Monday, July 25, 2016

Amerika and Other Nightmares

Click your heels Richard. Maybe you will awaken back in Brooklyn in the 1940s, when America had just awakened to its real threats from abroad (as distinct from the Trumpian nightmares conjured by that carnival barker).

I have been thinking about writing an addition to my blog, but our world has become so bizarre that I really have become clogged. Mostly, I have been struggling to figure out what has happened, and how much of it is real.  For months now, concluding with that bizzaro Republican convention, I have been watching our world of democratic politics play out and fall apart, orchestrated by Fox News and the Trump Nightmare Express.  I still don’t know which is worse—Donald Trump or Fox News. Both seem to me to be existential threats to our democracy.

But I think what is even more troubling is the role being played by ordinary (Republican) citizens of the realm.  When I listen to those folk being interviewed about why they plan to vote for Donald Trump, I am struck by an otherworldly tone to these conversations. It is as though the folks understand they are being conned, but no longer care.  How does one know when Donald Trump is lying? Well, whenever he opens his mouth and words begin tumbling out, he is lying. And it is so abundantly clear that is the case, it must be that everyone is aware of that characteristic. He lies folks, all the time. He doesn’t even disguise the fact that he is lying.  He seems not to care that everyone knows he is lying, so long as nobody says anything directly to him. Then he becomes cranky.

He is the dictionary definition of a narcissistic sociopath. And what is that, you might ask?

Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Characteristics include: 
1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

4. Requires excessive admiration

5. Has a sense of entitlement

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends

7. Lacks empathy

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes 

Do those characteristics seem familiar, as in every time the Donald shows himself in any public setting? And then we might add his apparent sociopathy. And what might that be?

Sociopathy is a mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior. Examine how he deals with his business associates. Mainly, he seems to treat almost everyone with disdain, as though they simply do not matter.

All of these characteristics were on display during and preceding the convention. So, virtually all of his (very serious) flaws have been on public display for some time, including much evidence of his fatally flawed business dealings—the fraudulent Trump University tops the list of late, but his multiple bankruptcies, his constant lying about his financial status, his failed marriages, all point to a man who seems incapable of actually managing/running anything. So, tell me again why anyone would decide that he should be running the country, running our foreign and domestic affairs, overseeing and directing our military, when he is simply incapable of running anything, and has proven that incapacity over and over again?

What in heavens name are people thinking?

The only conclusion I can reach is that those people do not actually want a President. They want a God of some kind who can wave magic wands to make the unlikely likely. Now it may also be the case that they want a magician who will con them so that later they can claim to have been conned (didn’t happen on my watch folks. I was conned by the best conman in the world). It may be akin to what happens when people click “like” or “share” on the Internet and claim they are sending off prayers—which means they are punting the problem upstairs—no longer my responsibility folks.

Think of what might have happened in 1940 if the American people had elected a Donald Trump as President. America might well have simply disappeared as an active democracy. And that is the precise risk we now run in even thinking about electing this narcissistic sociopath.

This all is very sad, of course, but sadder yet is what it says about that institution we came to know as the Republican Party. That political entity seems no longer to exist in any real sense.  I imagine the dead now spinning away in their graves. That the party officials gave away their party to the likes of the Koch brothers, Rupert, and now The Donald is way beyond sad.  It is a tragic loss to our Nation.

We now have one real political party remaining, and that party is under attack by anti-American right wing fascists. That attack is trying to destroy the only political party left in our threatened democracy.  Whether the attacks are supported/funded partly by Vlad the Impaler Putin as has been claimed seems even more weird. Think of that—the Koch Brother (Nazis by almost any definition), Rupert Murdoch, and Vlad Putin align themselves in a quest to destroy American democracy. Now that is way beyond just weird.  It’s the stuff of Randian novels.

Stay tuned.
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