The Shock of BarackBy Robin of Berkeley
I've been feeling funky since Black Sunday, the day of the health care debacle. As a therapist, I'm usually able to identity my feelings. But this one had left me stumped.April 01, 2010
I went through the usual laundry list of emotions: Am I depressed? (A little, but that's not it.) Worried, scared? (Yes, but who isn't?) Angry? (Very, but that's still not what's bugging me.)
It took a conversation with a conservative friend, Nancy, for me to pinpoint the feeling. Nancy told me that a Jewish co-worker, a staunch Obama supporter, was feeling "shell-shocked" by Obama's vilifying Israel.
Bingo. That's what it is: stunned, shell-shocked, traumatized.
But it's not PTSD -- post-traumatic stress disorder -- because then Obama would be ancient history. It's trauma happening right here, right now, at lightning speed.
Trauma means witnessing something that humans are not designed to see, a horror that is more than the self can absorb. The brutality of war, a gruesome crime scene, the sudden death of a loved one. Or the evil that unfolds through unchecked power yielded by megalomaniacs.
For me, trauma was that cloudless November day, years ago, when I exited an Oakland restaurant at noon and soon thereafter, lay prone on the concrete, bloody and broken.
Just moments before, I had looked into the eyes of a man who didn't know that I was human, or who knew but didn't care. I saw something sinister in him, but I ignored my gut. I was still steeped in liberal political correctness and didn't want to appear racially insensitive.
When I see what Obama is doing to this country, how he is treating its citizens, I'm reminded of the man who mugged me. I think that both are constitutionally incapable of seeing our humanity. And each day that Obama is in office, he communicates this same deadly message to the masses -- that opponents are not human.
This would explain the burgeoning of hate and even violence towards those who deign to disagree. And why Tea Party members and conservatives are being targeted, as well as entire countries like Israel.
And this would illuminate why Obama is unfazed while the economy crashes. And why he cavalierly demonizes Israel, putting millions of Israelis at risk. And it explains why Obama mocks conservatives who are legitimately worried about this administration's violating fundamental rights.
But how could Obama see us? Did anyone in his childhood ever see him?
Did little Barry's needs factor into his mother's decision to shlep him to Indonesia to live with her and her alcoholic second husband? And how much maternal love was on display when she dragged him back home to Hawaii and then abandoned him for good?
Did Obama's humanity matter to Grandpa Stanley and Frank Marshall Davis when they sat around drinking, talking trash talk about women, and telling dirty jokes to the discomfited little Barry?
What was Stanley thinking, giving Barry over to Davis, an alleged pedophile and Communist, for mentoring? And did Davis do the most unspeakable act of violation and dehumanization to Barry, as the teenage Obama hints at in the poem, "Pop"?
Pop takes another shot, neat,Points out the same amberStain on his shorts that I've got on mine, andMakes me smell his smell, comingFrom me; he switches channels, recites an old poem. . .Asks for a hug, as I shrink. . .
For someone to survive a difficult childhood intact, he needs at least one person to see his humanity. It's best if the person is a close relative, but a child can endure with the help of someone else. An attentive coach, counselor, neighbor, or teacher can work wonders.
Who mirrored Obama's humanity back to him? Who looked into the young Barry's eyes and reflected back the man he was meant to be? Who honored and cherished the human being inside?
I'll tell you who -- no one. His family groomed him and sculpted him. They projected onto him who they wanted him to be. In later years, other egotistical father figures, like Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers, scripted his Messiah-like role.
But was there someone who loved and honored Obama for who he was? No.
And that's why Obama cannot see you or me. He cannot respond to the pain and suffering he is inflicting. He may, in fact, derive satisfaction by the act of revenge.
Years ago, I came face to face with a man who also didn't know that I existed. He had no qualms about injuring me and leaving me lying wounded in the middle of the street.
I wasn't a person to him. I was nothing. This is where all evil begins: the dehumanizing of another.
From what I have seen this last year, Obama shows no ability to walk in another person's shoes. This would require empathy and sensitivity, traits that are nowhere to be found.
