“Monday Musings” for Monday February 27, 2017
Volume VII. No. 10/322

the white house

What is Good About America

By Assad Meymandi, MD, PHD, ScD (Hon), DLFAPA*

 

I grow intolerant of people who enjoy maligning America. It is now a rampant practice with the current administration. Most likely the put down is not out of malice but by putting down America the administration tries to elevate itself. The dynamics of  manufacturing heroes and dictators are at work here. And it is the hero and not the supremacy of the rule of law and rational debate that will save America. The need to elevate one’s self by demeaning America is a component of malignant narcissism. The psychological effect is devastating. Manufacturing heroes and worshiping heroes are not what our founding fathers recommended. Here is what is good about America. One episode stands out in my mind.

Consider the case of Zimbabwe, a nation of 12 million oppressed and unhappy people, with vast natural resources including oil, coal, copper, zinc and platinum. In March 2008, an election was held in Zimbabwe. Morgan Tsvangirai was elected over incumbent Robert Mugabe, president since 1980, when the country had become independent of British control, as Rhodesia. Mugabe, known for his brutality, did not accept the election results. Violence ensued, and according to the BBC many thousands of Tsvangirai supporters have been killed, imprisoned and tortured. There was a run-off election on June 27 of that year, which was named by many, including then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a “sham,” while Tsvangirai sought asylum in the Danish Embassy, and of course, Mugabi won.

Compare this to our 2008 electoral process in which Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, after 16 months of long and rigorous debates, came together in Unity, New Hampshire, for Hillary to declare her support of Obama. The occasion was a touching display of civility, cordiality and mutual respect. This was repeated recently by the election of the current administration, Clinton vs Trump, and the final electoral college vote count..

Observing our democracy at work is enough to stir up the highest instinct of patriotism and devotion to America. As Americans, we enjoy the supremacy of the rule of law, and not the whims of a person, to guarantee our freedom. Our Founding Fathers, especially George Washington, set the tone for leadership in America. After serving his country for eight years of presidency, like the Roman political figure, Lucuis Cincinnatus, Washington returned to his farm to let others to lead and govern the nation.

As one citizen, I take tremendous joy and honor in being an American and am happy to pay my taxes to sustain the system. But I discourage the banality of manufacturing phony heroes who will save America.

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*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012). He serves as a Visiting Scholar and lecturer on Medicine, the Arts and Humanities at his alma mater the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health.
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