Children separated from their parents at the border have generated exceptional outrage on the left, even by their standards. But why? They didn’t care much about this when it happened under Obama, and for decades the left has been pushing separation of children and parents by trying to get mothers into the workforce and encouraging single motherhood.
So why this sudden emotional outpouring?
The Lightning Rod
One possible explanation is a well-known phenomenon. Everyone has experienced a spouse, child or friend who suddenly bursts out in anger wildly out of proportion to some trivial event. A closer inspection reveals that they experienced something stressful earlier. Maybe a teacher or their boss yelled at them, maybe they just learned that their dog died or experienced some other emotional event.
In folk psychology it is sometimes referred to as the “last straw” and in pop culture, we see it in TV series such as Criminal Minds where the suspect experiences a “trigger event” which leads him to go on a killing spree. All the negative energy from that trigger is channeled into a substitute, like a lightning rod.
The recent outrage by the left fits this pattern, but what could the trigger event have been? Only a week before the immigration crisis erupted, President Donald Trump met Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea in Singapore. The left had been convinced that Trump was “literally Hitler” and that he would start a nuclear war — and that delusion was crumbling right in front of their eyes. There is still an overhanging danger that world peace could break out.
To a leftist never-Trumper, this must have been highly emotionally disturbing, on par with losing one’s religion. However, most had the common sense not to criticize denuclearization. They needed another outlet for their rage and disappointment.
A week later they got what they wanted. Children in cages are the perfect lightning rod for unreleased hate.
Black Lives Matter
Another interesting case that fits this psychological pattern is the recent trend of racial tension, epitomized by the Black Lives Matter movement. People seem to have missed out on the fact that BLM was started when President Barack Obama was in office.
But wait a minute, wasn’t Obama supposed to be Progressive Jesus to bring about heaven on earth? Wasn’t he the definite proof that Americans has put their issues with race behind them? Wasn’t he supposed to heal the country and bring about a new era of goodwill?
That didn’t happen. Crushed dreams must have been devastating to many people, especially to black Americans in inner cities who expected Obama to make the crime disappear, schools to magically improve and jobs to come raining down.
That disappointment and anger needed an outlet, but they couldn’t allow themselves to be angry at Progressive Jesus, so the outrage was directed at “white Hispanic” George Zimmerman and Officer Wilson who in self-defense shot Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown respectively.
It was so much easier to be angry at white people than at Obama or the Democrats who have been mismanaging America’s inner cities for decades.
Breaking the spell
There are, however, signs that the delusion is dissolving. Kanye West made headlines by coming out as a Trump-fan and praising internet personality Candace Owens for spreading a message of independence, taking responsibility and not blaming years of slavery for all the present ills in some black communities.
Similarly, as the truth about the fact that there were children in cages under Obama too, and that the crying girl on the cover of Time Magazine was not separated from her mother at all, the outrage could no longer be sustained.
Detoxing the brain of leftist propaganda is a long and painful process, but it helps the rest of us to understand the source of seemingly irrational temper tantrums. This behaviour could merely be a psychological mechanism for dealing with a collapsing worldview.