The year was 2016, the month November, and the day Friday the 4th. Top researchers at the Institute for the Research of Phobias had just discovered a phobia that appeared to have turned viral. While it had always been known that phobias could be spread vicariously, the rate of spread of this particular phobia was alarming. Furthermore, they discovered that well educated, presumably well meaning people, seemed to be intentionally spreading the phobia. They found it odd that so many of these people intent on spreading the phobia were followers of a religion who’s founder was known to often say “Fear not”.
When they looked at the particular ways that the phobia was spread, they found that it was largely through half-truths proclaimed repeatedly by leaders: parents, faith leaders, professors, and most of all…politicians. However, they also found that those who were avid Facebook readers often succumbed more quickly to the phobia’s spread, particularly if they had primarily mono-ethnic and mono-religious “friends”.
Symptoms exhibited by those with Democraphobia were varied but generally included loudly stating the following:
- All news sources proclaiming that Democrats should be feared are accurate regardless of the reliability of the source.
- All new sources proclaiming that Democrats should not be feared are inaccurate regardless of the reliability of the source.
- Even sources that a year ago were considered reliable for debunking urban legends could not longer be trusted if they attempted to debunk Democraphobia. In fact, any source that ever attempted to state that Democraphobia was in fact a phobia was evil.
- Anything good that happened during a Democrat’s time in office had to have happened by chance.
- Anything bad that happened during a Democrat’s time in office was done on purpose.
- Anything bad that a Democrat has ever considered doing they would absolutely do in the next four years if elected.
- Anything bad that a Republican has ever considered doing would absolutely not be done in the next four years if elected, and in fact such things shouldn’t even be taken literally.
- Anything good that a Democrat said must be a lie or a distortion of what they actually believe, intended to conceal their true beliefs.
- Anything good that a Republican said was exactly what they intended to do/say.
- If something bad happened to a Republican or Republican sympathizer it must have been done by a Democrat
- If something bad happened to a Democrat or Democratic sympathizer it must have been done by a Democrat to frame a Republican.
- The Democrats would do anything, literally anything, to steal the election from the Republicans.
- Trust Me.
With the election in it’s final days, and early voting already begun, these researchers became concerned because Democraphobia, while present during previous election seasons, had never spread to so many or become so deeply ingrained in the psyche. Additionally, the symptoms had become more extreme than those generally seen before: threats of violence, assumption of a rigged election, refusal to govern if Democrats were elected. They were concerned that these symptoms if left unchecked, and particularly if more people succumbed to the phobia, could destroy the United States of America.
So, they quickly set out to try to find a treatment. They looked at the common treatments for phobias: Cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, hypnotherapy. However, they found that none of these treatments could be administered quickly enough to stop the spread and save the election. They found one treatment on the market that claimed it could be produced quickly and broadly enough to be administered to everyone in time: Elect-a-Republican. However, when they began to research who was selling this, they quickly found that it was actually being marketed by the very people with the worst cases of Democraphobia.
Finally, in desperation, they turned to studying those who had not succumbed to Democraphobia. They found a large set of Democrats, much as they suspected, but some had another more rare phobia, Republiphobia. The researchers were determined to find someone who didn’t have Democraphobia or Republiphobia.
Finally, they found them. At first it seemed these people were just confused, maybe stupid. Once in a while they seemed to have Democraphobia, but sometimes Republiphobia. If you asked the Democraphobiacs about these people they said they were Democrats, but if you asked the Republiphobiacs they would swear they were Republicans. Then the researchers realized, maybe these were the ones who had not succumbed to either phobia but were instead remarkably healthy.
As they began to study this healthy group, they found a few rather unique attributes that didn’t appear present in those who had succumbed to one of the phobias sweeping the land:
- They had friends with diverse backgrounds.
- They read widely from reputable sources and even sometimes from those who had Republiphobia or Democraphobia in order to understand the perspectives.
- They would post facts
- They were determined to share knowledge.
- They were determined to engage in civil dialogue with those who disagreed.
Being so close to the election, the researchers hoped and prayed that somehow the healthy people who had not succumbed could speak reason to the Democraphobiacs, but time was running out….