Rash of Suicides among Undecided Voters Mars Elections

Search for Vote-Worthy Difference between Candidates Ends in Despair

“I tried; I really tried,” reads a suicide note left behind by wanna-be voter Karen DeLeon of Dayton Ohio. “But the more I studied, the more I couldn’t distinguish between Rombama and that other guy on war and peace, the ‘free market,’ education and the environment – the crucial issues. I’m sorry. I guess I’m just not smart enough to vote.” The note was dated the same day she was found dead in her home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Unfortunately, DeLeon’s is not an isolated case. In recent days thousands of undecided voters have turned up dead in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, in what psychologists are calling an “Electoral Jonestown.”

“The phenomenon appears to be similar to induced schizophrenia in dogs,” says Dr. J. C. Hertz of Johns Hopkins University, an expert in bipolar depression. “For years we have been developing ‘double-bind’ studies requiring rational discrimination between two increasingly similar alternatives. Experimental dogs, for example, will be forced to distinguish between an oval shape and a circle, and administered an electric shock when they choose incorrectly. As the oval shape is gradually rounded out to more closely approximate a circle, the dogs experience the canine-equivalent of a nervous breakdown. Something similar appears to be happening to this year’s undecided voters.”

A particularly tragic case involved a young man in Telluride, Colorado, who was sure that a careful study of U.S. health care, on which the two candidates were said to be sharply divided, would steer him to a rational basis for choosing between them. His anguished last words were, “Obama care is Romney care, created by the Heritage Foundation. Aargh$@%*&@#!!”

Equally distressing is the case of a young Pennsylvania woman who blew her brains out several days after being told that there was a “Grand Canyon of difference” between the candidates on environmental issues. “Oh my God!” reads her suicide note, “Obama retained the Bush appointees calling for ‘self-policing’ in the oil industry, which culminated in British Petroleum’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, then went on to promote an expansion of nuclear power during a triple meltdown in Japan!” A bullet-riddled copy of “The Audacity of Hope” was found at her side.

Experts say that “vote or die” extremism is fueling the wave of suicides. “When people are told, over and over, that ‘this is the most important election of our lifetimes,’ they naturally begin to feel that the casting of their vote has a cosmic significance,” says John Croteau of the National Institute For Mental Health. When reality then cruelly disabuses them of this illusion, it’s often too much to bear.”

Michael Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire." He co-blogs with Frank Scott at www.legalienate.blogspot.com He co-blogs with Frank Scott at www.legalienate.blogspot.com. Read other articles by Michael.