May 10, 2012
By Sinclair Soul
Psychological projection or “projection bias” is a psychological defense mechanism where a person ascribes to other people their own, biases, beliefs, or insecurities. A prime example of this behavior is blaming another for self failure. In the political arena of 2012, this practice is being forged into a master art with candidates’ camps trying to frame their opponents with frailties that, in many cases, they possess themselves. Whether it be Democrats demonizing the “1%” while they embrace the richest of the rich (check out this event being held tonight), or Republicans complaining about the exploding debt while defending pork projects in their own districts, this practice is becoming a cancer eating away at any hope at honest debate.
A few weeks ago, Montana Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer took a shot at Mitt Romney’s Mormonism by saying the Romney will have problems as a presidential candidate because his father was born on a “polygamist commune” in Mexico. The idea was to to underhandedly label Romney as abnormal in the minds of voters due to his family’s religious legacy and give a boost to his opponent, President Obama. While it is true that Romney’s father was born in a Mormon community in Mexico where some of the residents practiced polygamy, Romney’s grandparents were a monogamous couple that fled religious persecution in the late 1800s. But as it turns out, Schweitzer’s strategy backfired as an INS document from 1961 showed that President Obama’s father WAS actually a polygamist.
When Barack Hussein Obama Sr married our current President’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham in Hawaii in the early 1960’s, documents show that he was still married to a woman from Kenya. The INS documentation also that he traveled with a couple of “girlfriends” and a further investigation claims that Obama Sr. may have married again later while still legally married to Dunham and the Kenyan woman, making it three concurrent wives. Now, I have my problems with the President but I don’t think he should in any way be judged by the practices of his father. But I do wish he would not sit silent while loud-mouths like Schweitzer try to exploit the past practices of Romney’s religion for Obama’s political gain. When you look at the whole picture, you see it is a bit hypocritical.
In an equal yet nearly opposite case of using projection, there is the case of Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren. The Harvard Law professor described herself as a Native American minority in professional law school directories and official applications during the 1980s and 90s. When recently called on it, she said than an aunt indicated she had American Indian blood because her grandfather had “high cheek bones like all the Indians do.” Warren went on to claim that her Great Great Great Grandmother was a Cherokee, making Warren herself 1/32nd Native American. She claimed she did not describe herself to receive any special treatment as a minority but only to “be invited to luncheons” by other Native Americans. As for her motives, you decide. It was certainly fashionable to claim some minority status in the ultra-liberal Ivy League university during that time period.
There is no documented proof as to whether Warren’s Great Great Great Grandmother was actually a Cherokee, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. However, there is documented proof that her Great Great Great Grandfather was involved in executing the infamous “Trail of Tears” while stationed in Chattanooga, TN in the 1830s. This means Warren also has 1/32nd blood of an oppressive white man. I wonder if there are any luncheons for that group at Harvard?
The point is, be careful how you demonize others lest you be demonized…he who is without sin, cast the first stone..those who live in glass houses, etc. etc. Projection is an all-too-common practice to distort or quell debate and it is counter-productive in a free society. Projection should face rejection!