For the past year I have both observed and experienced a kind of suspension of belief around our political situation in the United States. It isn’t so much about being a Liberal with a capital “L” as it is about how both liberals and conservatives seem to have become hostages to a leadership that we would not have chosen but feel constrained to either support or placate.
I think that people who voted for the current administration may be as surprised about the direction things have gone as those who voted against it. And yet, we all seem to have a stake in forcing the square peg into the round hole of our political history.
We are being held hostage by those people who have pledged to serve us and yet are unable to maintain the progress previously made or produce the changes they said they would make.
The appointees made by the administration have proven to be unqualified at the very least and we don’t recognize and accept that because we have cast our lot with whoever we voted for. We feel that admitting any misdeed done by them is admitting that we ourselves have sinned by putting them in office.
Most of us don’t seem capable of just seeing and accepting things as they really are. When we hear a lie, we ignore it; when we know that something is wrong we excuse it; some of us have glossed over ethical lapses and gross mistakes that previously formed the very basis of our belief system just so we don’t have to admit to making a mistake in our judgement or in picking what we believed was the “lesser of the two evils.”
I looked up the definition of the Stockholm Syndrome and this is what I found:
Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome consists of “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”
It isn’t really that much of a stretch when you consider that every day begins with a threat, a lie, a misdirection, or a recalibrating of our belief systems.
Those of us who support those in power struggle to find the arguments that will make it all more palatable and those of us who don’t try to keep faith that the system will fix it all somehow. In the meantime, it just seems to get worse.
There is a saying that has (possibly erroneously) been credited to Mark Twain: “It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled.” He probably didn’t say it, but someone did, and I think it is true. It may be embarrassing, upsetting, and frightening to admit we have been conned, but that doesn’t mean we have to keep being conned.
There is another old saying that states, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
I don’t know what can be said about us if we allow ourselves to be fooled over and over again.