Several years ago I found myself in a very unpleasant relationship with someone who I had thought of as a friend. Unfortunately, she began to use things I had told her in confidence against me and to do something that I found astounding at the time but have subsequently seen that it is not so unusual. She would do all sorts of mean things to me - send very angry, mean emails, try to publicly humiliate me, etc., and then she would turn around and accuse me of doing that exact thing to her. I guess I have been lucky that it took me nearly forty years to encounter someone like that but it was quite a learning experience for me.
I am thinking about that relationship after watching last night's debate. When John McCain self righteously tried to extract an apology from Barak Obama for the terrible slurs that his supporters have been saying about him, I had visions of my "friend". Even as he was spewing more of the same garbage about "paling around with terrorists" he was demanding a repudiation of something one - ONE - Obama supporter said. Same goes for the way some die-hards are managing to blame the Democrats for the financial mess. What? You didn't know that it was all their fault despite being the minority party for eight years? Where have you been? The Republicans are the victims, not the perpetrators. Isn't it obvious?
When I think of those confusing days of trying to understand what was happening with a friendship-gone-sour, I have worked hard to see how this person's unhappiness was the real cause of her sudden and vicious turnabout towards me. Someone that unhappy deserves better than petty anger, although at the time, I had plenty of petty anger to go around. But what about when it is a group movement? A group neurosis?
Over to you on this one.