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Political Narcissists,
Part II

Part I
Part III

Natalia J. Garland

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The anti-war protests of the 1960's-1970's, as well as the Civil Rights marches of that era, can be contrasted to the new anti-war protests of our present era. Although the same Constitutional rights are exercised (the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly), and although the marches may appear similar on the surface, the motivation and impact of the new protestors penetrates deeper nationally and reaches farther globally. This is because contemporary political narcissists not only protest the necessity and strategy of the Iraq War, but also designate America as the enemy.

The protestors from the Vietnam War era were anti-war and anti-establishment. Many were young and/or intellectuals, including students and professors. Remember, the military draft was operative during the Vietnam era and this had a direct impact on high school graduates and college-aged youth. The difference, however, between anti-establishment protestors and blame-America protestors is that the former group generally consisted of youth who distrusted the older generation, and the latter consists of narcissists of all ages who express hostility toward their own nation.

The Vietnam War protests coincided with the Civil Rights movement. Black people and many young people were concerned about equality for minorities and women, and distrusted the older generation which had perpetuated racism and other abuses. Although the older generation had bravely fought and won World War II, it was also a generation marked by racial prejudice, domestic violence, and child abuse. Secrets and hypocrisy were just beginning to receive legal attention and mental health intervention. Right or wrong, the youth perceived an overlap of social injustice and Vietnam War rationale.

This is in contrast to the new anti-war movement in which there is denial of the brutal reality of terrorism and evasion of the profound commitment needed to protect civilized society. Terrorism is viewed as an understandable reaction to American foreign policy. The new anti-war protest march is both an illusion of and symbol of achievement. Narcissistic protest marchers and speakers have contributed nothing to meaningful discussion or to bringing the Iraq War closer to resolution. So far, their only gain is T.V. fame. There are losses, however, in terms of national unity (whatever happened to United We Stand?) and global respect.

Certainly, there were extremist individuals and groups during the Vietnam era. There were Marxists, anarchists, and those who railed against so-called American imperialism. Most of these people eventually became a part of mainstream America, perhaps as a positive adjustment or perhaps in disenchantment. I daresay, however, that the majority of Vietnam War protestors were youth who displayed idealism and utopianism, as well as initiative and personal risk. (This was also the era of the Peace Corps.) And although there were occasions of chaos and looting, most blacks participated in non-violent Civil Rights marches and wanted inclusion and brotherhood. The march for equal application of Constitutional rights was often rooted in spiritual values.

Even when contrasted to the counter-cultural revolutionists of the 1960's, many Iraq War protestors seem to be motivated by hatred, anger, blame, and a general mental state which preceeding generations did not have. Moreover, it seems they are often rewarded with sympathetic media coverage. The source of their anger is found within their personality, and this perhaps renders them even more glamorous and appealing to news reporters. Political narcissists are not reacting to personal experiences with education or employment unfairness, and they are not intelligently disagreeing with the Iraq War. They are psychologically fragmented by 9/11. They are desperately trying to build a cohesive self through denial of the extent and intent of terrorist activity and through emotional attack on America.

Protest marchers can include a mixture of types of people. Some people involved in the new anti-war movement may have heartfelt convictions and thoughtful opinions to support their actions. And, some are middle-aged and were also involved in the Vietnam War protests. The middle-aged narcissists likely had narcissistic personality traits back in the 1960's, too. Their impact must have been felt and believed, but less clearly defined. One important difference between any narcissistic impact during the Vietnam era and now, is that the Vietnam War was contained while terrorism is global. If narcissism trumps patriotism, then America becomes a dysfunctional environment in which debate is undermined.

The politically narcissistic segment of society is moving America from a nation of hardy self-reliance to a nation of hardcore liberal conformity. This is an obstruction to Americans who seek truth, facts, and solutions. In the next essay, I will discuss how average Americans can detect political narcissists, and make informed political analyses and decisions. (Written 04/16/07: bibliography available.)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2007 Natalia J. Garland