Quick! What’s My Disease?

Originally published on the Huffington Post on February 7, 2012

During his time in office, President George W. Bush gave a new meaning to the awful disease known as IBS. I called it Irritable Bush Syndrome, the gross inability to “digest and pass the truth.”

In the same spirit, let me “offer” the “list of diseases” that the current crop of Republican candidates suffers from.

First of all, there is IRS or Irritable Romney Syndrome. IRS is the chronic inability to “pass honest and sincere emotion, especially for long, sustained periods of time.” Typically, it is the result of severe cases of “unlikeability” brought on at a very early age.

Then of course, there is Gingrichritis, which is a very serious, life-threatening condition. The condition is so painful and contagious that it is just as harmful for those who have even the slightest contact with anyone who is affected by the disease. Its symptoms are well known: (1) chronic inability of the mouth to contain and/or exercise control over anything that literally explodes into the mind; (2) the ability to live in delusional, fantasy worlds for extended periods of time; (3) the uncanny ability to use words and ideas in clever ways that turn everything into an evil conspiracy of the “liberal media”; (4) to “go over the top” such that it not only blows the minds of listeners, but that it literally blows the top off of the head of the speaker; and, (4), the gift of constantly using “coded words” that are perfectly non-coded for intended audiences, for example, the ability to be a “racist, non-racist, racist!”

A particularly serious disease is Sanctorumonious. An especially odious and virulent form of Sanctorumonious is the ability to say with complete conviction and directly to the mother of a cancer-ridden child that the drug companies have the right to charge anything they want for life-saving drugs even if means that poor children will die.

And, finally there is The Perils of Pauline, or just the Perils as it is commonly known. While those who have the Perils want to rightly end foreign entanglements that make no sense, unfortunately they show little, if any, ability to understand a complex world. As a result, they retreat at every possible moment into an equally simplistic, delusional world as those who suffer from Gingrichritis, although the delusions are of course very different.

I shall not bother to discuss the diseases of the other candidates who have dropped out. I leave this to the imaginations of readers.

The thing to ponder is, “If candidates are merely some of the prime representatives of the ‘body politic,’ then what is the larger disease from which we all suffer?” And, “What’s the cure?”

Perhaps the general disease from which we all suffer is not “Class Warfare,” but “Crass War-Fear.”

Originally published on the Huffington Post on February 7, 2012

About imitroff

Dr. Ian Mitroff is Professor Emeritus at the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He is the president and founder of Mitroff Crisis Management, a private consulting firm based in Oakland, California, that specializes in the treatment of human-caused crises. He is a Senior Affiliate with the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley.
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