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By David Podvin
The World Health Organization has released a study that verifies the United States is the undisputed champion in mental illness*, dominating various pathologies ranging from anxiety to depression to poor impulse control. We easily vanquished underachieving Old Europe in post-traumatic stress syndrome, bipolar disorder, and bulimia nervosa. Additionally, our magnificent land trounced the supposedly productive Asian countries in both senility and agoraphobia, while coasting past Africa in pediatric hyperactivity. In fact, there would have been a gold medal sweep for America if Ukraine had not cheated by submitting doctored urine to edge us out in substance abuse.
In retaliation for Ukrainian treachery, “Chicken Kiev” will henceforth be known by every patriotic American as “Chicken Freedom”.
Distributing praise for America’s smashing victory requires giving the devil his due. Although liberals abhor complimenting the right wing, it is undeniable that without conservatives the United States would not even be one of the hundred craziest countries. This is especially true as it relates to the glamour categories of paranoia and psychosis.
Any nation that aspires to lead the world in mental illness requires a leader who is unabashedly mentally ill, and in this area America is truly blessed. Rather than educating himself on major issues of life and death by studying, George W. Bush faithfully listens to the voices in his head that have been keenly honed during a lifetime of not studying. Bush takes this approach based on his deeply held belief that only by remaining abjectly ignorant of all relevant facts can he possibly make a fully informed decision. His commitment to prioritizing fantasy over reality is strong and unyielding. The former Texas governor is a one-man psycho ward, and absent his sterling contribution the United States could never have achieved derangement preeminence.
When entering international mental illness competitions, having the Religious Right on your team is like being able to send Babe Ruth up to the plate. The W.H.O. awarded America numerous insanity bonus points for the insistence by our Holy Rollers that the bible must be interpreted literally. The English word “gay” doesn’t mean what it meant just a few decades ago, yet American zealots insist that the meaning of words translated from six thousand year old Hebrew can be defined with precision and should be used to justify persecuting human beings. The continued death struggle by our fundamentalists to stave off the diabolical homosexual agenda of Tinky Winky and SpongeBob SquarePants guarantees that America’s glorious reign as numero uno loco will not end anytime soon.
Projection is a component of mental illness that consists of attributing one’s own deficiencies to others. Rush Limbaugh deserves acclaim for enabling America to ace this category by making the observation that women who become liberals choose their philosophy to compensate for being sexually undesirable. The scoring committee noted that this ultimate case of projection came from a guy around whom the Pacific Ocean could not get wet.
The list of conservatives who deserve to be acknowledged for their contributions to our winning effort is a lengthy one indeed. There is Asian American right wingette Michelle Malkin, who has written longingly of the good old days during World War II when citizens with yellow skin enjoyed free room and board at all the finest internment centers. There are the forty-five percent of Oklahomans who voted to keep cockfighting legal, although fairness dictates inclusion of the footnote that most of them did not know cockfighting involves poultry. And then there are those Californians who approve of Arnold Schwarzennegger’s pathetic job performance, apparently because since he took office no one in the state has been killed by a cyborg assassin.
Of course, none of this proves that all conservative are bonkers. Many Republicans are just as sane as the next guy, assuming the next guy happens to be Hannibal Lector. Even so, it is important to avoid stereotyping: as David Steinberg has observed, some blacks have no rhythm, some Jews can’t handle money, and some Chinese people don’t all look alike. Just because right wingers believe the greeting “Happy Holidays” constitutes a threat to their personal liberty does not necessarily mean that every single one of them is cracked.
There might be a rational conservative somewhere. The vaunted liberal sense of fairness dictates that we allow for the possibility, however theoretical it may be.
It is helpful to understand why right wingers collectively lack any semblance of mental health. Clinicians have isolated the causality, one that is fraught with irony: impaired blood flow to the brain resulting from inhaling smog emitted by trees. Science has yet to determine why psychotropic toxins produced by foliage target anti-environment Republicans rather than higher primates, but it may be some sort of cosmic quid pro quo.
The great thing about starboard brainsickness is its constancy. From the inception of the United States when right wingers passionately insisted that women were lesser humans and blacks merely farm animals, our domestic goose steppers have been dependably daft. Through the centuries, conservatives have opposed all social advancement, and have done so in the name of a supreme being whom they otherwise disregard. Whether the issue has involved instituting public education or fluoridating the drinking water, the maniacs of the right have screamed that the Apocalypse was being expedited. As is invariably true with people whose porch lights flicker dimly, the more conservatives are proven wrong, the more adamant they become.
But while Republicans are the grandmasters of dementia, they do not possess a monopoly. Eight percent of self-identified liberals in America voted for Bush, which is like eight percent of self-identified pedestrians in Japan voting for Godzilla. The reason generally given involves approval of the Bush war on terrorism. Left unanswered is whether the most praiseworthy dimension of his anti-terror approach was allowing our nation to be attacked or subsequently letting the attackers get away so that we could concentrate on killing people who had nothing to do with it.
In either case, approximately one out of every twelve liberals has partaken of the Kool Aid and now swears that Bush is The Magnificent Zorro, a swashbuckling defender of all peasants who bravely smites evildoers hither and yon. It is troubling when a few of the good guys don aluminum headwear while lip-synching to Fox News, but it just goes to show that this wonderful country’s commitment to mental illness runs wide and deep.
The World Health Organization must be congratulated for finally declaring what those of us who are flag wavers have long contended – that in addition to being the planet’s only military superpower, the United States sets the pace in the field of furthering madness. Without meaning to gloat, when it comes to being non compos mentis, we’re number one with a bullet (and sixty-seven thousand nuclear warheads).
America is going to remain the alpha crazy dog for quite some time, so all of you lousy little sane nations had better get used to it. Hopefully, you will not become offended when we get in your faces to rave like lunatics about our W.H.O.-documented supremacy, and you won’t be offended as long as you remember just one thing:
It’s not bragging if it’s true.
*The WHO World Mental Health Survey Consortium, "Prevalence, Severity, and Unmet Need for Treatment of Mental Disorders in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys," Journal of the American Medical Association. 2004;291:2581-2590.
Table 2. Twelve-Month Prevalence of World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview/Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition
See also: "Global study finds mental illness widespread," The Associated Press, July 7, 2004
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