If we don’t know already enough about the character of Donald Trump, we now have another glimpse into the dark recesses of his heart with a new book, “The Truth about Trump” by Michael D’Antonio. The author uses Trump’s own words from an interview two years ago to show us just how extensive is the shame-base that governs this man who could soon be the next President of the United States. This shame-base is so deep-seated and pervasive that he cannot acknowledge any wrong or having lost in anything. It boils down to an inability to admit, “I am wrong” about even the simplest matter. Often when it would have been politically prudent to have acknowledged that “I misspoke” or “I now regret having said that” or some other euphemistic say of acknowledging he had made a mistake, he will merely double-down on the matter. At times it has been comical.
All of us have a shame base and it serves a purpose, forcing us to “join the human race” and play by its rules…more or less…even when at times these rules seem to be more than we can bear. But if we cannot play by the rules we will be an “out-lier” and possibly become the bully on the playground who fails to regard common civilities and perfunctory kindnesses necessary to “join in the reindeer games,” those from which Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer was excluded. The playground bully is comfortable with the disruptive influence he has on the play-ground, and even thrives on it in some perverted manner. Those that carry this impudence to an extreme and cross a certain boundary at some point will end up in the principal’s office and face frequent suspension from school. For the “play-ground” must have rules as otherwise the “civilization” that it represents will disintegrate into complete chaos.
In any ordinary “play-ground” Trump would have already been suspended or institutionalized in one of the facilities at which I used to practice counseling for incorrigible teen-age offenders. But Trump stumbled onto a “playground” that was amenable to his excesses, allowing him to reach a point at which he could not be stopped. Oh, sure now his Republican Party is greatly troubled by his presence and by his power but most of them still will not acknowledge that they created an atmosphere in their Party the past few decades that would permit him to climb to power by fostering a culture of dishonesty and hypocrisy which would make someone like Trump viable. If they’d have maintained some basic sense of moral and spiritual integrity, the resulting structure, i.e “boundaries”, would have made it impossible for demagoguery to gain traction. To illustrate, for the past eight years of the Obama presidency they have been passive in response to members of its constituency that insinuated and declared that Obama was not an actual citizen of the United States, was actually a Muslim,. Often I watched the GOP leadership sidestep opportunities to quash this type of non-sense but they would always equivocate on the matter, not wanting to alienate their base who thrives on hysterical non-sense.
But my main concern today is, “Why do intelligent citizens continue to support him when reports such as the D’Antonio book clearly reveal that Trump is mentally unstable?” And furthermore just yesterday a Conservative firebrand, Glenn Beck, described Trump as a “psychopath” about whom he was frightened. Trump’s instability is so egregious that it is commonly accepted but many conservatives sheeplishly declare they are standing firm in support of him, lest Hillary Clinton be elected.. So, where is reason in my country today? Have we lost our mind? Are we crazy?
Well, no. The problem is that “reason” is not the guiding force in our lives and never has been. Our reason is but the surface dimension of life and is always subservient to subterranean dimensions of the heart that we do not wish to acknowledge. As Woody Allen once said about marrying his step-daughter, “The heart wants what it wants.” Or as someone else once put it, “Our thinking is the belated rationalization of conclusions to which we have already been led by our desires.” To put it still another way, our reasoning which purportedly governs our life is always governed by the unconscious. But for many people the notion of being influenced by unconscious motivations jeopardizes their ego-driven belief that they are totally in control of their lives, that they “know” what they are doing, and are “right” about what they are doing and believing. To recognize this hidden dimension of their heart would jeopardize their illusion of being in control. And control is the core issue in this political campaign. It is a battle between people who are firmly entrenched in a now-threatened view of the world that we are in control of our lives and those of us that have imbibed of what I think can best be described as post-modern thought. This modern view of the world recognizes that we only have a perspective on the world and do not see things objectively, making it necessary to lighten-up a bit with our view of the world and allow more diversity that we used to think was necessary or even possible.
And this, my friend, is scary! What makes it so frightening is that the ego can no longer reign in our hearts and lives, forcing us to humble ourselves a bit and see, understand, and experience that our view of the world is very finite and given to being very self-serving. By nature we see and believe only what we want to see and believe. Or, in the famous words of Jesus, we “have eyes to see but see not, ears to hear but hear not.”
NYT book review of D’Antonio book: (See NYT review of the D’Antonio book–http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/26/us/politics/donald-trump-interviews.html?_r=0)