[How the unthinkable happens. Image source.]
And so it has come to pass.
This year, the citizenry of the crumbling empire elected as their leader an agent of destruction — to speed up the crumbling process and bring it to its conclusion, the full shape of which remains to been seen.
There has been palpable, at least to some — and I don’t mean Trump’s fans — inevitability to Trump’s presidency. It was apparent that The Donald would be selected for this mission of destruction the moment one saw him on stage with the other GOP candidates. There was no doubt he would vanquish them — not because he was a better candidate, but because he is so pathological. His character defect assured that. There was a small chance that enough American voters would be repulsed by that defect, but it quickly became obvious that in the eyes of too many it was the most desirable asset in a presidential candidate.
I started writing on this blog somewhat against my better judgment, what with it taking so much time ‘n all, compelled by the need to communicate just how dangerous President Trump would be.
And I want it to be on record that I did what I could to prevent the Trumpocalypse, which I saw brewing the moment Agent Orange stepped out on the national stage as a serious, this time, candidate.
Dr. Burkle, whom I have been privileged to know and work with, and I sent articles and op-eds to American papers and media outlets describing Trump’s character defect, its predictable influences on our electorate, and its dangerous ramifications for our future. Our letters were not published, and most were unacknowledged, as the press continued to be baffled by the man’s popularity and touted, especially toward the end of the election, Hillary’s sure victory. (The way I see it, if you refuse to listen and learn from people with hard-earned expertise, which includes, in addition to professional credentials, a lifetime of tireless world-wide work to save and heal humanity wounded by mayhem caused by psychopaths and narcissists in positions of power, you forfeit the right to denigrate the “poorly educated” supporters of Trump. At least they have a legitimate excuse for their ignorance.)
Part of my sense of the inevitability of Trump’s Presidency stemmed from my interest in narcissistic psychopathy, an interest which was fully engaged several years ago when I came upon the so-called manosphere and discovered how that vast and growing area of cyberspace was inhabited by men (and some women) with this distinct but not well understood character defect.
That chilling discovery led to further explorations revealing the manosphere’s overlap with the alt-right and other hate movements, all of which are led and populated by individuals exhibiting unmistakable signs of this character pathology. It is a rarely stated fact that mentally healthy, or even normal, people do not join these groups. (This knowledge is also something that PC-minded liberals recoil from. It is not uncommon to hear a bleeding heart, ableism-inspired liberal exhort that psychopaths are people too, we should not pathologize them, etc.) Contrary to the prevailing pundity / Democratic wisdom today, this defect has little to do with one’s education and socioeconomic standing; and even though it is most commonly associated with the right wing of the political spectrum, those affected by it can be found on the left as well, just not as frequently.
It was obvious that Trump was Da Man for this segment of our population, which is always larger than we want to know. He used their language and expressed their desires, especially the unspoken but palpable one: for revenge and destruction that would heal their narcissistic wounds.
There is no force in the human universe more powerful and deadly at the same time than that of narcissistic rage — and that rage is the fuel of Trumpism (and fascism, and Communism, and other similar destructive -isms). Democracy and civilization are more fragile than we’d like to believe, and are certainly no match for the lethal power of this rage, especially when it becomes normalized and weaponized through totalitarian movements and regimes.
This week, I attended a gathering of liberal-minded folk that took place in a genteel setting where people were reassuring each other about the strength of our Constitution and laws and other protections inherent in our imperfect but enlightened system of government. And my mind couldn’t help but wander to familiar scenes of primitive rage destroying just such people and settings, a deed that’s frighteningly easy, particularly when done under the cloak of political necessity. Evil is most effective and proficient when dressed up as such. As Teju Cole writes in his NYT essay, A Time for Refusal,
Evil settles into everyday life when people are unable or unwilling to recognize it. It makes its home among us when we are keen to minimize it or describe it as something else.
When (not if) President Trump starts dismantling our democracy and threatening the precarious stability of the world, I will find no consolation in repeating “We/I told you so.” But I will take a moment here to briefly (though half-heartedly because I don’t really believe Trump could have been stopped) apportion some responsibility for this sordid state of affairs:
1.to the media — for normalizing this deeply pathological character and thus paving his way to power;
2.to mental health experts (not all) — for failing to see and/or adequately describe the dangers posed by the candidate’s character defect;
3. to various “normal” Trump’s associates — for knowing for decades just how disordered the man was, but pretending he was perfectly fine because their paychecks depended on it;
4. to Democrats – for nixing Bernie and for “taking Trump literally but not seriously;”
5. and last but not least — to those who voted for him, deceived by their misguided hopes, deluded thinking and/or deficient consciences. This includes “disenchanted” Democrats, like the woman who, when interviewed this week by NPR about her voting choice, explained that Hillary was not “charming enough.” Thankfully, narcissistic psychopaths have charm in spades, so she, like other charm-craving voters, should avail herself of it to her heart’s delight during the Trumpocalypse.
Predictably, further normalization of the profoundly abnormal continues and will progress until something dramatic brings to a stop. Now that this narcissistic psychopath has achieved his ultimate dream (so far) and the highest position of power achievable on Earth, we are being told to accept him and give him the chance to govern.
The offensive bizarreness of this call is breathtaking. We have handed a disordered toddler-man the world with its weaponry as toys to play with, and insist that he should have that chance because he is Really Important now.
Let’s be clear: #notmypresident is not just a movement of political activists disappointed that their candidate lost, but a swell of humanity concerned about its survival under the reign of a profoundly defective, conscience-free, and adulation- and power-driven character and his equally defective cabal.
Speaking of which: notice the forming of the narcissistic power circle around The Big Psychopath (TBP). His conscience-impaired sycophants are claiming their well-earned positions of influence, jockeying for power as they always do, while kowtowing to TBP’s huuge ego.
The disordered characters whose blatant lies and manipulations we were forced to endure during the election are here to stay and further shape the public discourse. This will take a form of a well-oiled propaganda machine supporting TBP’s agenda and covering its pathological aspects by more lies, deflections, denials, and obfuscations, of the kind we’ve seen a lot already; plus the predictable glamorization and glorification of his inhumane policies, soon to blitz us 24/7. The resulting schizoid split between reality and its propagandized version is familiar to every sensitive enough (i.e., conscience-equipped) citizen of a totalitarian regime.
My favorite economist with a heart, Yanis Varoufakis, wrote a piece on how Trump victory comes with a silver lining for the world’s progressives. In it, he outlines his vision of progress through trauma of Trumpism — and it is one to which I’m somewhat partial. I agree with much of what he says there, although I also believe that Varoufakis, overexcitable idealist as he is, may be overly optimistic about our future rescued from destruction by a Progressive International.
A more realistic, thus bleaker, vision was presented in the comments by the brilliant response from one Stephen Morris, which I’m reposting in its entirety. Even though Morris speaks of the EU, his observations are applicable to the US and the world at large, and, in general, to humanity as such:
See also Masha Gessen’s piece on Autocracy: Rules for Survival.