The Mind of James Donahue

Political Paranoia

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Suspecting Government Mischief A Form Of Mental Illness?


By James Donahue

January 2005


If web rumors are to be trusted, there is a new bill proposed by Senator Bill Frist that will define “political paranoia” as a mental disorder.


The bill would open doors to anyone suffering from this disorder to receive Medicare reimbursement for psychiatric treatment, according to Hermione Slatkin, a medical writer for the Swift Report.


Rick Smith, a spokesman for Senator Frisk’s office, explained the purpose of the bill. “If you’re still convinced that President Bush won the election because Republicans figured out a way to hack into electronic voting machines, you’ve obviously got a problem,” he is quoted as saying. “If we can figure out a way to ease your suffering by getting you into therapy and onto medication, that’s something that we hope the entire 109th Congress will support.”


I have news. I wasn’t as paranoid before hearing this story as I am now.


There is no worse stigma on a person in this society than being declared mentally insane. And apparently the Republican Congress is interested in threatening all Bush dissenters (and I believe there are many) with this very label.


What fool would dare to turn him or herself in to authorities, or even their personal physician, as a Bush dissenter so as to be found suffering from political paranoia? The remedy might be a Medicare-paid treatment of a lifetime supply of Paxil, a prescription drug for the treatment of anxiety and depression.


And if popping a daily dose of artificial rose colored glasses doesn’t remove your skepticism about the greatness of George W. Bush, then there is always a government-paid admission to a treatment center. It is said that FEMA has been busy building a number of enclosed facilities around the country that look a lot like prison or political detention camps. Might they also be used for “preventative detention?”


One writer has suggested that once it is determined that enough people are suffering from political paranoia, the government might take the next step and declare these people a threat to national security.


This would be license for the courts to send a lot of Americans off to fill those FEMA camps, if for no other reason than to get them locked up. No treatment needed then.


If you think I am spouting off about something that probably isn’t a threat to individual freedom consider this: The characterization of political dissent as a form of mental illness has long been the hallmark of authoritarian governments. The Chinese call it “political lunacy.” In Soviet Russia anybody speaking out against the government ended up in mental hospitals.


Scared yet? Well, here is something else to chew over.


Remember the Bush New Freedom Initiative? A special commission assigned by the president determined that mental disorders often go undiagnosed in America and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for everybody.


It was tossed out as a trial balloon about a year or two ago and didn’t get any support. A lot of us wrote exposure stories about the idea and nothing more came of it.




Is something more coming? Does all of this stuff fit together in some strange way? Am I politically paranoid?


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