Posted on: April 4 2021 / Written by: Brett Lunger
The Doctor is in the house. The diagnosis is clear. You are suffering from acute “PPPSD.” That would be Presumptive Partisan Politics Syndrome Disorder.
The New England Journal of Quackery defines PPPSD as “the propensity to automatically assign partisan malfeasance to any position taken by the other party. This condition makes any rational or objective analysis totally impossible, thus rendering compromise for the good of the country an unattainable outcome.” See my essay “What Are Your Priorities?”
This disorder first emerged shortly after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Many on the left were outraged that Trump had the gall to deny Hillary her rightful place as America’s first female president.
Within hours of this stunning upset, newscasters and political pundits scrambled to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s victory. No transgression, misstep or tweet was ignored. The reaction to anything Trump was to automatically highlight it as proof that he was not fit for office. This automatic, knee-jerk reaction became known as PPPSD.
But wait, Democrats are not the only ones susceptible to this disorder. Republicans are equally at risk and have demonstrated that they, too, have been afflicted with PPPSD.
Within hours of President Biden’s inaugural address, it became clear that PPPSD was running rampant on the right. Consider the words of one prominent Republican. When asked what he thought of Biden’s promise to reach across the aisle for the sake of compromise and national unity, the Republican sneered and said, “Sure, he will reach across the aisle. He’ll reach across and slap me upside the head.” A clear example of Presumptive Partisan Politics Syndrome Disorder. He presumed the worst. PPPSD.
According to many Republicans, anything that President Biden says or proposes automatically confirms the allegation that his diminished mental capacity makes him unfit for office. No objective analysis of the facts needed, just PPPSD.
With both parties so afflicted, the situation is not good. It is difficult to maintain any hope for the future of this nation with PPPSD so pervasive.
Really? If we really are concerned for America’s future, is there anything we can do to reverse this disturbing trend?
Being the eternal optimist, I believe that there is something we can do. Not easy but something we must force ourselves to do.
Look to the origin of the disease. It did not just spring up and infect the political establishment. No, it started with us. At some point we allowed ourselves to believe that the opposition was so irredeemably evil that their every step deserved nothing but utter condemnation.
But if it did start with our own blind cynicism, we also have the power to reverse that trend. When faced with a proposition or proposal from the other side, we can resist our ingrained PPPSD. We can pause, reflect on the facts at hand, and then comment. The bias on both sides of today’s news media will make this task extremely difficult, but it can be done. PPPSD started with us and it can end with us.
Doing this would end the unproductive invective that dominates today’s national discourse. Politicians, regardless of party, would realize that they could no longer retain the support of the people by fanning the flames of tribal hatred. Instead, they would have to create policies beneficial to the whole country. That, in turn, might require discussion and compromise. What a novel idea!
So, the next time you find yourself moaning about how divided the country has become, look in the mirror. Could it be that the problem starts here? Is it possible that you are suffering from PPPSD? Take heart. You have the power to change that.