Some patients display serious physical symptoms such as blindness, paralysis of limbs or pain somewhere in the body for which doctors cannot find a physical basis. What psychiatrists discover in these patients is that their seemingly serious physical symptom is a devious way of expressing a forbidden thought and emotion. Formerly this disorder was known as hysteria. Now it is known as Conversion Disorder. It is known as such because an unexpressed thought or emotion is converted into a seemingly serious physical symptom. Curiously the patient appears to be completely indifferent to his serious symptom.
Today we are witnessing in America a similar disorder known as the Birther Disorder. Underlying the Birther Disorder is the forbidden thought and emotion: We are disgusted by the fact that an African American with the middle name Hussein is our president. They want everyone to see his birth certificate on which his father's African ancestry and his middle name Hussein are prominently displayed. Curiously, Republican presidential candidates are either indifferent to the birthers' demand or are covertly supporting it.
Birther Disorder is not only the symptom of covert racism in a fringe group but also that of dearth of competent leadership and bankruptcy of credible solutions in the mainstream Republican party. Since Republicans have nothing substantial to offer as an alternative to the president, they indulge in this kind of devious tactic to undermine him. Birther Disorder is a case of mass hysteria. It is a disgrace to America.
K.P.S. KAMATH, Cape Girardeau