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Forum, Sept. 13: Presidential projection

Published: 9/16/2022 6:18:35 PM
Modified: 9/16/2022 6:14:41 PM
Presidential projection

Dr. Paul MacVittie, a self-described “psychodynamic psychotherapist with over four decades of practical experience,” characterizes as “projection” President Biden’s reference, in a recent speech, to certain election-denying, conspiracy-adherent, violence-prone MAGA enthusiasts as threats to our democracy. (“Who is the real threat to democracy?” Sept 9) For lay readers, Dr. MacVittie helpfully defines “projection” as “blam(ing) others for the things they subconsciously don’t like in themselves.” Dr. MacVittie acknowledges that “trying to delegitimize the opposition may unfortunately be part of the political process.” That said, he continues, “it needs to be accurate and substantive to be an effective way to win my support.” All of which leads me to wonder which practitioners of “accurate and substantive” political delegitimization would, in fact, merit Dr. MacVittie’s vote? Perhaps candidates actively engaged in psychodynamic psychotherapy, who (in the profession’s characterization) are curious about their inner lives and seek to resolve recurring patterns of denial, repression and/or rationalisation built up over a lifetime? I can think of at least one prospective 2024 presidential nominee not at all interested in such an endeavor. Then again, maybe I’m projecting.

Jim Zien


Remember Sen. Moynihan’s celebrated dictum

Despite its vagueness, I believe Dr. Paul MacVittie’s letter was in reference to President Biden’s Sept. 1 speech at Independence Hall (“Who is the real threat to democracy?” Sept 9). A transcript of the speech is available on several websites, such as and I recommend that MacVittie review this transcript for the information he seems to have missed. There are many factual examples provided of what the opposition MAGA Republicans are doing to damage our democracy, along with clear evidence of the current Democratic administration’s actions to improve lives and democratic opportunities in the United States.

By the way, I thought the psychological concept of projection applied to feelings and opinions, which are creations of the individual’s mind. I don’t believe statements of verifiable fact are subject to a speaker’s projection. However, refusal to accept evidence and believe facts might indicate either psychological denial or willful ignorance.

As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) said, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Gretchen Graner

South Strafford

Article fell short

How dare you publish an entire article about anti-abortion activists’ attempts to take away women’s control of their own bodies, and not include a single woman in the article! (“NH Right to Life vows to push ahead,” Sept. 10) Shame on you. That’s like writing a puff piece about the Ku Klux Klan without interviewing a single person of color. The positions of both those groups mean increased deaths for the people that they’re trying to control. Do better.

Sherry Boschert


No Sept. 11 story

I am disappointed to see no mention on Sept. 11 of the attack on our country in the Valley News. If nothing else, it would remind us of the way the country came together. Shame on you.

Margaret Hofmann

West Lebanon

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