Recently I wrote a post about Jay Nordlinger, in which I referred to this right-wing columnist as a jackanapes. On further reflection, however, I think I have incorrectly categorized those who speak of Bush as a “Mt. Rushmore-level” president: rather than being malevolent assholes or stupid goofballs, these people are mentally ill, just like someone suffering from OCD or BPD. In fact, a proper name for their severe sickness is Advanced Bush Support Disorder, or ABSD.
I regret to report that my mother is one of them, a woman who has long suffered from Republicanism, a disease that, while severe in its own right, is nevertheless not so virulent as ABSD. I love my mother, and it hurts to see her in this infirm state.
Regarding Bush she says, “I think he’s a good man, a good, honest man,” revealing the key perceptual defect that characterizes the sickness. I point out that we had no reason to attack Iraq, which military adventure is now officially a fiasco. Mother replies in a sad, knowing tone: “We were attacked, Joey.” When I state the fact that no WMD’s were ever found, mother says, after briefly struggling for an answer, “Oh, you don’t think that Sadaam had weapons? He was horrible, a vicious dictator!” Such answers suggest that the etiology of the disease is contamination of the brain cells with Republican talking points.
ABSD sufferers are dangerously and irrationally loyal to Bush and his henchmen. They don’t just drink the Kool-Aid, they inject it. My sister is also a sufferer. When asked how she can support a man who manifests no positive characteristics whatsoever, she responds blandly: “I just think he’s doing a really good job.” Some ABSD sufferers, like Nordlinger, present with a kind of manic euphoria; others, like my sister, do not. Why the latter type–the person who seems to derive no pleasure from the robotic jerking and chattering that symbolizes support–goes through the motions is one of the chief unsolved mysteries of the disease.
My neighborhood appears to be fully infected. At a recent picnic, persons in attendance made mocking statements about Kerry out loud, as if it were a given that, while Kerry deserves contumelious dismissal, Bush is worthy of uncritical support. Then again, this was in Indiana, one of the Red States. The red symbolizes infection: ABSD is highly contagious. Thought shuts down while the mouth continues to release GOP memes that can infect the undecided. Contagious mental illnesses are rare but not entirely unknown; syphilis is one example.
Unlike sufferers of other mental disorders, ABSD victims are not particularly worthy of our sympathy. Most sufferers are not only recalcitrant but actively fight and disdain potential care providers. Further, the prognosis is usually poor: most ABSD victims go on to vote for Bush, thereby leading to spread of fascism in a country once thought to be immune to this most fearful of political diseases.
As there is no cure for ABSD, quarantine is recommended for all sufferers. Palliative care may be provided in the form of hourly injections of Rush, Hannity, and Ann C. memes. On the other hand, preventive care is highly encouraged. Persons can protect both themselves and the public at large from ABSD and fascism by voting a straight Democratic ticket on Election Day this year.