I think everyone, at some point, is emotionally involved in a campaign where the person running shows a side of himself/herself that we could not predict or accept, hence the title, “The Day the World Changed.”
Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton yesterday. While yesterday was not a world changing day for me, I know some very good people who are likely to be really struggling with that one. Their world probably feels like the earth has spun off of it’s axis. How do we now wrap our heads around the fact that he or she is not the person we thought?
I remember the day when I learned about the fallibility of Ronald Reagan. I learned that he may have had knowledge of drug sales to illegally raise money for weapons purchases for freedom fighters. Whether he knew or not, he should have.
Today, my interest in that moment is not for the details of the day. My interest is in how my hero, Ronald Reagan, could change when I was so sure he was the embodiment of all I believed in.
I’m very fond of Ted Cruz’s positions, as I understand them (notice now I use qualifiers). His ideas represents the ideals I hold dear. In today’s vernacular I would be called a ‘Reaganbot” or a “Cruzbot”. Not to worry; I don’t take it seriously.
I think the problem is that we all think everyone is just like us, so we start feeling we can relate to the persona these politicians create for our consumption. Of course we know this persona is not the actual person, but the repetitious exposure to this public persona on all forms of media, serve as conditioning. At first, we start to relate to the benevolent or empathetic side of the person. He or she believes in humankind, and cares! We start to project on the candidate the good person we wish to be.
Simultaneously, we project the parts of ourselves we hate and can’t accept in ourselves on our favored candidate’s opponent. Of course, since these phenomenon are largely or completely subconscious activities, nobody reading this will be convinced this describes them. I hate to tell you folks; we all do it.
A personal favorite, that I became aware of not long ago, was pointing out the intolerance of the left – who rose to popularity for preaching tolerance. It took me a short time to see that they were being intolerant of me, and considerably longer to see that I was being intolerant of their hypocrisy, which is hypocrisy! On and on we all go.
The part of this dance I find the most distressing is that these days, people are projecting their negative qualities on the supporters of their candidates political opponent. Really? Hey, let’s hate the haters! Objectivity is really hard work. Those who claim to possess it are the ones who generally have no idea what it looks like. I can’t remember ever meeting someone who wants anyone to suffer. Nevertheless, we all have a different prescription on how to fix suffering. Today I think I will support that scoundrel Bernie Sanders, said nobody, ever. We all come by our political opinions as honestly as the next person.
Earlier I wrote: “My interest is in how could he change when I was so sure he was the embodiment of all I believed in.” The answer is that he was never who I thought he was. He is the person he’s always been. I just completed the circle of his persona with my projections.
Like it or not, these psychological phenomena are part of the human condition. I’m going to try to remember that if you were a Bernie supporter, you are suffering through really bad feelings today. I personally know suffering. Look, already we have something in common. Maybe today will be the real day the world changes.