Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Fathers Figure

A few months ago, I posted an observation by Gerald Nunberg that Republicans tend to be "father-oriented" disciplinarians: children are inherently bad and need to be molded into good citizens, while Democrats tended to be more matriarchal, more trusting of their children as basically decent people who need guidance.

I'm sad to say that this theory was tested severely this weekend at Chateau Actor212, and I found myself leaning a little towards the authoritarian, but my personal problems have never really been a focus of this blog. What I have used as a guiding principle in my life as a dad is that my father, who although an avowed socialist, nevertheless is a dominant authoritarian figure. Or was, until he landed in the nursing home.

So there's was a certain karmic energy to scanning the news this morning, when I came across this piece:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Physically abused and neglected children are much more likely to grow into severely depressed adults, a finding that researchers said on Monday points to an urgent need to test abused children for depression early on.

Physically abused children have a 59 percent increased risk of lifetime major depression compared with similar children who were not abused, said the study in this month's issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Earlier studies had linked childhood abuse with serious depression but researchers said this study is the first to show that depression is a consequence of the abuse.
Having spent more money on therapy than I care to admit, it's nice to see that I had a lot of help mucking my life up. I had always looked to my upbringing, such as it was, as a strength: I learned to be independent, to be self-contained and not needing of anyone else's help. Yes, it hurt, but I learned to stand on my own two feet.

So reading this, I realise that....well...it wasn't as good as I pretend it was. And I suspect that there are an awful lot of Republican men about whom this applies. Look at the offender behavior we've seen just from the losers in the last election: mocking people for their racial characteristics, indulging in sexual abuse of children, having affairs in their marriages AND trying to kill their mistresses, making blanket construct statements of absolute power and authority over facts they cannot control.

These people, men mostly, sound awful depressed. The masquerade of being "in charge" is there, but it's a sham, a front for all kinds of fear and paranoia, and these people are too ashamed to admit a problem and seek the help they need.

Can you imagine the damage Rick Santorum did to his kids by making them hold the dead fetus of their unborn brother, dead of a miscarriage? Now, take it a step further: how badly beaten was this kid that he would gloat over the death of a weaker being?

You heard me: "gloat", because that's precisely what he did when he paraded a dead body around his family like a trophy. I suspect it's still sitting on the mantle like a moosehead.

To be gracious in defeat or victory is one thing, but now that the dust is settling and a new Congress is poised to take over, let's take a minute and recall that most of them suffered horrendous abuses at the hands of their parents and guardians, and give a kind, sympathetic thought to them.

Then mash them into the ground, politically. :-)