Dementia Praecox

Brain Dropping #50

Having some family experience with dementia – that sad slide into forgetfulness, alienation and loss of contact with reality – I begin to see parallels with our metaphoric “body politic” in its regression to a childlike state of incomprehension and fantasy.
In the use of synecdoche, where a part symbolizes the whole, we can see in the erratic behavior of our political leaders, certain symptomatic conditions of a failing brain.  We know that dementia can be brought on by serious head trauma such as a helmet to helmet concussion in football.  The “Twin Tower” tragedy on September 11, 2001 may very well have been such a trauma.
Someone suffering from dementia experiences severe memory loss, a tenuous grip on reality and sporadic outbreaks of mindless belligerence.  Our ‘elite’ political class, encompassing a wide range of partisanship from the loony ‘Right’ to lame-brained ‘Liberals’ – from war criminals George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, to Barak Obama , John Kerry and, sadly Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, seems to have misplaced the history of the last fifty years.  Perhaps the synapse, the structure that permits a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell and which is vital to the formation of memory, has been clinically impaired by fear of the terrorist hiding under each bed.
As that great statesman Vice President Dan Quayle rightly observed: “A mind is a terrible thing to lose!”  What else can explain the Afghanistan invasion, “Shock and Awe” in Iraq, the alienation of a billion and a third Sunni Muslims enraged by drone and bombing attacks whose murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children is whitewashed as collateral damage.  These are the actions of a seriously compromised frontal lobe, a clear and frightening manifestation of psychosis, an abnormal condition of the mind.  Currently, our brain damaged leaders are preparing to continue the decent into madness while reassuring us that this time the outcome will be different.
Yet, there are still those citizens who quibble and split hairs:  “Obama isn’t as bad as Bush!”  ” What can Obama do,those Republicans are crazy as hell!”  “Obama’s election proves we live in a post-racial America!” But, as I’ve said before:  “It is not a valid proof of someone’s sanity to find someone crazier than he is!”

Al Salzman


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