The denial of reality is spreading across Montana

July 25, 2022 5:01 am

Photo illustration by Getty Images.

Forget COVID. 

It appears that a malevolent mental condition has now reached epidemic in two Montana counties.  

On July 5 and 11 the Ravalli County Republican Central Committee and the Lewis Clark County Montana Republican Party, respectively, passed resolutions rejecting the results of the 2020 presidential election and formally declared the President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected by a majority of the people in the United States.

This, notwithstanding, that the certified results of the 2020 election show that President Biden won the popular vote by more than seven million votes as well as the Electoral College votes (306 for Biden to 232 for Trump). And this notwithstanding that in more than 65 lawsuits in state and federal courts, including three trips to the U.S. Supreme Court, neither Trump nor any members of his cult were able to produce one scintilla of actual evidence that any election fraud or intervention of foreign powers caused the election to be “stolen” from the former president. Indeed, even though he lost the popular vote when he won the 2016 election, with the same Electoral College vote counts, Trump declared his victory to be a “landslide.”

Moreover, in Montana, Secretary of State and Chief Election Officer Christi Jacobsen has defended the security of our state’s election processes.  No election fraud her on her watch, by golly!

And how, then, did all those Republicans sweep the last Montana elections if there was rampant fraud?  Did they steal these elections by chicanery? Did they cheat?

Hence, these resolutions just don’t make any sense; they don’t pass the smell test.

So then, what’s with the aforementioned Republicans?  Here’s one plausible explanation. Anosognosia.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, people with Anosognosia reject or avoid accepting reality because it’s unpleasant or distressing.  In fact, these folks can’t recognize they even have a medical problem, don’t see the need to care for that problem and, in more severe cases, actively avoid or resist treatment.  Experts describe it as “denial of deficit” or “lack of insight,” which happens when one’s brain can’t recognize or process what the person’s senses tell it.

The Cleveland Clinic states that Anosognosia affects people with other medical conditions, especially certain common mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Trump, of course, started the “Big Lie” and fomented an insurrection and coup to take over the federal government to prove his point.  Thankfully, he failed in that effort, too. 

But the local Republicans just won’t give it up.  They can’t accept proven fact and reality; they suffer denial of deficit and lack of insight. Which leads to the conclusion that some more serious mental conditions are afoot in the party, and that the Ravalli and Lewis Clark County Republicans don’t recognize they even have such problems.

First, Missoula County Republican Brad Tschida declares that a woman’s uterus serves no specific purpose to her life or well-being–except as a sanctuary for an unborn being and then the Ravalli County and Lewis and Clark County Republicans follow that gem of idiocy by declaring that Joe Biden didn’t win the 2020 election.

What’s next from this tin-foil hat crowd? Aliens from Uranus tinkering with our voting machines? Gay vegetarian abortion doctors coming to take your guns?  Whoa! Dare we even imagine?

I suggest that it is high time that the voters start demanding mental health evaluations before candidates are permitted to run for or hold public office. 

Good Lord, if “We the People” are entitled to anything, it’s that we not be governed by politicians whose brains serve no specific purpose except to provide an empty sanctuary for flitting bats.

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James C. Nelson
James C. Nelson

James C. Nelson is a retired lawyer and former Montana Supreme Court Justice. He lives in Helena.