Guest columnist Karen Gardner: A ray of light amid dark developments

Sigmund Freud helps calm the writer’s angst over a recent Supreme Court ruling and Republicans’ Project 2025.

Sigmund Freud helps calm the writer’s angst over a recent Supreme Court ruling and Republicans’ Project 2025. Photo by Max Halberstadt

By KAREN GARDNER

Published: 07-09-2024 7:08 PM

Modified: 07-10-2024 8:32 PM


I decided to give poor Rod Serling a break this month, since I don’t think he can cope with all my real-world issues and woes. But then I realized that I can’t cope either and what I need is to talk with a psychiatrist, and not just any psychiatrist. Maybe they could help me deal with what I see as a world gone unhinged.

So, I put in a call to the most famous of them all, Sigmund Freud, to see if he could possibly squeeze me into his very busy schedule. And guess what? The man answered the phone himself.

Sigmund, I said, remember that time some years ago when you called me after reading one of my columns about our former president and his mental health issues? You told me that my diagnosis was pretty good despite my lack of credentials.

But that’s not what I’m calling about. This time I need help with my own mental health. Do you have a few minutes?

Yes, yes, of course my dear, I’m at your service.

Well, Sigmund, my mind is in a state of chaos as it attempts to grasp the unreal happenings in my world. I see and hear what appears to be taking place, but it is so frightening, so outrageous that my mind simply throws up its hands and screams at me to stop thinking such things; that those things just can’t be happening.

Yes, my dear, I can already think of a few psycho-pathological diagnoses that might fit your case. Please give me a few examples.

All right, but where to start? How about this: The Supreme Court’s recent decision to award the former president (and all future presidents, if there are any more of those), near complete immunity from criminal prosecution for anything he did or will do while president of my country. He is now above the law, could even kill one of his political opponents and get away with it. You see, Sig, how my brain might run wild at such a thought?

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Hmm, are you sure this really happened? Perhaps you are letting your own neuroses take over your perceptions.

Siggy, neurosis is my middle name, but I assure you, it’s the truth. You can read about it everywhere.

Well, if I am to help you, tell me what else is happening.

OK, Sig, but before I do, I just want to point out that this man might win the coming presidential election just four months away and then it’s over. Our democracy is already struggling to survive, but if the former guy gets back to the White House with what the Supreme Court has done, there will be no turning back. Now do you see why my mind is spinning?

Yes, yes, I see, is there more?

There’s plenty more, Siggy. Have you heard about this thing called Project 2025? Of course you haven’t, you live in Austria! It’s a document, a radical blueprint for how the former guy will transform our federal government into a Christian nationalist theocracy should he win the coming election.

Many of the people who created this 992-page plan were appointees of the former guy and had top jobs in his administration. Project 2025 states quite clearly how our constitutional protections will be dismantled, including our most basic rights. Also, our expert civil service workers will be stripped of their jobs by the thousands and replaced with the former guy’s loyalists.

You see, Sigmund, it’s the administrative state that they want to destroy. They think that most Americans won’t notice this plan to privatize Social Security and take away Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, and many other social support programs. They want to end support for our public schools, dismantle the EPA and environmental regulations, including those that fight climate change.

But the people will notice. The question is: Will it be too late by then? And these are only a few of the planned government changes in Project 2025. If you have access to the internet, Sig, you can see for yourself what the former guy and his allies are planning at www.project2025.org.

But the former guy has recently discovered just how unpopular these destructive policies are. He now says that he never heard of Project 2025 and doesn’t know any of the people involved. As I said before, Sig, it was written by people he personally hired in his past administration. But lying is what he does best.

Ah, I see. Well, my dear, if I have this right, you are losing parts of your mind. The question is, can you live without them? I think perhaps you can.

And just to ease those parts that are left, let me point out something I read yesterday. In my neck of the woods, meaning in Europe, there have been some unexpected and mind-calming election results. In France, the far-right extremist National Rally party came very close to taking over the government, but the people rose up and voted! In Great Britain, the Conservative Party was thrown out after 14 years of financial and political mismanagement. How? Again, the people voted!

Sigmund, thanks for that. I do feel a little calmer. I can only hope that the people of my country will wake up and cast their votes as the Brits and the French did.

Karen Gardner of Haydenville can be reached at opinion@gazettenet.com.