Trumpian Craziness

With hopes for Donald Trump’s reelection headed south, in an orchestrated attack Republican National Convention speakers hurled hysterical, scurrilous, fear-mongering, groundless allegations Democrat Joe Biden will destroy America!  Did Democrat President Obama do that?  How about Clinton, Carter, Johnson,  Kennedy, Truman, FDR?

Classic, ham-handed, Trumpian hyperbole, i.e. Bullshit!

I Won’t Vote For Donald J. Trump

In Too Much and Never Enough – How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, Donald J. Trump’s niece and Clinical Psychologist Mary L. Trump, Ph.D., provides firsthand data confirming thirty-six psychiatrists’, psychologists’ and other professionals’ hypothesis in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

Watch and listen.  “Off script” President Donald J. Trump reads like a challenged third grader.  He is a rude, immoral, lying, bully, misogynistic, xenophobic—the adjectives keep piling up—with zero sense of ethicist or decency.  His continuing denial and failure to lead against COVID 19 are responsible tens-of-thousands of Americans dead and millions suffering.    

See How It Feels (Again)

I like thinking this is worth a do-over.

It’s said, debate arose among Churchmen of Medieval Europe regarding the native language of man.  Greek or Latin?  When prayer, scripture, Plato and Aristotle failed to address their question, the learned Clergy devised a scheme which, a millennia later, became the hallmark of Science: an experiment.

Newborns were isolated never to hear human speech.  Anticipating what enlightened researchers would label “extraneous variables,” the infants were fed, diapered and clothed but otherwise experience the barest of human contact.   Hypothesis: Unsullied by hearing human speech, the subjects would reveal humankind’s native tongue.  The outcome was inconclusive.  The subjects never spoke.  Denied nurturing they died.

A millennia down the road, Bulgaria’s child welfare system deteriorated to conditions eerily reminiscent of this—I hope apocryphal—Dark Age experiment.  In 2007 BBC exposed “Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children.” Vacant-eyed infants peering through cribs bars, naked bodies nodding on cold plastic pots, legs hardly able to support skin-and-bone, emaciated orphans scraping  metal bowls, frantically competing for a fragment of potato.  The psychological impact of this horrendous experience was inescapable.  The Daily Mail’s Rosa Monckton reports,  despite being warehoused cheek-by-jowl, due to a “lack of interaction, children in Bulgarian institutions grow slowly mad.”

The tragedy exposed, organizations and individuals rushed to foster and adopt.  Documentaries recount the myriad physical and emotional challenges American families confronted in attempting to rescuing these profoundly damaged little people.  For me one scene stood out: an out-of-control boy throwing objects, breaking pictures and mirrors, punching holes in the wall.  When a desperate Mom attempted to placate him the seven-year-old punched her in the stomach, “See how it feels!”

For a long time this cryptic exclamation puzzled me.  Surely anticipating that rescuing a physically and emotionally stunted child could well upend her family’s life, this woman who jumping through bureaucratic hoops, assuming significant financial expense, overcoming myriad unforeseen obstacles, was thanked with a punch to the gut!  “See how it feels!”

See how what feels?  Lady with the big house, see how it feels to stare through crib bars for days on end.  Lady in the king-size bed with its sweet-smelling comforter and  half-a-dozen pillows, see how it feels to lie in a moldering nightshirt on a dank mattress day and night.  Lady with cupboards, refrigerators, and freezers stocked to feed an orphanage, see how it feels to experience constant gnawing hunger, to fight over a handful of spoiled beans.  Lady on her sterile white toilet in her porcelain and chrome bathroom, see how it feels to squat amid naked, emaciated, near-zombies swaying on cold plastic pots.  See how it feels to hurt lady!  Really to hurt.  See how it feels

It goes beyond Bulgarian orphans and caring moms.  “See how it feels” is the heart of so much human suffering.  When it hurts too much, we slug someone in the gut.

