they will direct anger and blame away from the abusive parent/caretaker, thereby freeing themselves to seek love and protection from that same parent/caretaker.

As adults, abused children generally continue to perceive their parents as “good,” and continue to protect their own internal image of their parents. They will often claim that what was clearly abusive, was necessary for their own good.

Similarly, children raised in criminal or mafia families will adapt to their surroundings by either denying their reality, (i.e.- “there is no mafia, Daddy’s in waste management”) or rationalizing their parent’s behavior as necessary to keep them safe, seemingly preferring not to know the details of what the parent actually does.

Recognizing the truth about our own authority figures, that they are neither all good, nor all bad, is often a painful and gradual maturation process. In relation to our own president, he is neither Satan, nor is he a saint. It is crucial that we look beyond our transference to authority figures and diligently seek to learn the facts.

Since the beginning of this devastating war, the following facts have become widely available to the public:

1- The Bush Administration had plans to invade Iraq prior to 9/11/01.

2- The Bush Administration refused to allow the UN weapons inspectors the time they requested to complete their inspections.

3- There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

4- There was no “reconstituted” nuclear program, as stated by VP Dick Cheney.

5- There was no link between Iraq and 9/11, and no collaborative relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda (as stated by the 9/11 Commission).

6- To fight this unnecessary war in Iraq, the Bush Administration diverted troops and vital resources away from Afghanistan, which allowed Osama bin Laden to escape.

7- Where there was no Al Qaeda threat in Iraq prior to the invasion, Iraq has now become a haven for terrorists.

8- We are not being greeted as “liberators.” Instead the Arab world generally perceives us as conquerors set out to dominate the region’s oil wealth.

9- As indicated by world opinion polls, the reputation of the US has been severely damaged by the Bush presidency. A Time magazine poll in Europe indicated that 86.9% of people surveyed perceive the US as the greatest danger to world peace.

10- Thus far, as of 10/5/04, 1,066 American soldiers have been killed, over 7,500 soldiers have been wounded, and in excess of 13,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. In addition, an estimated $200 billion has been diverted from vital resources here in the U.S. to spend on this war.

Plain and simple, our trust has been betrayed. Whatever your transference may be, there is no getting around this fact.

Lee Turner is a psychotherapist in private practice in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Pipe Up! Main pageLittle Commie Home

© 2004 Little Commie LLC About Email Message Board