Freudian slip: a slip of the tongue that is motivated by and reveals some unconscious aspect of the mind. — Merriam-Webster
A Freudian slip is when we say one thing and mean a mother. — Rob Long, The National Review
Greg Vital slipped. On his own tongue.
Speaking to the Hamilton County Young Republicans on May 31, Vital, running for District 10 in the state Senate Republican primary, opened his comments with the claim he "finished up'' at Southern Adventist University in 1979 with only $900 in student loan debt.
Imagine. Only $900 in student debt. It's almost unbelievable.
So is Vital's claim about graduating from college.
When asked by Times Free Press reporter Chris Carroll to explain why he has suggested -- online, to the media, in public speeches -- that he graduated from college when he actually did not, Vital said he accidentally slipped.
He blamed it on Fraud.
Freud. I mean, Freud.
"That was a Freudian slip," he said. "It was a mistake.''
The father of 20th century psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud peered deep into the human psyche and behavior, and claimed that our unconscious mind often drives our words and actions more than we may realize. When we repress or don't acknowledge some deeper wish or desire, it finds a way to get out.
Like kids out of their bedroom on Christmas morning. Or the "Alien" in that guy's stomach. Or Lindsay Lohan. It's going to reappear until it's dealt with.
My mother -- I mean, my wife -- doesn't trust any politician these days. I don't blame her. Politics has become more about untruth than truth, with candidates more skilled at using distortion and evasion to defeat rather than using compromise, wisdom and cooperation to solve.
Our standards have become so low; our needs so high. Since his slip, Vital has apologized (a refreshing thing for politics) but has not dropped out -- which is telling.
Shouldn't we have demanded it?
Without realizing it, Vital and his Freudian slip ask us to confront the great question used in psychoanalysis: What are we thinking?
The primaries are on Aug. 2, only 11 days away. Then, a small percentage of us (24 percent in the August 2010 primary) will go to the polls, cast a ballot for someone we say we want to represent us.
Consider Scottie Mayfield.
He is running for U.S. Congress and has appeared in one debate. One. And it was labeled "a forum" instead of a debate.
Mayfield is like an agrarian Bruce Wayne -- wealthy yet hidden and disguised. Very few of us know who he is, what he actually thinks or what he does. Yet he may very well come to represent thousands upon thousands of East Tennesseans.
His website offers very little in terms of concrete plans, proposals or policies. Not one word of his 12 "On the Issues'' statements includes any reference to issues directly affecting women. You know, the people in Tennessee who aren't men.
And in seven weeks earlier this spring, he raised a record-breaking $450,000. It doesn't make sense.
Where are the mitchforks and pobs? Pitchforks and mobs? Torches? Far and teather them! From fear and nar! Bowtie them up!
Lincoln and Douglas would debate for hours. Each of them. People came from miles around. Now, I'm afraid we'd just change the channel.
I think Mayfield is a good man, genuinely, and admire his desire to serve. But how do you run for U.S. Congress on an anti-platform platform?
In bold headlines, Democratic candidate for state Senate District 10 Andraé McGary's website says he supports "Wholistic Education."
Why hasn't this been spotted and fixed? Months ago? Not by McGary (although that would have been nice) but by us!
I like McGary and will probably vote for him. But I just expect more. Running for office ought to be rigorous, with little excuse for slips or absences. I get tired of voting and sighing at the same time. So if the candidates won't raise the bar higher, there's only one answer:
That means the task is up to Andy Berke.
Us! I mean, us. It's up to us.
David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...