“See how it feels” is the taproot of abuse.  Through irrational thinking, we believe we can be rid of suffering by giving it to someone else.  Child abuse, spousal abuse, elder abuse, colleague abuse, employee abuse are attempts to, if not alleviate, at least have someone know our pain. Sick, tired, injured, insulted, frightened or just had a bad day, we come home, kick the dog, shout at the spouse, beat the kid.  Some walk into a kindergarten, church or synagogue with an AK47!  See how it feels to hurt, really to hurt!

“See how it feels” triggers violence, rebellion, revolution.  Feeling marginalized, abused, deprived we lash out at power.  See how it feels to be insulted, ignored, used!

“See how it feels” America!  When we crash airliners into your World Trade Center, see how it feels to have one of Earth’s the oldest cities, our home, bombed, demolished, leaving economic and cultural chaos behind.  As you grieve your three thousand, see how it feels to have tens-of-thousands of our innocents massacred in your unprovoked assault.   

In your grand cities with their skyscrapers, streets crowded with cars, sidewalks crowded with shoppers, homes with electric power, hot and cold water, heating and air conditioning, see how it feels to live in mud huts, tents and refugee camps, sometimes for generations.  As you cruise highways paved with asphalt from beneath our feet, see how it feels to walk in sandals down a rutted track.  In your Super Markets, shelves stocked with so much food more than a quarter goes to waste, see how it feels to be painfully hungry, to die from starvation!  See how it feels America.  See how it feels to be marginalized, exploited, humiliated.     

“See how it feels” has a corollary: Misery likes company.  The former attempts to alleviate my suffering by hurting you.  The latter finds vicarious relief knowing others suffer.  Fueled by the paparazzi, devoid of moral stricture, the “National Inquirer” and other tabloids capitalize on this.  At the checkout counter, with a laid-off spouse and three-year-old running a hundred-and-two degree temperature at home, about to charge another cart of groceries to a nearly maxed-out VISA, seeing “Hillary’s Breakdown,” “The Pope’s Love Child,” “Obama’s Porno Addiction,” “Tom Cruse Dying of Aids,” even the rich and famous suffer, offers fleeting respite.

In 1935, misery likes company found creative outlet when Bill W. and Bob S. expanded peer support from church, synagogue, Elks, Rotary and Masons to the suffering’s broader world.  Over ensuing decades their Alcoholics Anonymous model expanded to drug addiction, mental illness, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, suicide, suicide prevention, those impacted by suicide, murder and violent death, grief, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Parents of Murdered Children and more.

Go To Jail

Let’s see?  With Steve Bannon Donald Trump’s indicted, imprisoned or pardoned cohorts approach a dozen.  Toss in a pair of sketchy lawyers, a handful of minion co-conspirators and the corruption relating to Trump’s administration rivals, if not surpasses, Nixon’s and Harding’s.

On Aug. 20 Forbes’s Jemima McAvoy  summarizes:

  1. Trump Campaign Manger Corey Lewandowski has a battery of charges dropped.
  2. Paul Manafort is sentenced to more than seven years for “a slew of changes from Robert Mueller’s investigation including into Russian election interference, tax and bank fraud, and conspiracy against the United States.”  August 18 USA Today reported a Republican-led Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee panel found, “Paul Manafort’s role of Trump Campaign Chair, his longstanding ties to people affiliated with Russian intelligence services and his willingness to share information with them ‘represented a grave counterintelligence threat’ during the 2016 presidential race.”
  3. On a plea bargain, Rick Gates spent 45 days in jail for conspiracy and making false statements.
  4. Erstwhile national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.  The case is in limbo.
  5. Former foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos got 14 days and a year of supervised release for lying to the FBI about Russian contacts.
  6. For a half-dozen crimes, including, months before the 2016 election, buying prostitute Stormy Daniels’s silence about a Trump liaison,  former Trump attorney and intimidator Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison. 
  7. Roger Stone was sentence on seven charges, including lying to Congress and witness tampering.  Long-time pal Trump pardoned him.
  8. Manafort and Gates associates Alex van der Awaan and
  9.  Sam Patten plead guilty to funneling foreign money to Trump’s inaugural committee.
  10.   Rudy Giulanai and two associates charged with campaign finance violations.
  11.  Now Bannon is charged with fraud.

