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Trump a Person

August 4, 2016

As it happens, I’ve been sick in bed all day, with a vertigo that hits me now and then, and when I’ve been able to think, my thoughts have tended to turn to Trump, and I’ve gotten up because I want to say, at the moment that I’ve realized it, that I’m narrating about Trump a person now, not just, but much more than, Trump a candidate and therefore Trump a character.

He’s in trouble.

So yes, we’re in trouble.

So now we see whether all of us, but especially the Republicans, can recognize that reality, and respond to it with compassion and something close, one can only hope, to wisdom.

I’ll add to this page when I feel able to get out of bed again. The thing passes.

*         *         *

Next mid-afternoon: Not exactly a “new man,” but much improved. After coffee (of which I had only a few sips yesterday) and perusing the news, I haven’t changed my mind, so, to continue that thought…

This is not your granddaddy’s American Presidential election. (It isn’t even my granddaddy’s.) We have a candidate of a major party whose extreme and destructive, ego act-outs in public suggests a high likelihood of serious personality disorder, in the person, which makes his position of influence and range of activity dangerous to the citizenry and probably to himself. He appears unable to separate his inner personhood from his public action, because his unhealthy personality traits overwhelm his public life.

It’s like he is riding in the back seat of an erratic taxi, at high speed. The driver is himself. They careen off the end of a dock into the East River. He is in over his head.

He seems carried away by individual subjectivity, in a public world of collectively constructed facts.

If he were a family member or close friend, we would see that reality, and do what we could [ * ] to intervene and seek professional help. Alas, chances are, we would not be successful, unless he desperately wanted to change and to seek help in making healing changes. But this man is an agent of a political party that has the ability, and the responsibility, to remove him from his position of public power.

I’m suggesting that, as fellow citizens and persons, and especially if we are politicians, in this unusual reality, in our responses to Donald Trump we should first and last affirm his troubled personhood, which is, after all, what makes him dangerous and unfit to serve.

We’re not reading a novel here, or watching television.  This is (un)real life.

Above all we should not demonize or shame him (I expect to be thinking more about that on another page).

I don’t know if his family has what it takes to help in so difficult a case and situation. Some family members might, themselves, be troubled in related ways (like adult children of a violent alcoholic, for instance). They have received their point of view from the father.

His advisors are mercenaries, including Paul Manafort, whose experience with the personalities of dictators doesn’t seem to have helped.

The main responsibility must be borne by the Republican Party; but alas, they exhibit disorders that are similar to their candidate’s: e.g. they cannot admit error, and instead they blame someone else. They, too, are a difficult case.

The Democratic Party also bears a responsibility, to protect the citizenry from a Trump presidency, but in such a way as to model democratic and personal civility. Democrats should be appropriately critical (very critical), without exploiting the situation in order to “score points.” This includes keeping Trump himself, as an issue, well within the context of the crucial issues of, e.g., climate change and the economy.

Neither Trump now Donald is a danger to me, I’m just a narrator here. Whenever the book is closed, my narrating (with its flaws) is complete. But this is bigger than a novel, it’s what makes novels meaningful and important. Above politics and art, for our own sanity we must attend to soul in persons, especially in its pathologies. In our personal and national conversations, stories, and images, we must opt for compassionate healing and wholeness, of persons even more than of societies, to the fullest extent of our ability. We must know that sometimes we fail.

(Incidentally, this is the second of four days of the Navy’s stunt flying team doing its routine at tree-top level above my house, for Seattle’s Sea Fair. I mentioned them a year ago. The planes come across fast but so low—and sometime upside down—that I can easily watch the pilots. Who would have thought that people could hurl themselves through the air like that? The engines are amazingly loud. Just think, if they were also dropping bombs and firing rockets. Very stressful.)

[ * Update 8-7:  For example, this attempt to approach this troubled person with empathy and without demonizing or shaming.]

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