TCS Daily

Call Me Paranoid

By Marcus J. Goldman - May 18, 2004 12:00 AM

As a psychiatrist, I have developed a knack for sniffing out paranoia in others. Lately, however, the psychosis seems to be emanating from me. While politics and personal mental illness do make strange bedfellows, election season events prove that there are no limitations to the nature and course of the human condition. I confess my paranoid concerns, so that I might rid myself of these demons. There are five specific points of political paranoia that keep me up at night.

1) People are coming to kill me: What a tough delusion to resist! I have spent years listening to individuals tortured by such distressing thoughts. But now I have them. The accumulation of events like the first World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, the slaughter of Daniel Pearl, the beheading of Nick Berg, the mutilation of innocents in Iraq and a bunch of bombings in Europe, Africa and the Middle East as well as assorted videotaped threats are making it worse. The governments color coded warning system almost has me convinced that I am right. But, aside from the efforts of a few resolute world leaders, there seems so be no universally accepted cure for my delusions.

2) The economy is strengthening: What a lie! I have it on good authority that the economy is tanking and bread lines are forming. This is bad for the war effort. I rely on the comments of recent college graduates for my information -- many have noted a weak economy and poor job market. John Kerry and his friends also opine that the economy is in irreparable ruins. Sure, there are those noting that after a recession, 9/11 and two wars, a recovering economy is miraculous -- but they are misinformed. Media reports have me convinced that job growth surge, a recovering stock market, lower unemployment and low inflation are lies from an administration bent on power. I am heading for a bread line.

3) Weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq: What a conspiracy! We have not located any poisons, bombs or biological weapons. Do not be deceived by anyone who tells you that Saddam was a weapon of destruction. Do not fall for the line that the terrorists currently butchering innocents in Iraq, mutilating Americans and executing Jews constitute weapons of mass destruction. I mean, how many people can a couple dozen handfuls of Islamic fascist suicide bombers take out -- 2, 5, 10, 200, 3000?

4) Iran will soon develop a nuclear weapon: I have a delusion that when Fascist Iran finishes its bomb, it will be used to threaten our fronts on the terror war-Iraq, Israel and Afghanistan. But if the United Nations assures us that everything is okay, I guess they should be believed. After all, the U.N. has supported global democracy, equality and fairness. Do not let anyone remind you of its inaction in Rwanda, the lopsided votes on Israel and rabid anti-Semitism, condemnation of Israel's destruction of Iraq's nuclear facility in 1982, accusations of profane financial impropriety, the fascist composition of member states, America hating and a former Nazi secretary general. I suppose the world will condemn Israel when it eventually takes out Iran's facility. Reality aside, this well-intentioned major oil exporting nation probably wants to generate peaceful nuclear energy to give its oil workers some rest and relaxation.

5) The world is not a safer place and it is not George Bush's fault: Nonsense! I am convinced that the world's fragility is entirely the president's fault-even before he was president. He knew about the attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the Khobar Towers, the first World Trade Center attack and the African Embassy bombings -- it was in all the papers! Yet as the owner of a baseball team and as Governor, he chose to do nothing. I know it sounds crazy but I am certain that George Bush was in this country back in the 1980's when Islamic terrorists began their 30 year plan to take over the world. Call me paranoid.

That there is a metaphoric psychosis sweeping this nation, however, cannot be disputed. Predicated on misguided hatred, logic and common sense have been replaced by the self-destructive emotions-driven misperception so commonly found in the reality impaired. It is time to give much maligned reality a try. These past 20+ years of terror cannot be reduced to the equivalent of a passive psychotherapy session with its time consuming resistance, uncertainties and equivocations. In our geopolitical world, there is a firm distinction between good and bad, right and wrong. Our killers have nothing but pity for our perceived weakness and division....or do they? This truly is the season of perpetual paranoia.

Marcus J. Goldman, MD, is a psychiatrist and author of "The Joy of Fatherhood."


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