AKA The Militant Moderate
Once termed the Manic-Depressive psychosis, the popular term for the wild swings of mood is now Bi-polar Disorder. Those of us who have been closely associated with politics because of our careers in public service know the syndrome. Also familiar with the feelings of up and down are those public spirited citizens who actively involve themselves in public issues as a part of the functioning of a great democracy. All those who are interested enough to follow candidates and political events in the news are also afflicted to some degree.
The feelings of high and low have been described as the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat, and these occur regularly in the political arena. Following the recent Massachusetts election, the moods of people in large segments of the nation’s population have been gleeful excitement or momentary despair. So it is for all those who invest of themselves in our democratic processes.
Of course, there has been an avalanche of criticisms and blame pointing following the loss in Massachusetts. Probably some of it has some measure of validity. Likewise, there has been considerable credit-claiming for the republican win. Again, perhaps some of that has some merit. Certainly, republicans have been jubilant and democrats despondent. This is revealing of an unfortunate bi-polar chasm dividing our country. The depth and the width of that divide are unhealthy, as is the intensity of feelings on both sides.
Blame and credit may appear to be two opposites, each excluding the other. That is, if certain persons, trends, or happenings are really granted full credit for winning a contest or an election, then there is little room for blame in accounting for the result. Conversely, if there is a high level of blame to be placed or shared, then there is little room for credit on the opposite side. Taking these positions, the republicans, and the candidate himself, are taking entirely too much credit for their Massachusetts win. Likewise too much blame is being placed upon the democrat candidate, her party, etc.