The self appointed belief in American exceptionalism stands revealed as self delusion. The intellectual and cultural impoverishment of a government elite whose members are concerned only with self advancement, When the vacuum created by amoral conduct has the potential to be filled with right wing Christian ideology and messianic delusions, the very soul of America is threatened.
America’s creeping corporate coup d’etat has resulted in a mafia economy managed by billionaire investors. Financial systems are restructured to feed the gluttony of amoral Corporations, the true Shadow government. The Covid Pandemic has understandably averted our attention from the twin threats of nuclear war and climate change, neither of which are diminished. As hurricanes create devastation and fires rage out of control across America the world watches nervously as U.S. President Donald Trump states that he personally would have “no problem” selling the advanced F-35 fighter jet to the United Arab Emirates, a move which would alter the balance of power in the Middle East.
While Trump remains the focal point to vent feelings of anger and disgust, the conditions to manufacture a demagogue were created decades ago. A front man was required who pretended or believed himself to be the voice of the disenfranchised betrayed by the corporate interests of both parties. As the façade was revealed and justified anger surfaced, many predictably turned to Trump in desperation in the hope that he understood their very real grievances and suffering, only to be lied to again.
THIS TIME THERE IS NO FACADE. THE LIES ARE PATHOLOGICAL, DELIVERED BY A LINGUISTICALLY CHALLENGED PRESIDENT, SUPPORTED BY A CORRUPT AND INEPT GOVERNING ELITE, ENABLED BY A CONTRADICTORY FAWNING AND HOSTILE MEDIA.
Trump demonstrates cognitive dissonance daily, the product of an unwell mind. Cognitive dissonance seeks to reject, explain away, or avoid new information, as repeatedly seen in his delivery. An unfortunate effect is that cognitive dissonance is infectious, affecting the listener and exacerbating feelings of powerlessness, a motivating influence urging action to reduce feelings of discomfort. This is the rage which now threatens to engulf America. The complexities of mental health are a minefield even to experts in the field. It is surely incumbent upon Congress to monitor the mental health of the US President, the most powerful man on the world stage, when this is being increasingly questioned. Cognitive health is multi faceted with brain function measured by memory and attention span, the ability to think and speak clearly, learn and remember and interpret emotions. Higher order executive function includes decision making, goal setting, planning and judgement, surely essential requirements for the role of President. Observation of Trump’s behaviour has only increased the concerns of psychiatrists and psychologists.
Donald Trump’s disrespect for any opinion but his own is expressed in cynical vulgarity; eloquence, formerly a mark of high office has been reduced not just to street level but to the gutter. There is increasing agreement that President Trump embodies the traits associated with Narcissism (NPD), a mental health classification of Personality Disorder in which an individual has an excessive need for admiration or affirmation and overestimates his or her abilities. An idealised self image is marked by superiority, arrogance, grandiosity, vanity and a sense of entitlement with a tendency for exploitation. Talking down to or criticizing others, narcissists live by their own morals and values which change as it suits them. There are no clear treatment strategies for Narcissism neither medication or psychotherapy are effective perhaps because to heal, the individual must first acknowledge a disorder.
The idea that America can be saved by a change of government in the coming election is a vain hope since the foundation on which to build has long since been eroded. A Capitalist system which elevates profit over equitable sharing will always place assets in the hands of an elite minority whether Republican or Democrat. Donald Trump is not the disease which afflicts America, he is a symptom, he has revealed the inherent vulnerability of placing almost total power in the hands of one man, capable of magnetising self serving sycophants who have no incentive to remove him. Finer men than Trump have abandoned the sinking Washington ship, acknowledging defeat in the face of a dysfunctional cabinet unwilling or unable to exert their considerable authority in curbing the ravings and threats of their Captain.
Public opinion polls suggest that the presidential election will be a close race. Democrats now fully engaged in supporting Joe Biden must regret time lost in navel gazing while reeling in shock from their 2016 election defeat. Pouring their angst into ‘Pussy Hats’ worn for the Washington March of 2017 arguably lost vital momentum. The hats were a play on Trump’s widely reported 2005 remarks that women would let him “grab them by the pussy” and a statement against the ‘Make America Great Again’ hats worn by Trump supporters. Internal bickering and dissent regarding the relevance of the term ‘pussy’ descended into internal division as critics objected that ‘pussy hats’ do not represent transgender women or women of colour whose “genitals are more likely to be brown than pink”. A sad commentary on the standard of political activism which through its introspection failed to focus and to galvanize opposition to Trump’s presidency in time perhaps to defeat him in the coming polls.
While America is not alone in its failure to serve its citizens, like all empires which have gone before, it remains oblivious to its decline and so will endeavour to maintain the very power that has corrupted it by any means possible. Oblivious to the impending existential threat of Pandemic, Climate change and Nuclear war, those entrusted with governance seek a return to power and continue to fiddle as Rome burns.