BY VERN TURNER
All of us have an ego, the Freudian “invention” that drives our own self image. Some of us let that sense of self drive us to an overly complex self-image, or a self-image that is distorted by the elements whirring around in our own minds. Sometimes, that egoism can lead us into unhealthy situations where we deny ever doing anything wrong, or prop ourselves up as the most important person in the world, or, as with most of us, merely the feeling that we are more wonderful than we really are.
At some level, this inherent egoism crosses a line into pathology, a line that causes others harm as well as harm to the individual in question.
Most of us have a braking mechanism on our egos and when it gets too far away from acceptable norms, somebody or something comes along and smacks us around until we realize we’ve exceeded our boundaries. But what if there were none of these braking systems? Instead, what if our egos were constantly enabled and catered to by outsiders … for our entire lives?
We have to look no further than our current president to see the outcome of someone’s ego that was allowed to cross over into the realm of pathology over a very long time. Including this latest cruel “executive” order to cut health care benefits and upset the already unstable health care insurance market for the sake of undercutting and sabotaging the Affordable Care Act – a law, president Donald Trump has removed all doubt, that his long-time enabled ego has not crossed into and flourished in the realm of pathology.
So much for the obvious. We know that Trump’s mental state will never allow him to admit any mistakes. That would blow his whole self-serving imagery apart. His minions know that and thus try to keep him in line such that he won’t blow up the country or the world on an ego-driven whim.
Then, there are the slowly shrinking number of Trump supporters who are fine with all of his whims, ridiculous statements and lies. Most of the 62 million voters who picked him to be president are not recognizing the obvious error they have made with their vote.
Why not? Isn’t threatening the world with nuclear holocaust enough? How about the revolving door of executive branch employees; remember when he said he’d bring in the best people? Or what about all those State Department positions not filled, and no nominees are even in the works? Saving money? Really? We don’t even have an ambassador for South Korea, our ally in the crosshairs of North Korea’s maniac leader.
Not enough? How about the obvious prejudice exhibited against helping Puerto Rico recover from their worst disaster ever or at least since we invaded it in 1898? The false outrage about football players quietly protesting the unequal treatment of black people by law enforcement created another false argument about disrespecting the flag, the anthem and our troops among the Trump-ites. Even the troops are agreeing that they fight for the right to protest.
Not our ego-driven president … He wants to fire those damned, disrespectful football players, especially the ones he called sons of bitches. How’s that for grace, class and real leadership? Ego.
So many of the people who supported and still support this president have a real conundrum. The ones paying attention to the behaviors mentioned above – and others of equal absurdity – are caught in the vice of not wanting to give up their reasons for why they voted for Trump in the first place versus seeing who they voted for behave like a petulant child while systematically destroying so much good, hard work from previous administrations, especially the last one.
Ah. That last administration was that of Barack Obama, our first non-white president and one of the most respected and liked presidents in our history.
But Barack Obama made the terrible mistake of teasing [Trump would say “humiliating”] Donald Trump at the large press banquet a few years ago.
Trump’s ego is so massive and his skin so thin, that he went forth with the much ridiculed “birther” movement to claim Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States – despite all the evidence. Then, when the stars all aligned and threw up on themselves allowing Donald Trump to be president, the ego-voice went to work undoing everything Obama. Be assured, he will do that until his last moment in office.
Barack Obama is Trump’s Nemesis in the true, literal sense. That’s the vindictive part of the egoist’s pathology; it’s the only way to overcome the “wounds” the poor thing has suffered.
As we’ve seen, Trump’s vindictiveness continues unabated against anyone, senators, mayors, Democrats, Republicans … virtually anyone and everyone who disagrees or pushes back against this ego-driven bully.
But there is more for the Trump-ites to consider, especially the good, rational supporters who thought they were getting the change they wanted.
First, there is the racial thing. The Trump voter was typically white, male and middle to upper class. They were also located in the states that tend to be Republican or in parts of “blue” states that are “conservative.” What is unfortunately common to these regions and the demographic mentioned is the race card. The hatred for anything not white showed through during the campaign and after the election, because Donald Trump enabled racial divisiveness and hatred. Irrespective of all the e-mail and Russian hacking issues, the Republican Party brilliantly framed the campaign as Hillary Clinton = four more years of Barack Obama. Bingo!
Even so, Clinton won the popular vote by almost three million votes. She received more votes than any single candidate ever and that was with 47% of the electorate staying home. The flawed Electoral College gave us our second minority president in the last three elections; George Bush’s record of illegal wars and economic disasters have been thoroughly examined. How, then, will the good people who voted for Trump reconcile the current and looming disaster of this administration?
Will they finally see that their personal prejudices are not good for the nation as a whole and vote for the best candidate for every level of government that works for the betterment of our country and not selfish bigotry? How will the upcoming elections save the country and our local communities from being dragged back to the 19th Century where we snubbed those in need and didn’t invest in our people? How will these folks come to realize that patriotism is both personal and national and vote appropriately to it?
It’s hard to admit mistakes, but those who do exhibit superior character of being than those who don’t and continue to wallow in their self-centered, egoistic selves to the detriment of us all.
The election of Donald Trump is the best/worst example of how self-centered egoism can destroy a democracy.
– Vern Turner lives in Denver and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.