When ADD and ADHD became all the rage in the 1980's, parents and school districts pushed to have children medicated. They claimed it was to help the child function better in school, but in hindsight we are learning it was to more easily manage and control the children, which is why so many who did not need medication were labeled ADHD and medicated. Children by their nature tend to be hyperactive. They run, play, jump, shout, scream, laugh, cry, sometimes in the same afternoon. They are children, but does their attention deficit problems really warrant medication? For an answer to that, I think we need to look at American Society as a whole.
What percentage of Adults have attention deficit issues? Well, we had the Colorado shooter, Sandy Hook, and a slew of other gun-related shootings in the national press over the last year, but when it came to common sense legislation, such as background checks the American people were not paying attention. A minority of legislators, primarily Republicans voted against even the most common sense, basic, and socially popular measures of public policy. Groups such as the NRA, Fox News, and Talk Radio were effective in distracting large portions of the population with phantom issues, such as; Obama is a Kenyan, Muslim, and Socialist. Gay people are trying to indoctrinate children. The left wants to destroy the boy scouts. Obama wants to put more people on welfare. Hillary Clinton is responsible for the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Democrats want to take everyone's guns. It goes on, and on.
How is it that a large portion of the American population voted in these clowns during the 2010 and 2012 elections? Republicans and extremely conservative Democrats, which are essentially Democrats in name only, have been like this for decades. Something extraordinary happens, the public is outraged, change is demanded; Then, all of the sudden the distractions start. The recent gun issue is only a current example of this. Both sides of the political spectrum have used distractions to gain political advantage; However, in recent years the Republican Party has taken this tactic into nefarious territory, using it to undermine public policy and the will of the American public at large. Again, how has this been so effective? Perhaps Adult ADD is alive and well for a large percentage of our population, or maybe we simply have very short attention spans, as a species?
Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me, is how the old saying goes. As a society we have about 1/3 of our population who are fooled every single day, because they've completely turned off critical thinking in favor of conservative talking points. We have another 1/3 who are middle of the road, but tend to be easily distracted by whatever new, shiny bauble is dangled in front of them, and the last 1/3 is made up on a coalition of unlikely groups; The Poor, The Disabled, College-educated young people, The LGBT community, Non-Christians, Progressives, Environmentalists, and my apologies to the rest whom would take me weeks to list. In the best generalization of our societal makeup, this is approximation of how I see us, as a people. The bottom 1/3 represents the conservatives, the top represents the progressives, and the middle, where elections are won or lost, represents those in our society who may go either way politically, depending on a variety of factors. If we only look at this portion of the Adult, voting age population, these are the same people who seem to have very short attention spans.
Mark Sanford, was a governor in South Carolina who ended up resigning, after he was caught in Argentina with his mistress, instead of being in his state doing his job. Taxpayer’s dollars were spent on his trips to see his mistress, while his wife was at home. As was appropriate, he resigned; However, last week he won a special election to represent his state in congress. How is it possible someone so morally and ethically corrupt, as to not only cheat on their wife, but misuse the public trust, take public money and skip their responsibilities to see a mistress in South America, able to then turn around and get elected to another political office? The only reasonable answer I can see here is the voters in his state must have forgotten the things he did the last time he held office.
Newt Gingrich, an amazing piece of work, who championed President Clinton's impeachment in the 1990's over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, was involved in an affair of his own at the very same time. This among other ethical lapses, led to his resignation as Speaker of the House; However, 10 years later, Hypocritical Newt ran for President on the Republican ticket.
I could go on and on about how Republican politicians continue to be elected and reelected, even though they hold delusional positions, maintain wildly crazy notions of conspiracy theories, or support blatant anti-middle class policies. This year marks 150 years since the Civil war battle at Gettysburg, but to look at our society today, you would think the war still rages on. Read your local newspapers, or check the headlines for your local area's and you will see the voices of division, calling for succession in many southern states, advocating for armed rebellion in some cases. People are kept preoccupied with wedge issues and distractions, they don't realize they are reelecting the very people responsible for their repression. The Michele Bachman's, Rick Santorum's, Rick Perry's of the world, who scream the loudest are among the most guilty of trying to distract us from what is going on. Religion plays no small part in this either, having climbed into bed with politics decades ago, Religion and conservatism are practically synonymous in our society today.
So my point about ADD, or in Children ADHD, is that perhaps it is more common than we care to admit to ourselves. Each of us is probably guilty of falling for distractions by our elected officials, many of us turn our heads whenever something shiny is dangled in front of us. We have a lot more in common with cats than most of us care to admit. Perhaps we should all be on ADD medication, especially before an election so we can stop making the same mistakes each election cycle.
Oh and for those who will say, Well Democrats controlled everything from 2008 - 2010, that’s true; However, never before in our nation’s history have we seen a political party as obstructionist as the current Republican party has been. Even on issues they themselves endorsed, they reject if it means any kind of win for Democrats or President Obama. When you need a Supermajority to pass any kind of legislation, and you only have 59 out of 60 seats, you can't expect to get a whole lot done. The American people were distracted with all kinds of fear mongering during that period, which is why so many conservatives, including radical ones were elected in 2010, which further goes to make my point about our diminished attention span as a society.