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By Scott Sullivan

Editor

Lists

He’s making a list; she’s checking hers twice. Which means just one thing: President Trump and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-Bronx, are making enemies lists.

At a Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump talked about political opponents who “hate our country (i.e. him) … and we can name every one of them.”

Newly-anointed media darling AO-C — She’s young! Hispanic! Female! Best of all, she is telegenic! — told the Washington Post that Democrats cooperating with Republicans would find themselves “on a list,” i.e. if they don’t fall in line with her New Liberal Order, there will be retribution.

Trump and AO-C join forbears like Richard Nixon — who in 1973 as president called for using “the available federal machinery to screw our enemies” — and Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who 20 years earlier brandished a list of “57 card-carrying Communists” who had infiltrated the U.S. government that had nothing on it.

Any list of list makers starts with Santa. What kid hasn’t been threatened into behaving with lines like “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake …”?

Kris Kringle had nothing on Big Brother. Or Peeping Tom for that matter. “Be good for goodness’ sake”? Yeah, right. “Or you won’t get presents” … Now, that had teeth.

“Bucket lists” give direction in life, however made up, for some people. When they tick off items like “Run with the bulls … kiss the Blarney Stone … write a column that makes sense” who they mostly tick off is me.

“Your need focus,” one told me. “Make a list.”

“Bucket?” I said. It sounded like that, at least.

Trump and AO-C are opposites where the political spectrum bends back on itself. “United we stand, divided we fall” these peas on the right and left sides of the pod rally partisans. “Us” against “Them” assumes a division so base voicing differences within the ranks equals treason.

Free-enterprise Trump and socialist AO-C coalign as collectivists. “Divide you, we stand to conquer,” they really mean. Co- means “together” but has a dark side. “Collaborate“ and “cooperate“ are warm, fuzzy words; “collude” and “conspire” less so. If our “enemy” is all that unites us, how do we know what we are is good?

List me among non-list makers. I see why we need to impose order on life’s randomness and complexity, but dogmas and categories are not pets I am adopting. Trump and AO-C command armies in which I will not enlist.

Who should I follow to lead my life? Psychologists have the answers. A new study published in the British Medical Journal shows low pay and long work hours can lead to anxiety and depression. Whoda thunk?

I was feeling good till I read this. Now I know, given my pay and hours, joy is a delusion. Were I thinking straight I’d have offed myself long ago.

I need more pay to work less, I told The Boss. Studies prove it.

“What do they say,” he asked, “about joblessness and depression?”

Now you’re making me anxious, causing mood swings and loss of interest, I said.

“I’m causing those things?”

Good point. Locus of control is one of the first things I learned in Psych 101. Should your locus be internal, you feel you control your outcomes. Screw up, you’re to blame; then again, you can change things.

With an external locus you’re off the hook. You’re a victim; you couldn’t help it. Who’s to blame for bad things? Society, liberals, conservatives, God, your parents, The Boss, your spouse (same difference) … pick your poison.

Trump and AO-C love these folks. If you’re eager to blame some scapegoat, you are ripe to be ruled by them.

Psychology has a spectrum that bends back on itself as well. Are we crazy to think we need shrinks? Not always. There are times getting help is the sanest thing we can do.

When I recognize I can’t do it myself, I “own” it in a way where I let in others. I don’t give myself away, but a way.