Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I made a point of watching television as a new American president took his oath of office. I wanted to hear what Barak Obama had to say in his inaugural address.
The new president’s message was a recognition of the problems confronting this country, and optimism that, through dedication and hard work, they can be overcome.
“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America—they will be met.”
I was moved to tears, and barely maintained my composure through the 17-minute speech.
“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”
Addressing our problems
Obama talked about the need for those who manage public dollars to be held to account, restoring the trust between people and government.
He recalled earlier generations who faced down fascism and communism:
“They knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”
Obama addressed leaders in countries torn by conflict:
“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history.”
But to me, the core of his message was a return to our most deeply held values:
“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends—hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.”
To sociopaths, of course, hard work, honesty, courage, fair play, tolerance, loyalty and patriotism, are not values to live by, but the marks of easy prey.
Sociopaths view public dollars as personal ATM machines. Power has nothing to do with humility and restraint; power means take-no-prisoners victory, no matter who gets trampled or killed along the way. Corruption and deceit are not crimes, they’re strategy.
So while 96 percent of us watched the speech hoping that Obama could pull it off and lead us to a better future, approximately 4 percent of the population, the sociopaths, smirked at our joy, hope and optimism.
They quickly started calculating the next angle, the next scam—like how to get a hunk of $800 billion in bailout money.
Sociopaths in politics
One of the big problems, of course, is that our government is littered with sociopaths. Here on Lovefraud, we’ve written about politicians who seemed to exhibit sociopathic traits:
- Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor who apparently tried to sell Obama’s senate seat.
- Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor caught with a call girl, and known for steamrolling his way through the state legislature.
- Vincent J. Fumo, the Pennsylvania state senator now on trial for 139 counts of fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and filing false tax returns.
- James McGreevey, the former New Jersey governor who resigned, claiming he was being blackmailed he was gay. In my view, it was a claim designed to distract attention from his political collapse.
Sociopaths are drawn to politics. No experience or qualifications are necessary to become a politician. They just need to be smooth talkers, and make promises that they don’t necessarily have to keep.
Politicians have the opportunity to engage in power plays far beyond the scope of most of our lives. It’s a job tailor-made for sociopaths, because all they really want is power.
What we can do
Given the truth about these disordered people that those of us who have experienced them know, what can we do? I have some suggestions:
- Educate yourself about sociopaths. All of us here at Lovefraud are doing this. But we should educate ourselves not only to recover from our personal traumas and improve our private lives, but to recognize sociopathic behavior in the public arena.
- Educate other people about sociopaths. This is best done after you are fairly well along in your own recovery, and can talk about the disorder without emotion. When you have your facts straight about sociopaths, and can calmly discuss the sociopath in your own life, people listen.
- Do not vote for sociopaths. If you become aware of sociopathic traits in someone who is running for office, do what you can to make sure he or she does not get elected. If all you can do is withhold your vote, fine. If you can do more, even better.
In my view, many of the problems society faces can be attributed to the self-serving, power-mongering behavior of sociopaths. Perhaps if we can shed light on this dangerous personality disorder and circumvent the people who think only of themselves, the goals Obama has set for America can be achieved.