Saturday, October 30, 2004

The politics of trauma

Being the blithely arch but lighthearted creature she is, your blogstress maintains an alter-ego to handle life's more somber moments: a mostly serious journalist who writes under the byline of Adele M. Stan.

For weeks, Stan has labored over a piece on what she calls the politics of trauma, a brand of politicking she claims has replaced the much-vaunted politics of fear:

The politics of fear is based around ideas such as these: that
homosexuals are out to recruit your children, that God will punish the
nation for its sins, that the family is broken when women have power,
that membership in the United Nations demands the surrender of our
nation's sovereignty. In short, the politics of fear exploits the
trepidation innate in humans when facing change of any kind, and tweaks
it to a twitchy pitch in times of great social change.

The politics of trauma is another beast entirely, based as it is, not
on fear of the unknown, but the exploitation of something atrocious
that has already occurred, the fear that it will happen again, and the
psychological toxins produced by experiencing the atrocity.

The piece explores the ways in which the politics of trauma have been practiced in the 2004 presidential campaign, and offers a prescription.

Read the full story

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