By ANTONIA WILLIAMS-GARY
Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the USA, has now been called every name in the book. And it’s only just been a month! I read or listen to various news outlets, all liberal mostly real, and perhaps some fake news, and I have read so many words and color commentary to describe the man that I’m overwhelmed.
Only a few of them of bear repeating here.
Judging by the mountain of published material defining Trump as all of the above, depending on which side of the political divide you sit on, people love him or hate him, with very little shade of feeling in between.
Since the past election cycle ended on November 8th, I have been sufficiently schooled about the merits of getting a balanced point of view and so, I am committed to expanding my sources for news.
I know I’m missing out on ‘other’ perspectives by not watching FOX News, or reading Breitbart News, or The Nation, to name a few which slant conservative.
I have tried. But every attempt causes me too much psychic pain. Yet, I pride myself on being open minded, so I will give some of them another try. Sometime in the future.
But for now, back to some of those words.
Take “Crazy”, for example. The general public is quick to call him crazy (like a fox?), and apparently 35 mental health practitioners joined in by signing a letter attesting to Trump suffering from some type of mental illness. (They have all since been reprimanded because they violated the profession’s code which requires examination before diagnosis, but the damaging information has been added into the public domain). One of the editorials in this past Sunday’s NYT includes an opinion from Richard A. Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry, who admonishes all of us from speculating about Trump’s mental health. We are warned against giving his behavior a legitimate, or even casual psychiatric diagnoses, which so many are eager to do.
I agree with the columnist who warns us against falling into the easy trap of medicalizing Donald’s bad behavior, excusing it as just another easily diagnosed condition subject to treatment. He reminds us that there is a moral obligation for human beings to behave decently, regardless of any brain or mental defect. The author further reminds us that several former Presidents before Trump suffered from some spectrum of mental illness: from depression (Lincoln) to alcoholism (Grant), to name only a few.
Friedman further wrote that we must not try to define, analyze or minimize any of his objectionable behaviors. So, if we accept that the wide spectrum of mental illnesses are not in and of themselves disqualifiers from serving in high office, then what do we make of Trump and his behavior?
I wonder if even there is an adequate psychiatric diagnosis or label that would fit this person who is serving as the leader of the most powerful country in the world. And therein lies another problem. The moment we accept that we are “the most powerful”, the weight of responsibility resting on the person at the head, could tilt the most balanced and sane person into distorted thinking- after assuming the job.
Bingo! Donald suffers from being a bad human being. And that brings me back to another one of those words used to describe Trump: “Liar”.
Once, I served as a non-lawyer member of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners where, among other duties performed, we judged the character and fitness of people applying to become members of the Bar. Many types applied: reformed thieves, former financial profligates, previous illegal drug users, and yes, even some who were being treated for some form of mental illness.
One of our panel’s lawyer members constantly reminded us that almost everyone can be reformed, or redeemed, but that a liar cannot be rehabilitated.
Of all his objectionable behaviors, and there are many, the fact that Trump cannot tell the truth is the most troubling to me. Not my truth. Not your truth. But universal truth: that more than half of mankind is not born evil; that the world is not divided into a bad ‘them’ versus a good ‘us’; and that (his) ‘us’ is always right or must be triumphant; that telling/reporting the truth is not another ‘evil’; that every religion is an instrument of mankind; and that neither he, nor you or me, is the center of the universe.
We know what we have with Trump. We know what we need to do.
Lo, I say, we must not become numb to the consequences of adopting the ‘ignorance is bliss’ syndrome. Stay woke.