Does Donald know? Was he involved? Is the Pope Catholic?

Donald Trump’s boilerplate responses to troublesome information or allegations are “Hoax,” “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News,” “kill the messenger,” plead ignorance or flee the scene.  When worldwide print and broadcast journalism concur, notions of some Grand Conspiracy, Hoax, Witch Hunt and Fake News—apart from Vladimir Putin’s—are absurd.   

Assuming his patented “kill the messenger” scenario, Donald reverts to a pre-teen bully, arguing, insulting, name-calling, verbally strong-arming questioners, rarely giving truly reasoned responses.

Given a Narcissistic Personality, with exclusive focus on himself Trump’s ignorance pleas might seem a plausible.  At the same time, his Narcissism demands being in command, constantly attending to what’s up. Laying any ignorance defense do rest.

Going Postal

“Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  But, a candidate desperate to disenfranchise voters and rogue Postmaster General can try. 

Ignoring it for three-and-a-half years, three months before a mail-in election President Trump decided to fix the U. S. Postal Service.  Chronically “broke,” for two-and-half centuries America’s Postal system was never broken.  The double entendre here is “fix”.

Characteristically, Donald J. Trump’s attempt to kneecap the US Postal Service before a mail-in election was not subtle.  Naming a million-dollar contributor with neither need nor reason to know a mail-drop from the cuckoo’s nest Postmaster General formed the centerpiece of Donald’s scheme to rig the election.  Eliminating processing machine, confiscating curbside mail boxes and cutting employees’ overtime, effectively slowing delivery, Louis deJoy delivered a ham-fisted punch to the gut of mail-in voters.

Interviewed outside the White House, President Trump told reporters the Postal Service “hasn’t run properly for many years, maybe fifty years.”  Moments later, asked how his overhaul would affect folks receiving Medicare checks, Trump’s reported his Postal System “running very well.”  Which is it Don, “not run properly” or “running very well”?  Any notion the U.S. Postal Service turned a hundred-and-eighty degrees the day de Joy came onboard or over the two months since is absurd.

In this interview, President Trump referred to a mysterious “they” who divert Postal money to states with Democrat governors.  My understanding is, post offices on Long Island in North Dakota or San Diego operate under identical parameters and funding.

Parsing Donald’s word salad ranges from maddening to impossible.  It helps to bear in mind that whatever serves our President’s immediate purpose is his truth.  As the words leave his lips he believes them.  What comes next is a crap shoot.  Fixing a Postal System which has “not run properly” for decades makes Trump look good.  Assuaging voters worried about not receiving checks by mail, a Postal system “running very well” makes Trump look good.

A Disaster

I vow not to be snagged by Donald Trump’s nonsense.  Then he tosses out a new zinger, “Everyone knows mail-in-ballots are a disaster,” and I’m hooked.  The operative term is “everyone,” i.e. Donald J. Trump!  For a narcissist of President Trump’s caliber, he is everyone!

Human inventions, in-person and mail-in balloting have glitches.  Physical handicap, lack of transportation, old age and the leisure to stand in line, sometimes for hours, limit in-person voter turnout.  Beyond the Sun Belt, “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in  .  .  .  November(‘s)” weather can challenge voters’ stamina and commitment.  Curiously, while opposing mail-in voting today, by blaming his 2016 loss of the  popular vote on unqualified folks—i.e. undocumented, dark skinned and poor—visiting the poling place second and third times, Donald cast a ballot against in-person voting.

The democratic and Democratic ideal is having the maximum number of eligible citizens vote.  For decades three-quarters of Americans have enjoyed vote-by-mail options.  In eight states all ballots are mailed-in.  This experience proves that, far from Trump’s “disaster,” mail-in is secure, easy and assures robust participation.  Compounding Donald’s opposition is, mail-in voting might preclude Vladimir Putin’s ballot.

