Saturday, August 05, 2006

National Dysfunctionality

Most Americans, I suspect, have some experience with family dysfunctionality. Dysfunctionality is just a fancy way of saying that things are not working the way they are supposed to be working.

Dysfunctional families generally have one or more members who suffer from some kind of addiction, and their struggle spills over and touches the lives of other family members. In the spotlight recently we learned of Mel Gibson's alcoholism and his despicable behavior when pulled over by police. Gibson is a family man, and although we have not heard much from the rest of his family, we can be certain that they, too, are suffering.

Alcoholism, though perhaps the most well-known among addictions, is certainly not the only malady inflicted upon families. There are a myriad of things any of us are susceptible to being addicted to. Among them are drugs, sex, television, gambling, and food. These are probably the most well known addictions in America, but certainly not the only ones.

Daytime television has brought the idea of addiction to the forefront of America's collective psyche. Programs like Oprah, Montel, Dr. Phil, and even Jerry Springer have been publicly exploring this theme for at least two decades. Via television, we are brought into family circles and are able to see how one person's addiction affects the others.

There are two words used by psychologists and other medical professionals which best describe the dynamics of family dsysfunctionality. The first word is "co-dependency." Co-dependency occurs when a person becomes psychologically dependent in an unhealthy way on someone who is addicted to alcohol, or drugs, or some other self-destructive behavior.

The most basic example of co-dependency would be a wife whose husband is addicted to alcohol and who tolerates his bad behavior out of fear of being alone or being without someone to take care of her. The woman is faced with a choice. She can stay with her husband and absorb his alcoholic abuse and its effects, or she can leave, forcing herself to stand on her own. In this classic scenario, women often feel that the second option is too frightening. Her fears of loneliness, and of having to provide her own financial support, seem more dreadful than living with her husband's alcoholism and its attendant behaviors.

In this case, if the woman chooses to remain with her husband, she becomes what psychologists and other medical professionals call "the enabler." The woman's ongoing co-dependent relationship with her husband, and her fear of confrontation with him over his alcoholism, place her in a role where she actually "enables" him in his addiction. As long as she puts up with him, covers up for him, puts on a public front, he is "enabled" to continue.

I propose to you that in addition to the millions of American families affected on a very personal level with some sort of dysfunction, our nation, too, is dysfunctional on a very large scale between a variety of different groups.

Let us look at politicians. In the past fifteen or twenty years, we have seen very clearly the dark underbelly of politics. As election time nears, Republicans are accused of pandering to the conservative evangelicals to win their votes in November. Likewise, Democrats are accused of pandering to their far-left constituents in the same way. These are actually more than accusations, they are a sad fact of politics—say and/or do whatever it takes to get re-elected.

Politicians are addicted to power. Their power comes from their position, and their position can only be maintained if they continue to get the votes of their constituents.

But it does not stop there. Constituents can likewise become "co-dependent" upon their politicians because their politicians do things for them. The clearest example is what has come to be known as "pork barrel" politics. "Pork barrel" politics describes government spending for the sole purpose of benefitting a group of constituents in return for their votes or campaign contributions, or both. The "co-dependency" occurs because the constituents become dependent upon the "goodies" regularly delivered by their politicians. By becoming dependent, and failing to reject their politician's wrongly motivated largesse, the constituents become the "enabler," allowing the politician to continue in his behavior, unhealthy as it might be for the country at large.

This is how our national debt grew to become so large. Click here to see how deeply our power-hungry politicians have taken our nation into debt.

There are a myriad of ways the "co-dependent" and "enabler" tags can be applied in national politics and governance. If you will apply the same principles described above to just about any relationship in government and politics, you will see the same patterns. In fact, Americans have become so dependent upon the government that we essentially take for granted now that the government's job is to care for us from "cradle to grave." Every time we vote for a politician solely because he/she did something that personally benefits us or our group, we are in the role of the "enabler," and are reinforcing the politician's unhealthy addiction to power.

I would like to close with a look at illegal immigration, and the odd, unhealthy relationships which our leaders have allowed, and their reasons for it. I will have to over-simplify and generalize to make my position as clear as I can. Please take that into account as you read on to the close.

Illegal aliens steal across our border primarily because they want to better their lives. They come here because we have been and remain, as Abraham Lincoln said, "the last best hope" of earth, not withstanding Jesus Christ, of course. People are not abandoning their homes and fleeing to Thailand or Uzbekistan. They are coming to America. Ever since the earliest days of our existence, America has been the most desirable place to live in the world.

Illegals take the risk of coming here because they can find work. Employers hire illegals because they can pay them very low wages. Politicians turn their heads because businesses pay taxes. Politicians also hope that if they "wink" at illegal immigration, the day will come when these illegals are made voting citizens.

Meanwhile, laws are being broken, fundamental American principles are being violated, and just about everyone is looking out for themselves first. The future of the country and the culture be damned.

We have sadly become an extremely dysfunctional nation. People (and I'm generalizing here) no longer do what is best for the country, but what furthers their wants and needs.

If this "co-dependent" behavior on a national scale is not halted, our destruction is certain. If we continue to "enable" our leaders in their self-serving, power-grabbing ways, the America that we have known and loved will be gone within a couple of generations.

Let us face our fears, be brave and bold, and do what so many have done in their own families. Let us stand up and put an end to our leaders' addiction to power. Let's vote the bums out this fall, put in men and women who have the courage and the backbone to do what is right, and set this nation back on its course.


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