Donald J. Trump is a little boy who needs to be loved. Never having learned the rudimentary dimensions of making himself loveable, he discovered that he had wealth and privilege to manipulate and intimidate people into a pseudo love. One of the earliest lessons about love takes place when we enter school and find ourselves on the playground where negotiation with others involves a subtly that a child has often not had to deal with before. The rules of “being liked” are not explicit but depend on an emotional maturity to pick up on the nuances of social life. I like to think of it as learning to “make nice,” to not say or do the first thing that comes to your mind when you feel slighted. It involves a tacit agreement to put up with another’s irksome attitudes and behaviors…to some degree…in return for the tacit response of others putting up with yours. This is the nuts-and-bolts of what we call the social contract.
If someone comes along to the playground who will not abide by the terms of this social contract, he will soon be known as a bully. If you are “ugly and your mom dresses you funny” he is the one who will point it out while others will not say a thing, unconsciously knowing that you will not point out their own flaws and short comings. This reminds me of Trump on the “playground” of the debate stage in 2016 when he was rude and obnoxious, breaking all rules of civility and decorum. On any debate stage, the candidates usually have a great dislike of others on the stage but there is an unwritten rule to not attack each other personally. Trump stomped all over that rule and as Senator Lindsey Graham put it, “The rest of ran and hid in the corner.” When faced with a bully, one has a natural response to try to escape.
There is a certain insincerity to, “making nice.” It is not, “telling it like it is” which Trump avowed and which many of his supporters cited as a reason they liked him. “He’ll tell the truth, unlike those lying, hypocritical politicians we are used to,” they said. Yes, but Trump’s “truth telling” is closely akin to that of someone with Tourette’s Syndrome who, severely lacking impulse control, will “tell it like it is,” and announce to a woman he has just met, “My you have a nice set of tits.” This Tourette’s Syndrome man is certainly saying what nearly all other men are thinking but most of us have a social filter and would not say something like that. (And I apologize for the “locker-room talk.” Seriously.)