The past three months have seen an odd turn in the presidential primary process in both parties — a turn away from the key issues confronting the United States and toward emotional and social vapor. The success of the surge in Iraq, coupled with the bizarre “we’re safe” reading of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, drained some of the passion from the anti-war fervor in the Democratic primary electorate and from the hawkish fervor of the Republican primary electorate....
The horrifying assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan this morning comes only one week before the Iowa caucuses and 12 days before New Hampshire. It is a sobering and frightening reminder of the challenges and threats and dangers posed to the United States by radical Islam, the nature of the struggle being waged against the effort to extend democratic freedoms in the Muslim world, and the awful possibility of a nuclear Pakistan overrun by Islamofascists. This is what the next president will be compelled by circumstance to spend a plurality of his or her time on. This is what really matters, not the cross Mike Huckabee lit up behind his head in his Christmas ad.
American politics would dearly love to take a holiday from history, just as it did in the 1990s. But our enemies are not going to allow us to do so.
The question becomes, how much more psychological denial can the various segments of our society indulge in? How much longer can they blind themselves to the sobering reality that threatens us and which has been obvious since 2001?
There is plenty of psychological denial to go around these days, and it exists at varying levels and different degrees of severity. I'm sure you've heard the many perpetual whiners of the left complain loudly about how hyped the Islamist threat is and how it is distracting us from the "real" enemy,Bush, who stands in the way of leftist truth, social justice and the progressive marxist agenda.
As an example, consider this run of the mill, ideological hack from the lefty blogsphere, who isjust one of the many leftists in denial about terrorism-- Glenn Greenwald routinely claims that "fear of terrorism" has been "inflamed and exploited" by the Bush Administration for the purpose of gaining power:
Bush opponents must finally overcome the one weapon which has protected George Bush again and again: fear. Fear of terrorism is what the Administration has successfully inflamed and exploited for four years in order to justify its most extreme and even illegal actions undertaken in the name of fighting terrorism.
Let's discuss this from a psychiatric and psychological perspective since these are the terms used in the quote above.
This great leftist intellect is essentially arguing that--instead of facing the undeniable reality of Islamic fanaticism that clearly and unambiguously state their intentions to kill or enlave us--we should first close our eyes and pretend it doesn't exist; and then simply chant repeatedly the soothing and calming leftist mantra the only thing to fear, the only threat to this country and the world is...President Bush. Everything bad that happens in the world is because he either did something or he did nothing--take your pick. Even Bhutto's assassination can be blamed on him.
As I have written many times, this clever psychological maneuver is a common defense mechanism caled displacement . Just yesterday I was called out for daring to use the term "BDS" for a very specific, ongoing and pervasive psychological displacement utilized by a vast majority of the political left, by "Tbogg", one of a group of shallow and juvenile leftist bloggers who think its clever to accuse me of penis envy, since that's the only area of Freudian psychology they are familiar with; having picked up the term in their youth, one supposes, because the word "penis" aroused a few of their sluggish synapses for a brief time.
Just for the record, there are quite a number penises I not only do not envy, but for which I feel complete contempt.
Returning to the excellent example of denial and displacement that Greenwald provides for this discussion, there is almost always a strong element of paranoia that is present; as well as a noticeable touch of projection and frequent hysteria--though he believes he is being "logical" and "rational" (and don't forget "progressive"!) ; and that such rhetoric can be used to describe relatively normal people justifiably afraid of irrational fanatics not amenable to reason. The implication is that the only purpose such "fears" (deemed "inappropriate" by Greenwald) are being manipulated must be to "justify illegal actions."
The basic tenor of Greenwald's fear of Bush is easy to deduce: while we are fighting this illusory enemy, The Bushitler and his even more evil sidekick Cheney, have been amassing power and will soon set themselves up as a dictators and destroy our freedom as they amass oil weath. I will let you decide who we have to fear more--the President of the United States or the religious fanatics of Islam who want to obtain nuclear weapons and have issued a religious fatwa justifying using them? Who do we have to fear more: those who are trying to prevent another 9/11,... or those who would like nothing better than to do something even worse in our country? Who do we have to fear more: George W. Bush, who will without much fuss (or even regret, I imagine) pass the incredible power of the American Presidency to whomever is chosen by the laws of this land in 2008,... or those who routinely contest elections via suicide bombs and mass killings? As Cliff May points out, "Why bother with opeds, TV commercials, high-priced campaign strategists, spin doctors and pollsters when with one suicide bomber you can eliminate your opponent entirely?"
In any event, as pleasant as the fantasy is, we cannot take a vacation from history; nor---if we value our lives and our freedoms-- can we close our eyes and take a holiday from the reality that exists, whether we want it to or not.