Know anyone guilty of delusional thinking?

November 20, 2015

delusional-thinkingFair warning: this is a rant. I let it sit a few weeks, so it’s not about current events. It’s always wise to let rants sit, but even after that, I decided to post it.

We liberals like to think that we are above intolerance. Righteousness, we think, is for the right. Wing, that is.

Excuse me while I laugh my ass off, because I’ve come face-to-face with the very epitome of left-wing righteousness.

Listen, I’m guilty of thinking that way, myself. A very dear friend likes to remind me when he notices me making a judgment of the kind I purport to not like in others.

That’s what good friends do, you know. They ping you on your stuff and then love you anyway. Maybe even because of your open-ness about your stuff. Thank you, P!

What really happened

Here’s who I keep thinking of: the people of my political persuasion who celebrated when John Boehner resigned as Speaker of the House.

Do they realize WHY he resigned?

He resigned because he wanted to compromise with the Democrats to keep the government going, but the super-right-wing House Republicans didn’t want him to. Rather than budge an inch, they wanted their doctrinaire views to prevail so the government would shut down. That’s how dysfunctional they are.  But Boehner? He wanted to compromise. Yes, he actually wanted to govern.

He resigned because, in that circumstance, he couldn’t be effective.  So, I wasn’t celebrating with my fellow progressives.

Hey look, he’s not my cup of tea. BUT. Knowledgeable progressives knew that Boehner’s resignation did not bode well for Republican cooperation with the Democratic president. They realized that his resignation meant someone less open would be put in that position. Someone more extremist.

And poof! That happened. Here’s one story about it.

Yeah, let’s all celebrate the benefit to our progressive agenda. NOT.

Let’s not be so simplistic in our thinking. Instead, let us wake up and be realistic about what just happened. And about everything else going on today in our increasingly polarized world.

 Rush to judgment

Let us also talk about the “rush to judgment” that is fed by the content of most of the news media we consume.

The 5th and 14th amendments contain clauses that deal with something called due process as it relates to the administration of justice.  You remember justice, don’t you?

It’s the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.

Laws. That doesn’t mean we make up our minds that someone did or didn’t do something and want them punished outside of the law. Due process is…due them. Everyone. All of us. Yes, even YOU.

Due process protects every citizen from the arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the Government outside the sanction of law. It is a Constitutional right, not an opinion.

What, you think that you know if someone is guilty or not? Because you saw something on TV news? That’s delusional thinking. Hey, determining guilt or innocence is what courts are for, did you forget?

Some of my fellow liberals jumped for joy when the school resource officer in South Carolina was fired without due process. On the basis of a video televised over and over, they had already decided he had “brutalized” a student. They were judge and they were jury. The sentence, they felt, was fair.

Would they feel the same way if they had been deprived of due process?


That would be different.


Hello, how many of us are even paying attention to what it means to deprive someone, anyone, of due process? That our whole justice system would fall apart? Left, right, it’s all the same. We get due process. It is our right.

Suppose a right-wing militia decided to police according to their values. Because I’d bet dollars to donuts that’s more apt to happen than an organized bunch of my fellow progressive armed with, what, our superior attitudes? Our own righteousness?  Suppose that militia decided to deprive everyone who thought differently of due process. How would you like that?

Not much, I’ll bet.

Cushion ofRighteouenssI’m a little touchy on this subject because a) some of the smartest, most caring friends in my life are now or have retired as police officers. I know a little about their daily work lives  It’s a job most of my fellow progressives wouldn’t do for a million bucks.  And b) I’m also touchy because a fellow progressive I know felt my defense of due process for that officer was unconscionable. (Even though I clearly stated that I felt he should not have thrown that student across the room.)

Umm. No. It’s Constitutional.  And yes, it’s possible to be progressive and not rush to judgment.  Try it sometime.

The cushion of self-righteousness

I abhor the righteousness we see every day, as if there is only one light and it’s the one light we believe in.

Life is way more complicated than that, and people who don’t see that, well, are not even looking.

Intolerance doesn’t belong to one political side or another. It’s become our way of life.  I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to tar the right-wing with that brush. But, now I see it on the left, too.

It makes me more than nervous. It makes me a little sick.

As a society, we no longer even try to understand another point of view. We sit as judge and jury, fat and happy on our cushion of self-righteousness. Yes, that blue pillow above. So comfy!

So NOT comfortable.

So NOT comfortable.

When we delude ourselves that we know everything based on the limited and sensational news we get fed daily, we’re, well, delusional. It’s delusional thinking. When we think we know enough to decide that someone should get punished and we’re not a member of their jury? We’ve lost sight of the American Way. And the Constitution.

So, let’s get real.

I get that realism is hard as a rock. It’s not as comfortable.

But it’s where I sit.

There’s plenty of room left. Anyone want to join me?

32 comments on “Know anyone guilty of delusional thinking?
  1. Brava. Well said. You’ve held up a mirror we all should look into.

