Psychology of teapartyists


This path to a better America, a better world, includes living with some fear that getting your needs met might mean hurting someone else about whom you care. Rather than the constant state of hyper-vigilance that comes from the Tea Party’s psychology of exclusion, OWS inclusion carries with it a sadness that no repair is ever perfect, that even the most exceptional America possible will still and always fall short of our aspirational ideals. And beneath the various critiques, like the ratio of CEO to worker compensation almost doubling in the last 10 years, there is a wild optimism at the wooly center of OWS. You see it at the marches, in the music, when you listen to people at Zuccotti Park organizing the clean-up to avoid police action. What becomes clear through a psychological lens is the optimism of cooperation and relationship, of being imperfect together, of searching for repair as community even while knowing no repair is perfect.

For Tea Party members, the world will always remain full of persecutory others (Obama’s the devil!!) while OWS holds out the promise of community, no, of communities of difference. The effort after inclusiveness can be so dramatically full of sympathy and concern for others that you may feel the movement respecting your subjective experience before they even know what their own point of view is. But if you knit together the union worker and ex-hippie, the college student sharing some shade with the cop, you find a belief that working together instead of against each other presents the very real possibility that people will end up not as triumphant winners but as people with enough—and in a radically inclusive networked world enough is, well, enough.



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