The politics of trauma 

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Again and again and again

Another of the symptoms of PTSD is the constant reliving of the traumatic event in flashbacks. For the people of the United States, the flashbacks have been packaged, tied up with ribbons, and delivered by gift horses ranging from the legitimate TV news media (who played, with incessant repetition on the day of the attacks and for weeks thereafter, the video of the planes hitting the World Trade Center and footage of the towers falling), and political operatives who hope to harness the incoherent rage, inability to concentrate and the jumpiness of the electorate to provoke a knee-jerk reaction against the president's opponent, who is sold as the likely cause of inevitable future such mayhem should he win the White House.

The Republican National Convention was shaped around the same message, and I can attest to its effectiveness, finding not only New York Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg crying on the convention floor during the 9-11 segment of the first night's presentation, but myself, as well. I knew I was being manipulated, but my grief being real and fresh, it was easily provoked, even by charlatans.

By the last night of the convention, in response to the assertion that the only reason the attacks occurred was hatred for America's freedom and "way of life," the Garden's denizens shed no tears, chanting, instead,"U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A" with chilling, unthinking ferocity.

The cure (next page)

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