Poor Little Eric Trump!

Eric Trump is getting pounded daily by the press as he basically plays “second-fiddle” to his brother Don Jr. in the Trump family.  Daddy Trump himself is so readily subject to ridicule but then his whole family is tainted by the same syndrome which makes them so readily a favorite target for humor, often vicious humor.  I can’t help but feel sorry for Eric.

Daddy Trump is to blame.  He is a buffoon and is mentally ill.  Most of the country, and the world, knows this and is willing to openly acknowledge it.  But he is the President and the power he has been given is formidable, leaving many of us with only humor and sarcasm as a response.  Unfortunately for his offspring, they are getting caught in the cross fire, much of which they ask for with displays of their father’s lack of self-awareness of what they say and do.

The onus for this mess lies primarily on the Republican Party itself.  Trump’s instability was quite apparent during the whole of the campaign last year but the leadership of the GOP was cowed by his belligerence and lamely fell in line with the rest of the lemmings.  Now they have a mess on their hands and, like Trump, cannot accept responsibility for the debacle, lamely watching as the welfare of the country and the entire world is jeopardized.

Yes, Mr. Shakespeare, life, “is a tale told by an idiot.”

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Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries!!!

Wisdom from Ann Coulters:  All that matters is immigration. It’s all that matters to the country, and it’s all that matters for winning elections.

“Build that wall!”  The immigration issue might be the issue that best illustrates what divides our country presently and “building that wall” was part of the battle cry that rallied conservative hearts to line up behind Trump.  I would quarrel with Coulter by insisting that the issue is only symptomatic of the real issue, that being boundaries, for it is boundaries that are an essential dimension of life.  Even on the biological level, Lewis Thomas in “Lives of a Cell” noted that without boundaries communication is not possible even on the cellular level which would bring an immediate “curtain close” on life itself.

“Build that wall” is the conservative cry to the whole country to respect boundaries.  And it is a valid and necessary concern.  Progressives, such as “moi,” represent the opposite tendency.  Without the two “tendencies” working in tandem only a catastrophe can ensue for either extreme is catastrophic.  Putting it in individual terms, if boundaries are too rigid, psychosis is inevitable.  But, if boundaries are too porous, psychosis is inevitable.  As the Greeks taught us, “Moderation in all things.”

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David Brooks, “There’s Something ‘Rotten’ in the Gop, not in Denmark!”

There is so much internal criticism arising within the Republican Party.  But the divided soul of the party is, like with all divided souls, incapable listening to dissenting voices from within its own ranks.  Sure, Progressives like myself see the absurdity that is taking place in the GOP but we are easily be dismissed by the GOP as “fake news.”  But, when this absurdity is pointed out from within their own ranks one would think it would merit more attention.  But, in a schizoid body like the GOP, there is a chasm between the two dimensions of the divided soul and the one tends to disregard the other.  In an op-ed today in the New York Times, a noted conservative Republican columnist, David Brooks, takes his party to task in very sharp terms for their character flaw which is putting the whole country in jeopardy.

Brooks describes his party as rotting.  “Rotting” is what happens with any divided soul is devoid of communication between its constituent parts and thus cannot communicate meaningfully with the outside world.  The lack of dialogue between these two parts means that the unifying center, the “heart,” atrophies and stagnates even to the point of “rot”.  But when the heart is rotted beyond a certain point, it cannot have the self-awareness that would be necessary to recognize its intrinsic “rottedness.”  It reminds me of something I came across last week in a lecture, “All humans live in a trance and sometimes the trance is so profound that he/she cannot utter the redemptive words, ‘I’m in a trance.’”  For, the “self” awareness has been obliterated and the pain of acknowledging this would be too intense, too disillusioning.  It is human nature, in that dilemma, to merely double-down with his stance and affirm more passionately his delusional ideas while projecting his internal torment on someone else. Of course, Trump and his followers have a simple but effective answer to Mr. Brooks—Fake news!  For anything critical of him is immediately dismissed.  (For Brooks’ op-ed, see link below.)


Posted in conservatism, mental illness, populism, Republican Party, Spirituality and politics, Trumpism | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Why do We Hate Trump so Much?

Simply stated, Trump is an expression of the deepest part of our unconsciousness.  Some of us are unified by our repulsion of what we are seeing in him, others are delighted with what he represents.  The end result is that each side in this collective schism is united by Trump, one side in opposition of him and the other in support of him. Thus, the words of T.S. Eliot point out that we are “united in the strife which divided them.”(divides us)

The hatred that is being evoked from we Progressives merits exploration.  I think one dimension of it is that Trump so brazenly stomps all over even the most basic dimension of what we know as human decency and decorum.  He is not confined within the social contract that most of us are and I think that on some level we who are thus imprisoned resent this.  “Why can’t I give in to my whims and fancies?  Why do I have to dutifully ‘make nice’?  Why can’t I indulge my id, letting it out from time to time, letting it have a little run around the track?”  Meanwhile, Conservatives cannot acknowledge their unconscious whims like this, bring them to the light of consciousness, but they can invest deeply in someone who will do their “acting-out” for them.  Trump embodies all of the worst qualities that they are unwilling to admit about themselves.

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Is it True,”The Center Will not Hold”?

E.J. Dionne has a very good op-ed in today’s Washington Post about the Alabama Senatorial election next week. His presents the notion that definition is on the table again in our country, the meaning of words and ideas, and that Alabama is having the opportunity to impact the meaning of “Republican” as well as “Christian.” As Republicans have fallen in line with their morally challenged candidate, Roy Moore, the lines have been drawn firmly and it is a battle between “us” and “them.”  When that polarization occurs, the loyalty to the “us” that we are included in becomes so important that issues take second place.  It is a battle of wills. “Who will win?  Will my pony in the race win?”  More important concerns like, in this case, the welfare of the state of Alabama as well as the welfare of the country is not so important.

