POLITICAL DEMENTIA

I have to go to the hospital today for a brain scan. Presumably they will discover I have some. Brains, that is. Meanwhile, I will again be missing from today’s action. Life keeps getting in the way of blogging.ย 


I know a bunch of people older than me who have developed dementia. As the problem has gotten worse, they have drifted from liberal, middle-of-the-road tolerance to far right I-hate-everyone dementia. I want to know why people move to the far right when they are overcome by dementia.

What provokes a response from them which would have been unthinkable to these same people in earlier years? Why don’t they adopt socialism? Or radical progressive liberalism? Communism? Scientology?

Not demented. Loves everyone except the neighbors. Photo: Garry Armstrong

It was suggested to me by Martha that this is because old people remember Communist threats … but these are people who can’t remember the location of their refrigerator or whether those people are their children or complete strangers. Why would they remember Communism as opposed to some other miscellaneous type of government? Is there some law that says the demented must become right-wingers? Some of them become downright fascists. They may have been liberal before, but suddenly, they hate all the folks they never hated in the past.

Does dementia destroy the ability of the brain to love or tolerate others? Does this mean that an awful lot of people in this country are … demented?

That would certainly explain a lot, don’t you think?

41 thoughts on “POLITICAL DEMENTIA”

      1. I would suggest that fear creates the negative opinions. I don’t think it is that people have repressed specific, negative opinions; it is that fear affects belief in all areas and in the moment. Once there is fear, any previously held opinion can change in a heartbeat.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I skipped political dementia and went right to the personal/family part of the story. It’s a primary concern for me.

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    1. Omni, my Mom had dementia in her last years. Got progressively worse. It was VERY difficult for my two younger brothers and me. I try NOT to think of Mom with dementia but rather Mom in her prime when I remember her which is VERY often. She was quite a force! I hope it doesn’t happen to me. It wouldn’t be fair for Marilyn.

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      1. Yes, it’s good to write and share. I think many of us fear dementia. We joke about our “senior moments” but it’s no laughing matter.

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  1. Being ultra-conservative is easy. Everything is black and white. Rigid thinkers are almost always conservative, though I include people who are politically left but have a conservative outlook on life. To be a liberal, you have to see all sides of the story and understand that there are always possibilities. To be ultra-conservative, everything appears to be good or evil, so there is only one choice, the right choice. No compromise.

    People with dementia and most types of brain damage are often very rigid thinkers. They have a hard time seeing all of the colors and variations. There is their way or the highway. There is also a more self-centered viewpoint, an inability to see things from another’s perspective.

    Anyway, I hope the scan goes well!

    Liked by 3 people

        1. It turns out, they cancelled the appointment and forgot to tell me. It’s really the nurse at my doctors’ office fault, but she’s such a nice lady — she just sometimes forgets. I’ll have to call tomorrow. She apparently forgot to send them a doctor’s order for the test.

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  2. My experience with people who have dementia is that they remember stuff a long time ago better than they remember what happened yesterday.

    I also tend to think there are two basic types of people. The Maslow People and the Frankl people. The Maslow People are concerned with their heirarchy of needs and have to gather all those “points” — safety, etc. — before they’re nice to others. The Frankl people will, without a second thought, give their last morsel of food to the starving guy next to them in the prison camp. Maslow People are fearful, Frankl People are not. I realize that’s a huge generalization, but I’ve seen it play out over and over again at work, with friendships, even dogs.

    Right now I have all Frankl dogs even though Mindy gets a little tired of Dusty stealing her rawhide. I’ve had Maslow dogs — vicious food guardians no matter how sure they are of getting their share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess dog-wise, I’ve been lucky. We have trouble keeping them at their own dishes. Otherwise, they will all wander around to see if maybe the other guys have something better in their dishes … and whichever dog will just step aside. They do not fight about anything as far as I can tell. But I won’t let them have bones. I’ve seen blood spilled over bones — something very primitive about them that makes dogs hyper competitive.

