Monday, October 29, 2012

Character Disorder

As you are quite likely aware, the Romney campaign is running an ad that consists of a blatant falsehood, namely, Jeep is going to move all of its manufacturing to China. This is untrue, Jeep has been so successful in the U.S. they are now going to expand into China (I think they have already been manufacturing Jeeps in China). This ad has been exposed as false, even Jeep itself has come out denouncing it as false, and it is by now well known to be false. Even Romney has admitted it is false. But when asked to remove it and desist Romney has refused to do so. This has prompted some to suggest that Romney’s failure to stop this ad, even though he knows it is false, represents some form of character of disorder. I think there is some merit in this accusation. You might recall that in Romney’s very first anti-Obama ad he quoted Obama as saying “If we continue to take about the economy we will lose.” In fact when Obama said this he was actually quoting something John McCain had said, but Romney wanted us to believe it was something Obama himself had said. And in this case, like this more recent one, even though he acknowledge it was false he continued to run it, suggesting as I recall, that “Everyone does it.” If you have been following the campaigns you must know that this kind of distortion and lying has been characteristic of the Romney campaign all along. This does, in my opinion, represent some kind of character flaw, at the very least a “win at any cost” mentality that is far less than desirable. There may be some Democratic ads that are somewhat misleading, but there is nothing comparable to the blatant hypocrisy and lying of Romney. Some suggest that Romney’s dishonesty represents his desperation and fear of defeat. It might, but it still doesn’t excuse it. I am not much for psychiatric terminology but I suppose that chronic lying might well be considered a character disorder.

This situation raises for me an additional and more important question. What about all the people that are still apparently going to vote for Romney. Most of them must be aware that Romney has ran a campaign of lying and distortion, he has even admitted it, but they are still going to vote for him. What does that tell you about their character? Are we to accept the fact that a huge number of American voters apparently do not care about a campaign of lies and exaggerations? That almost 50% seem willing to accept the premise that the end justifies the means? That in our politics anything goes, no matter how deceitful and dishonest? I do not want to believe this but the evidence seems to be mounting that it may be true that a very large proportion of the voting public share the same kind of character defect that seems to be true of Romney? Or is it merely the case that so many voters simply do not want a Black man to sit in the White House? As I have said repeatedly, I do not understand how this race for the Presidency can be as close as it seems to be, how anyone can support this candidate that is a known liar and flip-flopper, who changes his mind probably much more often than his underwear, and was not even wanted by his own party. To me this is an even greater mystery than the two elections of George W. Bush.

But what do I know? Today is my birthday. I am now 83 years old. I seem to be no wiser than I was at 20. As my dear friend, Professor Mel Firestone once said, “We’re all still just infants in increasingly decaying bodies.” And so it is on the Journey to the West.

Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people's characters.

Margaret Halsey


Wildgoose said...

Happy Birthday Lewis,
I've meant to respond after the tragic loss of your wonderful wife but with so much other devastation occuring I was at a loss to write. It's most encouraging to see you retaining your voice of reason and thoughtfullness. Let us hope for better times ahead.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! Sorry I missed it. Hope you found a bit of happiness amongst the rain.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, dear M.

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday to you, and thank you for sharing your intelligent, lively and Youthful thoughts on this blog. Thank you, too, for keeping it up despite your recent bereavement.
Blessings in the year ahead, and best regards from Bellingham, WA.

nancydrew said...

Echoing the others. We read, but don't quite know how to console. All best.