Nudging Obama

Formerly "Obama Watch" Keeping the promise of change

Obama and the U.S. in Deep Denial

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If the image is scandalous, it is because that is what is needed to expose a culture of enabling and denial. Think about it. You don’t deal with addiction effectively by taking away the drug–or by giving the addict money and another chance at self-regulation. The life of the individual and of the family has to be re-examined and restructured to some positive end. The artists at the Times have revealed the true nature of the problem. That’s as much as they can do. Now we need to see if the current administration is willing to admit to what is wrong, and what needs to be done.

The record to date doesn’t look good: The president is doing the American psyche a great disservice by refusing to aggressively push for the prosecution of those who engineered the Bush torture policy. Justin Frank, author of Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, says there’s only way to psychologically move forward on the issue of torture: Prosecute the past.

The politics may still be hazy, but from a psychoanalytic perspective it’s clear: the psychological health of the nation depends on our ability to see our mistakes, admit them and not perpetuate them. As an example: prosecuting the Bush administration officials responsible for torture. Strange as it may sound, this can only benefit our own collective mental health: our psychic healing demands that we affix responsibility and recognize that, no matter how well we all hide it or compensate for it, George W. Bush’s cruelty exists in each of us.

It is not enough simply to acknowledge the sadism of Bush’s motives and leave it at that. Obama’s reluctance to pursue the matter further is sort of like turning up at a funeral wearing a red dress: One recognizes the death enough to show up, but denies any pain at the occasion.

Just as Bush outsourced his own sadism to Guantanamo, most of us outsourced our sadism to him by passively accepting what he did. It’s a truth we all want to avoid having to recognize—what drove his orders was a sense of pleasure derived from inflicting pain on others, And, like it or not, this tendency to derive pleasure from cruelty is a trait that, at some level, we all share.

from Why Obama Is in Denial

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Written by bearmarketnews

May 9, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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