Why Is American Politics So Dysfunctional?

Ever notice how dysfunctional the American political family is? Democrat and Republican, Mom and Pop, they fight without knowing their real goals.
Ever wonder why history repeats itself, even though there are easily enough historians to recount it? Ever wonder why you can’t defeat an enemy you can’t see?

That’s it, you know. They can’t defeat the enemy they cannot see, a phrase of Sigmund Freud, so they just, well, fight over what they can see.

Over a hundred years ago, creative medical genius Sigmund Freud elaborated on creative philosopher  Georg Hegel’s assertion that there was an unconscious subfunciton of our minds, called the unconscious. Memories, drives, thoughts, and other mental stuff was “contained” in it – and we were unaware of it. Each of us functions this way. There are aspects of ourselves we have no conscious awareness of.

That would not be so relevant, except these unconscious “things” we are unaware of have great influence over us. In fact, they have more than they would if we were aware of them – for then we could defeat them.

So, how does this relate to the dysfunctional American political family? Well, for one, they don’t fight over helping the victims, the little guys, vs not helping them. No, they fight over helping the little guys vs it’s costing too much.

But isn’t that a well-worn theme in family life? The traditional wife, caught in the nest with “in the nest” values, wants all the children to get the best. The husband, caught with “outside the nest” responsibilities and values, says, “Honey, that costs too much!”

It’s not liberal vs conservative, and it’s certainly not Democrat vs Republican, though it seems like that on the surface. So, what is it? It is the dynamic we are unaware of that keeps us from resolving the issues. Not surprising, because how can we resolve issues we are unaware of? How are we able to defeat an enemy we cannot see? How are we to avoid repeating history, if we do not see what the unconscious story was?

No, it is the issue of “in the nest” values vs “outside the nest” values that is going on.

This occurs when societies provide enough food and other resources, so that outside the nest activity is not that important. Hubby then can stay home with the kids, wife depends less on the hubby, and her values rise. Let’s give the kids more, because we have more. Let’s help the little guy, the victim, the uninsured, because we have enough to go around. However, hubby is not all that secure with his ability to keep bringing in the food and resources. He gets nervous when too much is spent, and not enough saved, for it is he – traditionally – who has to provide.

That’s what they are fighting over, folks. And until they get it, they’ll keep fighting – just like dysfunctional couples who cannot resolve their differences, because they are unaware of them.

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