Words do matter.  “Republican” is devolving into a phenomenon that is far removed from Ronald Reagan and certainly Abraham Lincoln.  “Christian” is coming to mean anything one wants, even if it is grossly inconsistent with anything Jesus ever taught.  And with this verbal imprecision, devoid of a core of moral principle, there is the risk that “the center will not hold.”

(WaPo op-ed cited above—https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/who-are-republicans-really-look-to-alabama/2017/12/06/3d655860-dac2-11e7-b1a8-62589434a581_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory)

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Trump and Lack of Self-Awareness

Paul Manafort, under indictment already and out on bail, almost immediately had the audacity to contact the Russian media to arrange an editorial in the American press favorable to himself.  This was clearly contrary to the terms of the bail. Now why would he do this?  This action defies logic, suggesting a total lack of awareness of the context that he is living in, a context that now has him in its legal cross hairs.  But Manafort continues to live in a different universe than most of us, a world in which different rules apply to him.

But this “lack of awareness” is characteristic of Trumpism.  Trump, in particular, and many of his supporters, appear to be totally oblivious of how their words and deeds will appear to others.  They appear to feel they have liberties that will not have the repercussions that most of us would expect.  One flagrant example is Trump’s “liberties” he took in the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant when he succumbed to his prurient interests and deigned to “visit” the dressing room of these beautiful young girls in various stages of undress.  “He” had the liberty to breach this basic rule of decency, decorum, and morality and it didn’t even hinder his Presidential effort.  And yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley attempted to justify the new tax plan with the observation that the riff-raff (my term) merely waste their money by “spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”  Grassley was completely oblivious that his ilk certainly have lots of money, and do spend it on “booze, women, and movies” as well as extravagances that most of us will never know.  If he’d have taken his meta-cognition pill that morning he would have self-monitored and thought, “Oh, maybe that is not the most thoughtful thing I could say.”  And my favorite example of obliviousness occurred in Alabama when a supporter of Roy Moore, accused of molesting and harassing teen girls when he was in his thirties, “we need to make it clear, there’s a group of non-accusers, that have not accused the judge of anything illegal.”  It makes me think of how Iraq and Saddam Hussein appeared, to the outside world, when he won re-election in 2002 with 100 per cent of the vote.  Only someone who is psychotic would not have thought to have adjusted the final count to, say….75%!  But Hussein was in his private world, without an external reference point, a malady which is called “mental illness.”

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T.S. Eliot, “Oh the Shame of Motives Late Revealed…”

The Roy Moore spectacle in Alabama is put a spin-off of the block-buster series now showing world-wide, The Trump Show.  But like all spin-off tv shows and movies, the Roy Moore saga is cut from the same bolt of cloth as the “original series.”  And each of these Shakespearean stage plays offer humankind the humor and the pathos that is endemic to the human predicament.  As I say so often, quoting Auden, “We wage the war we are” and this war fare is spectacular as well as often tragic.

I’m going to focus here on Moore though he is but small-fry on the present stage, reduced to second-fiddle behind the greatest showman since Barnum and Bailey, Trump.  Moore’s life long character flaws are now apparent to all and like all of us he does not like the experience of having them exposed.  Just like you and I, he has lived in denial of them and now that they are apparent to all he merely “girds up his loins” and doubles-down with his hypocrisy and self-righteousness, avowing that Satan is attacking him because of his Christian piety.  And, like is human nature, he readily finds other people with similar character flaws who are willing to line up in support and reassure him even though his deceit and dishonesty are apparent to all.

Shame is the root issue.  Shame, and its kissing-cousin guilt, is what tyrannizes us into the human carnival in the first place and teaches us to “make nice.”  And, that is not as bad as it sounds as the gods knew what they were doing in setting this carnival in motion and inducing us to value “making nice.”  But, in an ideal situation, the shame-bind will not be imposed in such a heavy-handed fashion that with maturity we cannot begin to slough-off some of the superficies our social veneer and begin to “make nice” more sincerely without the compulsion of shame and guilt.  Religion can facilitate this process as it teaches us that the gods…or, in my case “God”…is a dimension of our soul who empowers us with grace to acknowledge and even “confess” our shame and guilt from time to time.  But when a soul is gravely impoverished, wallowing in a tenuous existential hell, this veneer cannot be daunted as the pain is too intense.  We will then just resort to this “double-downing” and do so even to the point of looking foolish in the effort.

Roy Moore illustrates the impoverishment of a faith tradition that can take place over the generations.  His evangelical tradition, with performances such as his and Trump’s are demonstrating how superficial and vapid “spirituality” can become, especially when it is seduced by the “letter of the law.”  The shame and guilt is so intense that admitting one’s shallowness and insincerity is not possible even though this duplicity is intrinsic to the human situation and is the very thing that the gods (“God”) seeks to help us accept and find forgiveness for.  But if we can’t humble ourselves to admit our short-comings then the Grace cannot be experienced.  However, this would be to admit “making a mistake” and Trump and Moore demonstrate just how unwilling many conservatives…and evangelical Christians…are capable of doing.

T. S. Eliot intoned, “Oh the shame of motives late revealed, and the awareness of things ill done and done to others harm which once we took for exercise of virtue.” This is a gut-wrenching insight for all of us.

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