Cognitive dissonance is defined as "an uncomfortable feeling produced by holding two incompatible ideas in the mind at the same time." I think it is time to make a simple but profound observation about the outbreak of increasingly hysterical craziness surfacing on the right at town hall meetings and similar gatherings. Health care reform proposals are compared to naziism. Obama's citizenship is denied. Obama is called a little Hitler. Men show up at public meetings carrying assault weapons, and little old World War II veterans say that they are ready to take a gun to Washington if some others will join them.
What on earth is going on? I think the answer is very simple, so simple that the pundits and commentators just won't look it square in the face and acknowledge it. A BLACK MAN IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. Scores of millions of Americans simply cannot hold comfortably in their minds the two ideas: Barack Obama is Black and Barack Obama is President. The world of these people has come unhinged. They know in their bones that something huge and deadly serious is out of whack, but they cannot say it, and probably most of them cannot even permit themselves to think it. So they reach for ever more outlandish descriptions of the state of things in an effort to give voice to their terrified awareness that the world they grew up in, the world they learned to negotiate, the social truths ingrained in their beings -- all of these are gone.
Because Obama is suave, supremely well-educated, soft-spoken, and anti-dramatic, because he speaks endlessly about compromise and reaching out to his opponents, pundits who are themselves reasonably comfortable with that kind of Black man in the White House simply cannot grasp how deeply, unacceptably cognitiviely dissonant Obama's presidency is to huge numbers of Americans.
Let me say it again: This hysteria is not about health care reform [of all things!!], it is not about deficit spending, it is not about global warming, it is not about Wall Street bailouts. It is about a Black man in the White House. If we can just stop singing Kumbaya and congratulating ourselves on how evolved we are, and look at this country for what it is, this truth will be obvious.
What is to be done about this? I think the answer is obvious, and Harry Truman understood it half a century ago when he desegregated the Armed Forces. The only reasonable thing to do is to cram this truth down their throats and make them swallow it. They won't like it; they will kick and scream, and yes, sooner or later someone will try to assassinate Obama. But if those whose very being is wrapped up in denying the fact that a Black man is in the White House are forced to accept that fact, then in time we will get past this. They themselves will probably have to die off, like old smokers. There are millions of Americans who will go to their graves unable to acknowledge that a Black man was truly and legitimately elected President.
Oh yes. Tomorrow, I will return to USSAS.