Frankly, every time I see Obama, I catch a glimpse of the man who mugged me.
And that, to me, is the true danger and horror and shock of Barack.
A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a recovering liberal and a psychotherapist in Berkeley.
The Scandal Driving the Church Sex ScandalBy Selwyn Duke
We've all heard the story. Hundreds of young sexual abuse victims long afraid to come forward for fear of embarrassment and scorn, abusers escaping prosecution and quietly moving to different jurisdictions, authorities covering up the crimes to avoid scandal and litigation. It's a saga of grave, grave sin.
Of course, you would assume that I'm talking about the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal.
And you would be wrong.
I'm describing the situation in America's schools -- something that, although mirroring the problems dogging the Church, is strangely ignored.
Let's examine the similarities using statistics from the United States. According to the John Jay Report, 10,667 people made allegations of child sexual abuse (not all were substantiated) committed by priests between 1950 and 2002; according to an AP investigation, at least 1,801 educators committed sexual misconduct involving minors between 2001 and 2005. So the per annum tally is:
Number of people making allegations against priests - 205
Criminal educators - 360
Now, since it's logical to assume that numerous individuals made accusations against the same priests, the number of clerical transgressors is no doubt less than 205. Yet even if we use the 205 figure, the number of offenders appears to be approximately 76 percent greater among educators. But that doesn't even begin to tell the whole story.
While it's obvious that a certain percentage of cases must have gone unreported in both education and the Church, the latter has been subjected to intense media scrutiny while the former has remained off the radar screen. Thus, it's reasonable to assume that the percentage is higher in education. As to this, the AP tells us about a Congress-mandated study placing the number of students sexually abused by an education worker at some point between kindergarten and 12th grade at 4.5 million. Furthermore, the AP found that most of this sexual abuse is never reported and that even when it does come to light, often no action is taken.
Of course, the other side of the coin is that the number of teachers nationwide is greater than that of priests, so a raw-numbers analysis may be deceptive. So let's examine the rate. Wapedia reports the following: "A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse by Dr. Thomas Plante of Stanford University and Santa Clara University states that 'available research suggests that approximately 2 to 5% of priests have had a sexual experience with a minor' which ‘is lower than the general adult male population that is best estimated to be closer to 8%.'" Now let's look within the numbers, at the nature of the abuse and abusers. While we hear a lot of media reports about sultry female teachers seducing young teenage boys, the reality is that almost nine out of ten school offenders are male.It's also true that in the cases of both the Church and the schools, the abuse is, by definition, not pedophilia, as the abused were mainly adolescents, not children.
Here critics may point out that there is a difference: The abuse among priests is mainly homosexual in nature. This is true, but I can't imagine that it would bother the secular left very much. After all, this is the set that for years has maintained that there is a moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual behavior and that saying otherwise is bigotry. Unless they're now changing their tune...
Another similarity is the cover-up by school officials, who, as stated earlier, were motivated by the same priorities as the most remiss bishop: a desire to avoid embarrassment, scandal, and punitive court judgments. As an example, the AP presents the story of Gary Lindsey, an Iowa teacher who was fired from his first job for sexual misconduct but then allowed to work elsewhere for about thirty more years. During these decades, Lindsey transgressed against other students, dodging the hangman every time with the complicity of school administration. And his is no isolated case. In fact, the practice of transferring sexual predators is so common that it has become known as "passing the trash," and the abusers have been dubbed "mobile molesters."
Despite this, we currently have trash being passed daily -- it's called media reportage. Why don't we hear stories about people who believe that the schools should be defunded, or that parents should stop sending their children to them (similar things are said about the Church)? Why has the Vatican been placed in the unenviable position of having to defend itself with the "Look, others have the same problems" argument? Why does Rome have to take up the cudgels for itself and point out that its woes just reflect the wider society? It's because the media aren't doing their job.
...That is, at least, what their job should be. What some within the mainstream media see it as being -- to attack traditionalist institutions -- they're doing very well.
