BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) has very predictable stages, and they are pretty similar to Alzheimer’s. Consider the progress of these brain maladies:
Stage 1 - Warning Signs: First your loved one begins displaying symptoms which, singly, can be easily dismissed: forgetting the names of acquaintances, or perhaps making disparaging commentary that’s only peripherally related to the topic at hand. For example, in a discussion of the economy, the columnist says that since Bush is beholden to businesses he will push tax cuts no matter how much they damage the economy.
You shake your head and hope that this is just a normal sign of aging or sucking up to his liberal boss. But secretly, you worry that this is a harbinger of worse times to come.
Stage 2 – Rapid Decline: Now your loved one has begun more and more to change from the person that you knew, with frequent mood swings, loss of capability to do day-to-day tasks, and increasingly non-sequiter remarks about how evil Bush is. One sign might be that in a wine tasting column, the writer mentions that the vintage was “harder to swallow than Bush’s excuses about why he allowed thousands to die in hurricane Katrina without him lifting a hand.”
You begin to reorganize your life in order to keep a close eye on your loved one, look into possible treatment options, and begin scanning competitors to find a more even-keeled commentator.
Stage 3 – The Alarm Clock in the Refrigerator: Your loved one just isn’t the person you knew, engages in increasingly bizarre, erratic, and dangerous behavior, and repeats intellectually fraudulent claims that don’t pass even the barest scrutiny as if they were sacred and profane truths. When your favorite sports columnist tells you that Paul Wolfowitz was the architect of the greatest foreign policy disaster in US history and that the World Bank smear campaign against him was justified because he was an evil man, you’ve entered Stage 3.
Now it’s time to move your loved one into a care facility, enjoy the little remaining “good time” that you have with them, and develop other interests to avoid the contaminated sufferer until after the 2008 elections (possibly longer).
Stage 4 – A New Beginning: Your loved one no longer knows you, and every time you’re with them you’re amazed at how far they’ve slipped; you try other columnists but the sorrow of what you’ve lost brings you back occasionally to your first love. But it never works out the way you’d like, and you end up reading a 6,000-word screed on why Bush is worse than Hitler and how he’s turned the US into a world pariah that can only be redeemed by turning him over to the World Court in The Hague and allowing the Democrats to socialize health care.
Until science has a cure for this grave disorder, we’ll just continue to suffer along with those we once held dear as they slip into denial, disgruntlement, and finally dementia.
That’s true for Alzheimer’s, too.