Avoiding the Clutches of Obama Derangement Syndrome
Advice for critics of the president-elect when they feel themselves sliding towards irrational rage.
November 9, 2008 - 12:00 am
First some definitions. When we talk about ODS, or Obama Derangement Syndrome, we are obviously referencing its precursor, BDS — Bush Derangement Syndrome.
Neither phenomenon consists of mere dislike of the policies of the person in question. That’s allowed. One can even distrust the person or think he is lying, if there is evidence for it.
That’s the important part: evidence from behavior in the present. Although we are all emotionally driven in our lives — and there’s nothing wrong with that; who would want to be surrounded by Star Trekian Spocks? — at certain times and places there’s a need to put emotions on the back burner and attempt to evaluate things in the cold harsh light of reason.
Yes, there are reasons to fear that Obama has a far left agenda, based on his history, some of his own statements, and his associations. There are even reasons to believe that whether he does or doesn’t have such an agenda himself, he will lack the inclination (or perhaps the backbone) to stop the far left agenda of those with the power to pass bills — in other words, the hugely Democratic Congress and its leaders Reid and Pelosi.
But I suggest that everyone stand back, take a deep breath, and wait. Wait, and observe. It will become clear enough as Obama chooses a Cabinet and advisers. And then it will become even more clear as he takes office and begins the work of government. More clarity will come as he handles the inevitable crises and tests that will occur on his watch.
The goal of each of us should be to react only to evidence, not fear. That’s not easy. But our task is actually easier than that of our predecessors, the sufferers from BDS. After all, they had an MSM whipping them up into a frenzy twenty-four hours a day. In addition, those on the right have always taken pride in the fact that in their political decisions they are driven more by reason, in contrast to the left’s emotion. Whether or not this is true is not the issue here; the point is that, if conservatives believe it is true, they should act in accordance.
To act in accordance means to act as I wrote recently:
It is necessary both for the sake of the country and our own well-being to give the man a chance to prove those fears wrong. And it is also necessary to hope that he will do so, and to believe that whatever happens, our Constitution and our form of government is not as fragile as all that.
This does not mean that the right should fall asleep at the switch. On the contrary; watchful waiting is the order of the day. The right is correct to start organizing and regrouping and doing a postmortem on what went wrong during this election and during the Bush administration, to avoid future repeats and to emerge stronger. But it only weakens that effort when people fall prey to fears (even seemingly rational ones) and projections.