“Caitlyn” Jenner and now Rachel Dolezal – this is beyond “preference,” there is something very wrong with these people. Oh, don’t worry, I know that last sentence is going to get me buried under a pile of communication telling me how insensitive, uncaring, and buffoonish I am – but come on. These are people so uncomfortable in their own skin that they actually tried to change their skin. Back in the dark ages we defined mental illness, at least in part, by a break with reality. Sure, technology has allowed them to perform the changes they sought on the surface, but fundamentally they remain who they were and are therefore just working extra hard to leave reality behind.
These are not people to be discussed, studied, celebrated, or otherwise held up before the public. These are people to be compassionately pitied and given the assistance they need to heal. This is not a “freak show” where a person with a disability turns that disability into an income based on pity and curiosity. This is the public, through its attentions, promoting and exacerbating these individuals very troubling denials of reality; and therefore, in some secondhand way participating in that denial of reality. There is not just something wrong with these people – there is something wrong with the nation.
Over at the Weekly Standard there a great piece by Jonathan Last on the tactics of opponents of traditional marriage. He points out how it is never enough for them and that they are willing to engage in deception and bait-and-switch to get what they want – a complete change in how society is organized. Yet, if society has organized itself in this fashion over the centuries, even millenia, is not trying to change it another break with reality? But see, that’s why they cannot rest with a single legal victory or allow for dissenters. They cannot allow the slightest bit of reality to shine on their delusion or the delusion will fade. They must purge everything around them of any reminder of the way things used to be lest that old way reassert itself. (For an illustration see the testosterone-robbing 1980 cult film “Somewhere in Time.” I do not say you will like it, only that it illustrates this point.)
Derek Hunter at Townhall thinks it is about “external validation.” “Participation ribbons, sports with no scorekeeping, play-dates, being told they’re something worthy of celebrating simply because they exist, etc.,” are another form of denying reality. Let’s face it, all of us are bad at something. Some of us, like say Cleveland sports teams, are bad at more than just a few things. Reality is that not all of us will succeed at everything we try to do. I could wisecrack, “My life is testament to that fact,” but I think that is true for most of us – we have a huge pile of failures in our lives. That is reality. Reality is responding to failure by either improving what we do, or learning that we are not cut out for activity X. There is no reality in pretending we did not fail, or hanging a ribbon on failure.
Our purpose, our motive, cause, reason, and justification for everything we do is rooted in God’s first action. God first created us to walk with him.
Leaving God out of our national, cultural discussion is the fundamental break with reality. Once we do it, we lose the check against all of these smaller breaks with reality I have cataloged here and so we begin our dissent into the unreality. I am not saying you have to be Catholic, Presbyterian or Evangelical – I am just saying once we unhinge ourselves from the idea that there is something bigger, smarter, and more powerful than us, and that that something is in charge of reality – not subject to our ideas about reality, something akin to mental illness begins.
And it is with God that I can find reality and peace in this maelstrom of madness.