The Church receives such disproportionate scrutiny for the same reason why the media will happily smear Pope Pius XII as a Nazi sympathizer when he was possibly WWII's greatest hero and why they paint the Crusades as imperialistic wars when they were but a defense against Muslim aggression: The media views the Church as an enemy. They despise its teachings on abortion, the all-male priesthood, and, in particular, sexuality. You see, if the schools taught such things, then they too would surely be in the crosshairs. But their embrace of all the left's favorite isms grants them great immunity.
Now, this might be where I'm supposed to issue the obligatory statement about how we're all appalled by the sex crimes in question.
But it's not really true.
And what comes to mind is late Massachusetts congressman Gerry Studds. In 1983, it was revealed that he had had sexual relations with a 17-year-old male page, which, as ephebophilia (attraction to older adolescents), is precisely that of which many transgressing priests are guilty. And what was his punishment?
The liberals in his district reelected him six more times until his retirement in 1996.
By the way, some may point out that Studds' behavior was legal, as the age of consent in Washington, D.C. was 16. Of these people, I would ask: Are you equally charitable with priests who had "legal" relationships with teenage boys?
Then there is serial sex criminal Alfred Kinsey, the bug researcher-cum-human sexuality "expert" who ran a pedophile ring disguised as a research team. If you read the piece I wrote about him (and trust me, this one is worth the time), you'll find that his research included things such as encouraging pedophiles to continue committing crimes so that he could collect more "data." Yet there has never been a hue and cry for a pound of flesh from the Kinsey Institute; the University of Indiana in Bloomington, where the deviant plied his trade; or Paul Gebhard, a still-living Kinsey co-author and partner in crime. On the contrary, the left not only defends Kinsey, but it even lauded him in a whitewashed 2004 film.
So do the Church's critics really care about sexual abuse? Some do, for sure. But there's no doubt that many of those using the issue to attack the Church do not. And "using" is the key word. If they truly cared about sexual abuse of youth, they would take pains to emphasize that it isn't limited to the priesthood. Oh, I'm not saying that they would necessarily do this to defend the Church; they would do it to truly expose the problem. Instead, they're simply interested in exposing the Church to ridicule, and to this end, they use these abuse victims as a convenient vehicle through which to attack a hated adversary. This is typical of the left, which makes a practice of using people as human shields, props, and political hammers.
Of course, crimes against innocence are abhorrent, and those committing them should be rooted out wherever and whoever they may be. Likewise, those who knowingly and negligently facilitate their abuse must be punished harshly, and the incompetent should lose their positions. But this just states the obvious. If we really want to move toward a more sexually sane society -- get at the root causes, as it were -- then we must delve more deeply.
We can argue about facts and figures. We can debate whether sexual trespass is worse in schools or in churches, and many will, no doubt, try to make the case that the secular world is a safer place. But of this there is no doubt: The social phenomena making us a more libertine and morally unmoored civilization are the handiwork of the left.
It was not the Church that sexualized society with Kinseyesque sex miseducation and prurient messages everywhere -- in movies, shows, music and on the Internet. That was leftist academia, Hollywood, and their brothers in porn. It was not the Church that expanded the First Amendment to include protection of obscene imagery. That was leftist judges. It was not the Church that spread moral relativism and its corollary, "If it feels good, do it," an idea that can find pedophilia no worse than peanut butter. That was leftist philosophers and the millions who wanted freedom to sin. It was not the Church that, reducing man to mere beast, found a basis for his behavior in the animal kingdom. That was leftist anthropologists and their acolytes. And it was not the Church that first subordinated punishment to "rehabilitation" and subscribed to slap-on-the-wrist pseudo-justice. That was leftist psychology. Of course, insofar as the Church has allowed itself to become infected with the spirit of the age, it is culpable. But know that it is the infected, not the infection.As for the cure, the Church has done much in recent times to root out sexual abuse -- far more than the schools. Even closer to the point, its teachings provide necessary guide rails for man's sexuality. Yet critics call this age-old wisdom "antiquated." The left obviously prefers to take its lead from the Kinsey Distorts, Hugh Hefner, and Hollywood. But if the pleasure principle is going to be our master, then we shouldn't wonder why we're taking our children on a field trip through Caligula's court.