President Obama’s rhetoric is finally coming closer to what appears to be his psychological truth: Because America victimized him and countless millions of others, any person or party or movement that opposes his views and does not yield to him is not just his adversary, but abusive, predatory and even threatening.
Again and again, President Obama has described members of Congress who insist on fiscal responsibility as having taken “hostages,” “demanding a ransom,” using “extortion,” and threatening to “blow up” the government.
On Tuesday, in fact, the president used these exact words when speaking to the press, “What you haven't seen before, I think from the vantage point of a lot of world leaders, is the notion that one party in Congress might blow the whole thing up if they don't get their way,” he said. Later he added, “you do not hold people hostage or engage in ransom taking to get 100 percent of your way.”
It is exceedingly difficult to come to terms with a person who sees you as his oppressor, his kidnapper, and someone terrorizing him who might well destroy him. You aren’t likely to consider whether your assailant and jailer and would-be killer has a few good ideas, after all.
Seeing Barack Obama as someone who has a victim mentality would explain a lot. That mentality relies on believing one has been harmed, that one was not responsible for the injuries that occurred, that one could not have prevented what happened and that the person’s suffering makes that person morally right and deserving of sympathy.
As a young boy, Obama was, indeed, helpless.
He was helpless to stop his father from abandoning him.
He was helpless to stop his mother from leaving him with his grandparents.
He was helpless to stop his white grandmother and caretaker from communicating to him her fears of black people.
I’m not sure the president ever got over it.
The president’s victim mentality could contribute to dissolving the will of countless Americans who might otherwise see themselves as capable of summoning internal resolve and creativity to surge out of poverty.
True victims can’t surge out of anything, because they are hostage to forces outside their control. They await justice and restitution.
They don’t, ultimately, see themselves as able to stamp out poverty; they see themselves as the rightful recipients of food stamps.
They don’t, ultimately, see themselves as able to take control of their health; they see themselves as the rightful recipients of free health insurance.
They don’t, ultimately, see themselves as someone worth hiring and worthy of investing themselves with education and training; they see themselves as worthy of 99 weeks of unemployment checks.
And the president’s victim mentality could have already gone global.
The apology tour that the president embarked upon after being elected to his first term in office, apologizing for America’s supposed predatory behavior toward others, turned his victim mentality viral -- offering a pandemic of helplessness to anyone who wanted to claim that the ills of its nation were due to a monstrous pathogen called the United States of America.
A victim mentality would explain why the president immediately allies with anyone else he thinks might be a victim, too.
This explains the seemingly bizarre statements he made castigating local police in Cambridge, Massachusetts for detaining a distinguished Harvard professor and man of color who they understandably considered possibly to be an intruder.
It explains him thinking that if he had a son that his son would look and act just like Trayvon Martin, an alleged drug user and burglar who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, an older man of a different race.
In fact, the president went further to suggest that, were he 35-years younger, he could be Treyvon Martin.
If the president sees himself as a 17-year-old being held at gunpoint by an older man, then it is too much to expect him to govern effectively.
If he sees himself as having been taken hostage by kidnappers who want to blow him up, it is too much to expect him to hear any truths these “kidnappers” might want to share.
Victims aren’t expected to lead. They expect to be rescued.
That would seem to be our problem as a nation right now.
Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, and was host of the nationally-syndicated "Dr. Keith Ablow Show." He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.