  2. I believe that most acts of intolerance are due to ignorance. Liberals who thought Boehner’s departure was cause for popping Champagne are not serious news junkies. They skim the surface without really listening. I suspect that only 10% of Americans, on both wings, actually read newspapers in depth (rather than Facebook rants) and follow weekly political programs such as Meet the Press. The rest? They’re too busy watching reality TV.

  3. Donna says:

    I rarely speak of my personal views because I dislike the rancor so much. I find that politics has now provided the new preferred prejudice. We seem to have a certain amount of intolerance that must surface somewhere, now it is ok to hate liberals or hate conservatives. And what I see on facebook qualitfies for hatred. I wonder when I read someones tirade if they remember when their party was in charge how they vilified the other guy? The irony is breathtaking. And it transcends all parties.

  4. Hi Carol! I heard a talk once that asked the question, “How open-minded are you about close-minded people?” and that continues to remind me to this day that if I go around blasting others for doing things without consider all the reasons then I’m just as close-minded as the people I blast for being “ignorant!” I do agree it is frustrating but staying conscious about anything is not easy–just VERY important! ~Kathy

    • I’m sitting here thinking about your comment and I believer it is way deeper than it might seem at first glance. Thanks for giving me something to think through….it’s the best of what happens on this site!

  5. First, as I’ve said, I like any post of yours which promises a rant. This was a good one.

    Recently seen on Facebook: “Republicans, I beg of you. Do not vote for Donald Trump.” Hard to believe, but I know republicans who are as unsettled by the idea of a President Trump as anyone.

    So, to the unhelpful politics pile , I’d like to add those people who paint everyone on one side or the other with the extreme brush. The truth is, most of us hover around the middle or at least can see the merit in arguments on both sides.

    • Yes. The thing is, we get impatient with “systems” when they don’t work our way and then we want to abandon them for everyone except our side. That’s my thought. Using the general “we” because I don’t think that of so many people who comment here.

  6. This is the most intelligent post I’ve read all month. I miss the days when we could read a newspaper and not be able to figure out which side of the political fence the writer played. I love a writer that paints an intelligent picture of both sides and lets the reader form an opinion for themselves. They are becoming extinct.
    It seems people are afraid that if they read or hear something from the ‘other’ side they are terrified they will be instantly brainwashed. I want to laugh but at the same time it all terrifies me.
    It seems even our college students are being taught to choose one side or the other on the opinion of others rather than doing the research and forming their own opinion.
    I fear we are raising followers and not leaders.

  7. From a fellow liberal progressive, excellent points. The day Boehner resigned was a bad day for the country, and now we have a right wing nut as Speaker. sigh.
    I live in the land of conservatives. I try to let it go over my head… that delusional?

  8. Mary says:

    I don’t ever comment publicly about politics. I get everything out in the voting booth, but I’m glad you were able to get your rant out.

  9. Kimba says:

    My Dad and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. When I was younger we fought about politics all the time. We would dig in our Irish heels and spew our ideologies ad nauseam. But, as we’ve gotten older, we realize if we just shut up and listen instead of talk over each other its amazing how often we usually agree. Maybe it’s just age and maturity. But how do you use age and maturity to fix our government?!

  10. Isn’t it great we live in a country where ranting is allowed? I don’t watch much news due to the extreme bias that exists in all aspects of the news media. And the way it raises my blood pressure! You raise important points Carol that we all need to examine.

  11. I couldn’t agree more! The news can be so biased—it’s easy to understand why so many people are easily swayed to one side or the other. But what makes me the craziest is when people try to convince me that THEY are right and refuse to even consider another opinion.

  12. Roz Warren says:

    Good post. I love reading about politics, but I find politics impossible to write about (Mary’s response makes a lot of sense to me.) I just vote, always, for the Democrat. Boehner seems like an honorable man who was thwarted at every turn by idiots. I really hope that whoever ends up being the Republican candidate for President is also an honorable person. (Who, I hope, will lose to Hillary.)

  13. I think that the most frightening thing about what’s going on now is the snap judgments on both sides of the political spectrum, and that the middle is getting smaller and smaller. The self righteous rush to judgement and finger pointing is dangerous, it keeps us separate.

  14. Colleen Aune says:

    You raise very good points, of which I too am probably guilty. I do what I can to inform myself, and concede ground when I’m caught not doing my homework, but nobody’s perfect. And in this day and age, it’s difficult to remain clear-headed in the face of so much hate.

  15. Interesting post. And I’m going to jump in and judge away! It didn’t take long for the friendly Wisconsinite to enact some rigid ideology. I hope that with experience and maturity, pragmatism is possible.

  16. Michelle says:

    Very well said! Go you!

  17. Jam Jar Gill says:

    What an informative and interesting post. Doing a Media Degree definitely opened my eyes to the fact that we can’t take anything we read or see as gospel. It’s so frustrating when people just all seem to get on the bandwagon too without thinking about the reality of what is going on. I feel your frustrations.

  18. Dana says:

    I personally like to read rants as they are the true voice of the author. I also know it helps to rant and “get it out” and in return enjoy reading the comments as well!

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