I suppose it was only a matter of time.
In the wake of the latest controversy surrounding Gov. LePage, it was inevitable that the counter-reaction would ultimately go too far. And it is all due, ladies and gentlemen, to the insidious plague known among some mental health professionals as LePage Derangement Syndrome.
Be on the lookout for signs of this malady, lest you fall victim to it and unintentionally turn yourself into a hypocritical joke.
The early stages of the affliction are mild. Signs begin with a gentle fever, a dangerous spike in blood pressure whenever LePage’s name is mentioned or he is seen in public, and a Tourette’s-like tendency to shout words like “impeachment” and “resign” at inappropriate times, like during a family dinner or while you are out grocery shopping.
If you find yourself exhibiting some of these signs, consult your doctor immediately.
The only treatment currently known at this stage is rest, complete isolation from Maine politics, and no less than one week spent binge-watching sitcoms on Netflix.
In the beginning, there is still time to get better, though. The second stage is far more serious.
As the disease progresses, an irrational hatred of LePage begins to seep into your brain, and you become increasingly desperate to attack the governor. Frustration boils over, as legitimate criticisms over his words and behavior are no longer good enough to destroy him, and you feel the need to fight dirty.
The blood fever has taken you, now. And so, you begin to suggest that Gov. LePage suffers from a mental health problem, or that he is a raging, belligerent drunk.
Take, for instance, Steve Bentley, a substance abuse counselor from Old Orchard Beach, who penned an op-ed for the Maine Sunday Telegram this past weekend. So advanced is his LePage Derangement Syndrome that he felt it appropriate to abandon any notion of professionalism or ethics — as well as 50 years of established mental health professional guidelines — and diagnose LePage as an abusive drunk, despite having never met the man.
“He [LePage] is also overweight, bloated and often sporting facial flushing — all common with excessive use of alcohol,” Bentley observed.
“The supreme irony here, Paul Richard LePage,” he continued, “is that you are turning into your father. The booze has hardened your heart and clouded your view. It is making you abusive. Get some help for the sake of us all.”
It may seem like it is too late at this stage of the affliction, and in many cases it is. People who once condemned the governor for inappropriateness, unprofessional behavior, and insulting, mean-spirited, hate filled rhetoric themselves begin to engage in it.
Indeed, LePage Derangement Syndrome can be so bad that it actually removes your self-awareness and ability to realize just how hypocritical you’ve become. Greg Kesich, the editor who approved that column, is so afflicted that he continues to defend the decision to publish it, even after the rest of the editorial staff wisely decided to pull the op-ed and issue a retraction.
“For the last six years I have turned down columns and letters that used armchair diagnoses to explain Gov. LePage’s behavior because I didn’t think it was fair,” said Kesich in a Facebook post explaining his position. “But now the governor has violated so many norms that traditional political analysis doesn’t explain the things that he says and does. This column is harsh, but, I think it’s fair.”
If your LePage Derangement Syndrome has infected your mind to this degree, seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, you will be cursed to slip into the final, ugly stages.
As the disease continues to decompose your judgement and rationality, you begin to conflate inappropriate and irrationally ridiculous things as you desperately try to turn LePage into an inhuman beast.
Reports in the media make clear that the residents of Portland are perhaps the most susceptible to this form of the disease. Evidence of its effects can be seen around the city, most recently in a mural painted on public property, depicting the governor as a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
As LePage Derangement Syndrome continues to deteriorate your mind, you can no longer differentiate the ill-chosen and inappropriate words of LePage with the actions of a violent domestic terrorism group that targeted not only African-Americans, but Jews and French Catholics in Maine — a group the governor himself belongs to — for systematic intimidation, assault and murder.
Doctors I have spoken with tell me that if allowed to advance this far, there is no known cure. Be on the lookout for signs, and talk to your doctor.