When I was almost 6 years old, my father died in a car crash. It was the early 60’s, so back then people didn’t really worry about the effects of trauma on children. “Children are resilient” and “They’ll bounce back” were the accepted sagacity of the day; so children, like me, were left to their own devices to try and make sense of things like life and death and loss of control.
Soon after my father's death, strange little obsessions started coming out of me. The first was what I called “circle drawing” in which I would draw thousands of tiny circles on notebook paper—perfect little rows of ‘o’s’, front and back. I would then number each page and put them neatly away in a binder. I never knew how many of those circles I “needed” to draw each day; I just kept going until my brain said, “Okay, you’re finished with your work” and then I could go outside and play like all the normal kids.
Along with the circle drawing, other habits started to emerge. If I sneezed, I had to say, “bless me” over and over—sometimes dozens of times--until my brain told me I was blessed. If I coughed, I had to say, “Excuse me” in the same manner. Repetition was extremely important to me, as was organizing. All my stuffed animals had a specific place in my room and had to be lined up perfectly at all times. And I was the bossiest child you can imagine on the playground—that annoying kid who organized all the games, and made sure everyone’s Monopoly money was neatly stacked.
I drove my poor little sister insane…
When I shared these oddities with my family at the dinner table one night, everyone laughed. No one back then knew anything about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.). Instead, all of us—myself included--simply thought I was just a very, very strange little girl.
The reason I’m baring my soul like this is because lately I’ve been asked about my past affiliation with the Democrat Party. Everything about liberalism goes against almost all of my core values and principles—so what was it that originally drew me over to the left?
And then I realized: It was O.C.D-related. The two things the Democrat Party has in droves (and of which the GOP still does not) are two of my favorite things: organization and repetition. When I was in college, the most organized political group on campus was the Democrat Party. They had the simplest message (“We’re all about The People!”) and yes, they threw the best parties. Then when I moved to Los Angeles, all the artists and actors I hung out with were Democrats who were unwavering in their ideology. On TV, the Democrats created the most effective, repetitive political ads saying, "We Are The Best, They Are Not." Bottom line, Democrats were never changing, never wavering, repetitive and organized--seemingly as clear and pure and uncomplicated as all my little 'o's'.
Fortunately, 9/11 cleared the fog of political O.C.D. from my head. Seeing the ruins of the Twin Towers, I realized that the Democrat Party was very much like my “circle drawings”—basically good for nothing. When it came down to actually doing something important—such as protecting and defending our country—the Democrat Party was nothing but a bunch of very organized, very repetitive hot air. And although both my circle drawing and liberalism seemed to bring a sense of “control” and “order” to my life when I needed it most, it was all misguided and a waste of time. Neither served a purpose, other than making me “feel” as if I were doing something vitally important.
In today’s world, whether because of death, divorce or abuse, trauma exists in almost every family. Too many children are left to their own devices—as I was--to “figure things out”. As a result, throughout their lives, they yearn for and are searching for clear, unclouded messages. They are looking for “heroes”, people who represent the mother or father figure they’re missing in their lives. And the one political party that continually answers those cries for help by means of rhetoric, repetition and organization—manna for O.C.D./trauma sufferers --are the Democrats.
Today's progressives are geniuses at marketing and selling their message. The difference is that their “message” is much like all those circles I drew as a little girl—meaningless, useless, nothingness. If the GOP ever wants to truly get hold of the American public again, we have got to find better ways to organize and repeat our message as loudly and clearly as the left does so brilliantly—so that the “strange kids” like I once was will be able to hear that message over the useless din of the screaming, vapid liberals.