Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unresolved parental issues

You can call that pragmatism in the face of harsh political reality if you like. That's not a bad description. But the truth is that there was never any point in time when getting cap-and-trade passed was going to be anything but extraordinarily difficult. It still will be now, if Obama tries. A White House that gave up on the issue when it seemed too hard and came haltingly back when it seems marginally easier isn't exactly the picture of idealism Obama painted when he talked about how his presidency would be remembered. At least on this issue, I thought we were getting a big president. (Gabriel Winant, “The medium-big president,” Salon, 15 June 2010)

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Unresolved Parental Issues

I am becoming increasingly convinced that large swathes of the US media have unresolved parental issues. Why the obsession with incessantly noting that "Daddy" is not acting like we want him to, not matter what he does? (Phyllis Beck Kritek, response to post, “The medium-big president”)

Re: Unresolved Parental Issues

On this subject, it could be judged that pretty much all of us have unresolved parental issues, making pointing this out more a prompt for serious exploration than a point for mockery.

We may assume that what we want out of a president is a fully responsive leader, but some have argued that if we didn't have parents who were immediately responsive to us, we actually feel uncomfortable with leader-figures who too readily attend and smartly deliver. This speaks more to than just how our parents treatment of us determines our leadership preferences, but on the subject of how instances in the "crib" determine the nature of the larger landscape, I offer this:

Every childrearing practice in history is restaged in adult political behavior. Children whose mothers swaddled them and were "not there" emotionally could not as adults maintain object consistency and grew up paranoid, imagining "enemies" everywhere. Children whose mothers regularly did not feed them in a timely fashion experienced the world as malevolently withholding. Children whose mothers rejected them with depressive silence experienced peaceful international periods as threatening. Children whose mothers dominated them and who were engulfing often choose totalitarian political leaders. Children whose mothers were so needy they describe their children as "born selfish and demanding" and or who saw them as "angry since birth" experienced other nations as demanding too much or as angry "bad babies." Children whose mothers used them as antidepressants chose manic, often violent leaders to counter their own depression. And mothers who ridiculed and humiliated their children whenever their activities didn't coincide with her own were experienced in the international sphere as poison containers of intolerable ridicule and shame -- as in "the shame of Versailles." (Lloyd deMause, Emotional Life of Nations)

Link: The medium-big president (Salon)

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