David Davidson-Methot: Trump is ill — his enablers are the problem
Who could have foreseen what happened in our nation’s capitol on Jan. 6? How could so many Americans, wrapped in the American flag (and the Gadsen and the Confederate and other less well-known banners) and proclaiming themselves to be “patriots” commit such an un-patriotic act?
How could they follow the lead of such an obviously opportunistic and self-serving “leader” as Donald Trump? The talking heads on cable news and syndicated writers are now offering their insights and opinions, but those of us in the mental health profession predicted this over four years ago.
Three years ago I submitted an article, which was published by The Union on Feb. 6, 2018, summarizing the concerns of my colleagues, collected and published under the title, “The dangerous case of Donald Trump” ( Bandy Lee, ed., 2017), and shared my agreement that Mr. Trump was mentally unfit for his office due to his mental disorder (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).
Some of the authors in that volume, foreseeing the danger that has finally been displayed for the world to see, suggested that the 25th Amendment be invoked to shield our nation, and potentially the entire planet, from the danger posed by a man like Mr. Trump having access to the awesome power of the American presidency.
Further volumes, most especially that written by his niece, Dr. Mary Trump, give further insight into the how and why of his personality pathology due to the toxic family into which he was born.
To those who interpret my words as “hateful,” I want to make it clear that I do not hate Mr. Trump any more than an oncologist hates the patient who has cancer. I am a licensed and practicing psychologist who has dedicated my life to helping people suffering from mental illness.
The tragedy is that, at least within the limits of current psychological practice, there is little if any hope of cure for the condition that afflicts Mr. Trump, as it would first be necessary for him to admit that he is ill. That is unthinkable for the narcissist. This is why he blames others when things go wrong but takes all the credit (except when elections are conducted virtually free of outside interference or fraud) when things go right.
My ire is not so much directed at Mr. Trump as it is toward all of his enablers, those who sought to ride his coattails to political power and influence, and most recently, continued to parrot his repeatedly debunked claims of “widespread election fraud” when these claims have been refuted and denied by state elections officials of both parties. I feel for Mr Raffensparger of Georgia!
Those who continued to stoke the flames and repeated known lies are the ones truly to blame for what happened at the Capitol, and those who, through the past four years, stood by and condoned Mr. Trump’s repeated indignities, most especially acquitting him during the Senate impeachment trial. (The sole Republican with integrity was their former standard bearer, Mitt Romney, whom I admire and respect, despite voting against him.) I wonder if Sen. Collins, R-Maine, remembers her own words following that sham of a trial, “I think he’s learned his lesson.” In the words of Dr. Phil (McGraw), “How’s that workin’ for ya?”
Thus, it is my hope that once the investigations are done and the apparatus of ethics committees in the House and Senate have followed their procedures, those who actively stoked the misguided passions of those deluded “patriots” will face whatever consequences are provided, such as censure, expulsion and perhaps criminal prosecution.
People died because of the lies told by Sens. Hawley, Cruz and others, and Reps. LaMalfa, Nunes and others. Are they accessories to murder in the first degree? I believe this was well planned and known in advance. It was not merely a heat of the moment event.
Also, the police response was timid at the least and in no way like what we witnessed last July across the country or even there in the Capitol. That is another area that needs investigation and widespread repercussions. Those responsible must be held accountable. There are many more than just Mr. Trump.
The new administration could not start quickly enough. There is much work to be done restoring American democratic institutions, to say nothing of our reputation and standing in the world at large.
David Davidson-Methot, Ph.D., lives in western Nevada County.
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Is that how I wanted to spend my birthday? Yes and no. The original plan was to take a weekend trip to the coast for a few days of relaxation.