      But people? Yes, maybe. Garry’s mother got meaner and meaner with each passing year. It was awful to watch. It was like every ugly feeling she ever had rose to the top. My Aunt Pearl, on the other hand, was just like she always was — sweet, generous, kindly — but utterly lost. She didn’t remember anything, but she was still the same soul she’d always been.

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      1. My mom got meaner and meaner, too. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ None of her sisters (those who suffered dementia, and there were two) followed in that direction, but my mom got a head start on mean and she definitely lived at least in a personal world that was based on deprivation. She got so mean she got thrown out of two nursing homes :O

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        1. I don’t know how much study has been done on this, but I think mean people get meaner and soft people get gentler. Perhaps what dementia does is strip away the “polite” layers and show what’s underneath. My mother didn’t live long enough to go there and my father was always a mean bastard, so it’s really hard to tell since he was a psychological mess anyway. Garry’s father went from being very quiet to being too depressed to say anything.

          My son has offered to take me behind the shed and kill me if I get really bad.

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      2. I’ve previously shared about my Mom. She simply wasn’t the same woman once Dementia set in. It’s too bad that’s Mom you most remember. I’m sorry about what you had to endure. She, in her prime and middle years, was quite a force. She really admired, liked you. Thought YOU were THE right woman for her first born. Mom had brief clarity of mind near the end to share her feelings about you and admonish me to be a good husband. I’ll never forget our last “real” afternoon together. It lingers in my sense memory.

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  3. Very interesting. Didnโ€™t know there was a political component to dementia. But that does explain a lot. Itโ€™s mostly the not very smart people who are the haters. Maybe weโ€™ll find out itโ€™s a factor of brain structure or chemistry, like being gay.

    I also read a study that fearful people are conservative and haters and non fearful people are liberal. They did experiments where they assuaged the fears of conservatives and they instantly became more liberal.

    I wish these studies got more play in the mainstream media!

    Ellin

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you have any elderly friends who are slipping into dementia, watching how their posts change as the dementia increases would be a case study itself. I think they also lose a lot of their ability to differentiate between A & B & C. They want everything to stay fixed in place — and “liberalness” by its nature tends to be fluid. Dementia doesn’t really allow much fluidity. Or so I think, anyway.

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  4. I don’t know a whole lot about dementia, other than that I’ve had a few relatives who suffered from it. Some became nasty old farts like you describe, but some – like my mother – became the mildest old sweeties ever. But then again, my mother always was a sweet lady, so maybe dementia simply emphasized that.

    PS: Hubby also went for a brain scan today. I can hardly wait to find out if HE has a brain in there somewhere.

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    1. i didn’t get the scan because my doctor’s nurse forgot to send the order from the doctor. She’s a lovely lady, but she does forget things. it was just a long haul there and back. I have to try and be nice to her, though. She means no harm.

      Among the people who I know who’ve suffered from dementia, about half of them became nasty jerks who decided to hate everyone, including their family. The rest got very sweet and mellow, even though they couldn’t remember who was who anymore. The ones that stay on Facebook really would make a great case study of how dementia changes your brain. They keep posting and it is often exactly a polar opposite to what they used to say. That is really what I meant.

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    2. Cordelia, I hope the news is good about your husband. I’m facing surgery into the brain for my hearing (cochlear implant surgery) and have lots of anxiety and apprehension.

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      1. Ugh. I didn’t realize cochlear implant surgery involves the brain – I thought it was just the ears. You have every right to be anxious about surgery – if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be human. Good luck, Garry.

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  5. In old age and/or dementia, it is short term memory that deteriorates. Long term memory often stays intact. I saw this in my mother as she aged and dementia set in. Her politics didn’t change, as far as I know, although she rarely talked about politics when she got dementia. She said once that she liked Obama, but politics never came up in conversation with her again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people just get mean. It is as if the dementia gives them permission to say all the stuff they previously repressed.

      A lot of the demented people I know still post on Facebook. It would be an interesting case study to see the changes over the years. Not pretty at all.

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      1. Guess I’m “lucky” to have had first hand experience with my Mom. I wouldn’t want you to deal with that with me. It’s not fair for you or me. Yes, I know life isn’t fair but……it is what it is, as our noble coach reminds us.

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