Today January 16, 2013, POTUS delivered an impassioned speech on behalf of greater gun control laws. It was a highly theatrical event, with four young children of differing colors and genders on the stage, children who had written to him of their distress and looking to POTUS as the fixer who would keep them safe from early death. Also in the audience were the parents of one of the victims of Adam Lanza’s Sandy Hook massacre. They were all part of Obama’s emotional appeal to Congress to fund research on the causes of gun violence, and the effects of violent video games. The entire package would come to 500 million dollars.
But something strange and perhaps revealing happened toward the beginning of the speech. POTUS called upon three of the four children to say something about the guns issue after he read their letters to him, but he skipped “Grant,” the one black child.* I was literally floored, for I read the gaffe as an example of “undoing”—an unconscious process whereby we pretend that a terrible event did not in fact happen. For instance, when my infant brother died from SIDS when I was eight years old, my first response to this traumatic event was to suppress a laugh, then I had numerous dreams in which he was still alive.
If Obama was indeed repressing the follow-up statement of the black child on stage with him, then it suggests to me that his childhood of neglect, abandonment, and perhaps indoctrination, remains too painful to be acknowledged, and that much of his grandiosity is compensation for unspoken misery (as opposed to the “narcissism” commonly attributed to him by pundits).
A person of his education and stated high idealism should be more aware of his own emotional processing, but alas, our culture suppresses such knowledge as nonsensical Freudianism, yet without the wisdom of the Freudians and their exploration of mental illnesses and neuroses, we are at the mercy of cocksure pundits who imagine that “families” are the solution to all emotional pain and failure. (For elaboration of this point regarding the homeless schizophrenics, some of whom become murderers, see http://jamesvpagano.com/science-schmience/.)
I beg to differ. Dysfunctional families, families who will not look at their relationships (that may be abusive, authoritarian, negligent, sentimental, bohemian, or otherwise destructive to the healthy emotional and intellectual development of children) are not having a gun problem. They have abdicated the role of mature parenting, and in a related pathology, have never thought about their obligations as citizens of a representative republic, namely their obligations to be educated about the issues that determine their votes, an education that could alienate them from their “perfectly happy” families of origin. (For more on this, see http://clarespark.com/2011/11/12/the-woman-question-in-saul-bellows-herzog/.)
During the past Christmas season, numerous organizations devoted to the rescue of abused dogs, cats, and even horses, ran ads pleading with the viewers to support the ASPCA, the Humane Society, etc. with a monthly stipend. The photographs were of pathetic dogs and cats, hoping to be rehabilitated. But I saw human children in those sad doggie and kitty faces, uttering the same cry for attention.
How many of us care about our own children enough to examine our own roles and performance as parents, no matter how painful that self-scrutinizing process may be? (For more on this subject of families and their often conflicted internal relationships, see http://clarespark.com/2013/01/17/bondage-and-the-family/.)
*I do not know for a fact that POTUS skipped the black child. Perhaps the latter did not want to say anything to add to his letter. But it is curious that others have not noticed this incident.