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Lisa Longo Headshot

Look Ma No Hands!

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Sometimes our children do amazing things. And we all like to brag about their amazing feats of agility, strength and intelligence. But sometimes you come across a parent who likes to bitch instead of brag. We've all met them, the drama queens who love to tell you every misery and mistake their child makes. The tall tale tellers who say they don't want to create "more" drama, and then carry on with their melodramatic musings and pedantic pronouncements.

These parents take great pleasure in sharing their "misfortune" and seem to create circumstances that put their children in the worst possible light, but puts them in the spotlight. There is even a name for it, Munchausen Syndrome by proxy.

According to Wikipedia:

Münchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP or MBP) is a controversial term that is used to describe a behavior pattern in which a caregiver deliberately exaggerates, fabricates, and/or induces physical, psychological, behavioral, and/or mental health problems in those who are in their care

We've been friends with such a parent. And it isn't easy. The constant catastrophes. The continual complaints and contrived circumstances that always end in this parent being "misunderstood." The doctors who don't get it. The hospital staff that won't agree with her diagnosis. The therapists who give bad advice. It is hard to watch. We've had our concerns and tried to help, but you can't help someone who is hell-bent on being the producer, director and star of their own scary movie. They simply don't want the help. It dims their spotlight.

But I've come to the conclusion that this syndrome is actually a national problem. And the biggest victims are a few Republicans in the House and the conservative commentators on Fox and talk radio. Yes indeed, the Grand Old Party seems to have a bad case of "deliberately exaggerating, fabricating and inducing physical, psychological, behavioral and/or mental health problems in those who are in their care."

Now, the House Democrats aren't totally pure and blame-free, and there are one or two liberal commentators that lean pretty far left to make their point, and they've got their own issues, mostly along the lines of what I think of as premature effectiveness. They have great ideas, but they so often just can't hold out long enough to get the job done.

There is a huge difference between telling supporters to go out and buy guns and ammo, stockpile food, water and gold, and telling them to go write a letter to your congressperson or to make a call to your senator.

That is the difference between conservative and liberal commentators. The barking Beck, vocal vomit spewing Limbaugh and hateful Hannity tell listeners they have to bear arms because the "time is coming" when citizens will have to "defend themselves" from their own government. And yes, that is exactly what is said every day from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on conservative talk radio.

I know because I force myself to listen to their drivel. I consider it self-defense.

And just like the children of parents with Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, the followers of these dogmatic drama queens suffer the consequences. They believe what they hear is true, and then they act based upon the delusional drama they are fed constantly.

It doesn't matter that science, facts, logic and basic common sense have all proven they are wrong. Just like the parent who keeps taking children to the emergency room rather than simply calling the pediatrician, the conservative talking heads are going to keep spouting nonsense until you listen, or Obama leaves office. Whichever makes them the most money.

Look I know being a parent is hard, so is losing an election. But both have their upside. Those moments when my daughter still reaches for my hand, or asks me to "tuck her in", they are priceless. And kids, like political parties, are resilient.

I know the election of our president felt like a total and absolute repudiation of conservative economic policy and the political machinations of Rove et al, and his reelection in a campaign where dark money was bulldozed into the arena in an attempt to unseat him was truly priceless, but the continued attempts to manufacture and fabricate scandal just keeps blowing up in conservatives faces.

I mean, who is going to care about the IRS when Verizon is letting the government know how long you were on the phone? And really, Facebook is known for its Privacy Standards, so how dare the government troll my Facebook page. If they want information about what I think they can read my blog like everybody else.

And I am not defending the administration on this one. I understand what they are doing and why, the question is, is it worth it? And I don't know the answer to that.

But I can tell you, when we are around that parent, it makes me want to hug and love her kids so they know life is not all doom and gloom. It makes me want to tickle and hug them, sing silly songs and dance. It makes me want to defend them against the world. And to be there, proud, when they say "look ma, no hands" for the first time. Because I am afraid their parent will be too busy complaining to notice.

And I think that is why I do defend this administration so much, I am sick and tired of the manufactured madness and fabricated falsehoods. There are plenty of real scandals and actual bad acts. We don't need contrived contretemps and exaggerated escapades.

If only conservatives, and parents, who have Munchausen by proxy could see the harm they do to themselves and those they supposedly care for. Because children grow up. The economy will improve. And when both are strong again, they will look back with scorn on those who tried to sabotage them. And all you will see is their backs as they ride away, hands in the air, waving as they leave you behind.