On Being Wrapped Too Tight

A Baby in a Straightjacket

It was buried in his earliest consciousness that one was either worthy or sinful. One could not be both. Because he had to believe he was worthy of asking to be made president, he was compelled to separate the part of himself that he considered sinful from the part that was worthy.

One side of Hart, the rigid and controlling spirit of his Fundamentalist past, seeks perfection and inflicts harsh self-punishment for any natural pleasure. The other side of him, the passionate and profane side, never saw the light of day as an adolescent boy – indeed, was imprisoned for his first 25 years. That delinquent side began beating on the cell floor and going over the wall…Finally, it went haywire.

Gail Sheehy
The Passage of Gary Hart
Vanity Fair, September 1987

Photo: A baby in a straightjacket

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