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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Shoot the Messenger (and Grab Me a Beer)

Seems nobody wanted to be the first to tell Preznit See-No-Evil the truth about Katrina. According to Newsweek:
Bad news rarely flows up in bureaucracies. For most of those first few days, Bush was hearing what a good job the Feds were doing. Bush likes "metrics," numbers to measure performance, so the bureaucrats gave him reassuring statistics. At a press availability on Wednesday, Bush duly rattled them off: there were 400 trucks transporting 5.4 million meals and 13.4 million liters of water along with 3.4 million pounds of ice. Yet it was obvious to anyone watching TV that New Orleans had turned into a Third World hellhole.
There are many reasons why people in power live in denial and create dream worlds for themselves. But the personality characteristics George Bush is evincing are typical of people with untreated alcoholism, or as we in the club call it, being a "dry drunk."

In the parlance of alcoholism, a "dry drunk" is someone who "white knuckles" it, or stops drinking on their own but does not get any kind of treatment or participate in any type of program that will repair the damage from those "wild days in N'Owleans." It has all the wisdom of treating yourself for cancer. Going "cold turkey" may work well for people who are simply heavy partiers and are not actually alcoholics or drug addicts, and there are many such people.

But for many reasons, I don't happen to think George Bush is one of them.

Dry drunks are choking on rage, usually barely able to constrain it, and given to flashes of incredible temper -- as George Bush reputedly is. One of those reasons may be purely physical, in that people who abuse drugs and alcohol for long periods of time usually thrash their livers, which Chinese medicine believes to be the seat of anger.

But the other, more pervasive problem is a tendency to take things extremely personally and always interpret negative news as a personal attack. Alcoholics and drug addicts seem to stop growing emotionally when they begin heavy substance abuse. Instead of living through tough emotional situations and growing as a result of them, addicts go "around" them, afraid of their own feelings, attempting to manipulate and control them with chemicals. Although the intellect may continue to grow, the emotions do not.

Thus, conventional wisdom has it that when someone gets sober, they are dealing with the emotional maturity of someone the age they were when they started drinking and using, which in Texas in the 50s probably happened no later than Bush's teenage years. But emotional growth only commences when the alcoholic begins to take responsibility for his or her actions and seeks treatment, and there is no indication George Bush has ever done either.

Otherwise, they are just consumed with a storm of emotions they have neither the life training to process nor the tools to develop such, and on top of it all they can no longer medicate themselves into passivity. They will attempt to control "reality" in much the same way they attempted to control their feelings, with an urge to dominate and manipulate in order to shut out the ugly noise of life.

In other words, at this critical juncture in history, we're probably dealing with a really fucked-up fourteen year-old in the White House.