Politics Magazine

11.30.12 Darkness and Depression

Posted on the 30 November 2012 by Keith Berner @leftyview

This will amaze you, dear readers, but some people actually take offense at my political writing. Hard to believe, I know.

Of course, such critics are wrong nearly all the time, because — as we all know — everything I write is right (or left). But, now and then, someone comes up with a critique that hits home. Hard.

Someone pointed out to me late yesterday that my use of the word “darkness” (as in “Prince of Darkness”) with Doug Duncan could be seen as going after him for his depression. (In case you are not aware, he dropped out of the 2006 Maryland gubernatorial campaign due to depression.) The association of “darkness” as a code word for depression hadn’t occurred to me, but I can see now why it occurred to others.

I am a treated depressive. Depression runs in my family. It is a serious, and for some, debilitating disease. As much as I loathe Doug Duncan’s politics and policies, I have nothing but admiration for his willingness to speak about his disease and his ability to recover from it.

Depression — and other forms of mental illness — need to come out of the shadows (or, the darkness, if you prefer). Only by demystifying and removing the shame associated with mental illness can those who suffer be fully free to seek treatment and reach out to others for support.

To the extent that my choice of words yesterday set back that cause, I am deeply sorry.

PS. By the way, my choice of the moniker “Prince of Darkness” for Duncan was inspired by the case of Richard Perle, a hard right-wing superhawk and one of the original neocons, who served as assistant secretary of defense under Reagan. He acquired — and seemed to proudly wear — the nickname “Prince of Darkness” for his armageddon-like views. He is still alive, kicking, and (apparently) hoping for military destruction of all who don’t ascribe to his views.

©2012 Keith Berner

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