Chris Wallace asked what Trump would do if he lost the upcoming election.  “I’d have to wait and see,” suggests our President may have forgotten his third grade lessons on America’s electoral system.  It’s not your call Don.  The People decide!  Trump’s cryptic response raises the interesting and amusing notion he might show the electorate his middle finger and refused to vacate the White House.  Joe Biden points out our government has mechanisms for removing trespassers from federal property.

For America and our world what could be more of a “disaster” than crazy thinking in the Oval Office.

I’m Scared

Thirty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists and individuals with first-hand experience agree Donald J. Trump  is a malignant narcissist and a Very Dangerous person!  The consequences of his paralysis facing COVID 19 makes this diagnosis indisputable.  I’ve said before, if three dozen certified mechanics told you a vehicle is not only a lemon but dangerous would you buy it?

After riding ol’ Spaceship Earth around the sun eighty-three times, from the end of WWII, Korea, the Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy’s assassination, Nixon, Viet Nam, and the turmoil of the seventies to now, I never felt scared!  For the first time, under the Reign of Donald J. Trump I am scared!  Very scared!



An Older Gentleman

At age 83 some might refer to me as “an older gentleman,” a generous euphemism for “an old man.”  The expression seems to convey respect.  As if by merely surviving seventy years plus I earned respect.  Growing old makes me no more a candidate for respect than being tall, short, female, male or myriad human appearances and circumstance.  Hanging on into your seventies is luck, making not too many dumb choices, and genes.

Scoundrels, tramps, thieves, crooks, liars, rapists and murderers are proportionally represented among octogenarians as the general population.  If a John Dillinger, Al Capone, the Zodiak Killer, Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgway or Jefferey Dahmer survived past seventy would they have earned respect?  How about Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler?

For some, respect seems natural.  Not by dint of age or physical characteristic, but for helping to make this struggle, this human life, a little easier.  Peacemakers, Healers, Jesus Christ, The Buddha, great scientist and artists, Socrates, Aristotle, Mohandas Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. deserve respect.

But how about the rest of us?  How about a toddler in a swing, a teen hunkered over a laptop, a high school dropout, a high school graduate, a retiree making ends meet flipping burgers as Mickey D’s, twenty-somethings starting a family, working moms, working dads, sanitation truck drivers, eighteen-wheel drivers, farmers, migrant workers, the homeless and imprisoned?  Every human deserves no less respect than an older gentleman.

Respect aside, youngsters seeing “an older gentleman” or matron may feel a not-exactly-conscious curiosity.  “What’s it like?  How does it feel?  You look old.  Do I want to go there?”  As memory serves, Dr. Murray Banks answers, “You may say, ‘I don’t want to live past ninety.’  You’ll say it ‘til you’re eighty-nine.”

Teaching respect has evolved.  Until five or so decades back, kids were explicitly taught respect.  “Do as you’re told.” “Don’t talk back.”  “Don’t sass.”  Curious words “sass,” never hear it today.  Cloaked under contemporary culture and adolescence independence, most of today’s kids pick up respect.  It has to be adult modeling.  We’re doing something right.  Only a small subset of today’s youngsters are blatantly disrespectful; they were there all along.

In my view, as respect’s spotlight dimed, for some dis-respect “diss”ing lit up.  Curiously, gangs and individuals with little are no respect for others take affront at being “dissed.”  It goes much further.  Nations dissing others is war.  If nations learned respect, if they stopped dissing, we would have a far more happy, peaceful world.

Like many words I toss out without knowing what I’m talking about, “respect” comes down to definition, to etymology: “re-back” plus “specere–to look at,” to look back, to see again!  To re-spect people, I must see them again!   Amid the incomprehensible complex mix of genes and environment, amid the physical and emotional suffering, I must continually remind myself, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Despite mindboggling complexity, the human equation has common denominators.  In secret, we all know them.  If I see through the straw person I crate to the wounded child inside, if I’m not fooled by your charades, your defenses, if I see that we are all wounded, yearning for kindness, for love, not to be hurt, this human existence, this life, would be better indeed.

Older gentlemen deserve respect.  So do you.  So do we all.