Is it a coincidence that all the new categories of disease in the soon-to-be-released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, describe quite succinctly politics in America?
Maine, for instance, might appear rather boring to the unsophisticated eye. It has more old people than any other state, is dominated by women, and 96.1 % percent of the population is white (yawn), but scratch the surface and the "political ideology of Islam" lurks. At least it does in the mind of the conscientious resident who recently sent Maine legislators a copy of the bestseller Sharia Law for Non-Muslims with a typed three-paragraph letter lobbying for a bill in the upcoming legislative session seeking to prevent Maine courts from using any "foreign law, legal code or system."
This sounds a little crazy, so it might just pass. After all, the 2010 platform adopted by the Maine Republican Party trumpets a "return to the principles of Austrian Economics," and wants to "repeal and prohibit any participation in efforts to create a one world government."
The book legislators, especially Democrats heading back to work in 2011, could really use is an advanced copy of the DSM-V. All of them and most of the general population qualify for at least one of the new choices: post traumatic embitterment disorder, depressive personality disorder, sluggish cognitive tempo, and/or binge eating disorder.
A sense of humor and a diagnosis will make 2011 easier for incoming lawmakers, but even the world of psychiatry has its share of political skirmishes. Some of the shrinks on the DSM drafting committee are lobbying to get rid of the Asperger Syndrome category, which could potentially disenfranchise numerous newly elected officials. An opposition group has formed, called "Keep Asperger's Syndrome in the DSM-V." Seriously.
I'm no conspiracy theorist, but everyone knows Asperger Syndrome was named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, and if Asperger's is good enough for Austrians, and isn't Islam, its good enough for Maine, right?