My daughter saw Trump’s speech at the Republican convention and called him the Antichrist. Now, I don’t believe in the kind of end-times scenario that this idea of the Antichrist involves, and she doesn’t either (I think she saw some Left Behind movies when she was young and got the image that way), but Trump seems anti-Christ in another, more important sense, that he has spent his life bragging about things that Christianity identifies as sin. He believes in pride, revenge, greed, and stealing other men’s wives, and brags about it. His locker room talk wasn’t just about “getting laid” (I heard plenty of that when I was younger) it was about using position, wealth, fame, and power for sexual advantage. It’s one thing to, like Bill Clinton, give in to sexual urges in a position of power, and believe me that was bad enough. (It was costly to both Al Gore and Hillary in their campaigns). But I am inclined to think he was repentant (though with a politician it is always possible to suspect motives). But boasting about evil is, to my mind, a deeper depravity.
Dan P. McAdams is a professor of psychology and the director of the Foley Center for the Study of Lives at Northwestern University. He is the author of George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait and The Art and Science of Personality Development. In the June 2016 issue of The Atlantic, he offers an interesting perspective on Donald Trump.
From the article’s conclusion:
Who, really, is Donald Trump? What’s behind the actor’s mask? I can discern little more than narcissistic motivations and a complementary personal narrative about winning at any cost. It is as if Trump has invested so much of himself in developing and refining his socially dominant role that he has nothing left over to create a meaningful story for his life, or for the nation. It is always Donald Trump playing Donald Trump, fighting to win, but never knowing why.
We, the undersigned mental health professionals (please state your degree), believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 3 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
(1) Cognitive science research reveals that people show an impressive systematic tendency to completely ignore the possibilities they see as abnormal.
(2) Once an option is recategorized as “normal,” people are more likely to choose it.
(3) Trump’s rhetoric may be shifting the boundaries of what the American polity will consider.
(4) Cognitive science research has not yet conclusively identified a good mechanism for combatting people, like Trump, who try to normalize what should be morally outrageous.
A series of tweets by former Congressional staffer Emily Ellsworth explains how to get your Congressional representative to actually listen to you.
I work professionally in information risk management. About a decade ago, I first discovered Peter Sandman. He seems to be the equivalent of Stephen Hawking in risk communication. In July 2016, Sandman diagnosed why the left / liberals have completely failed in their efforts to counter Trump and Brexit. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, his column now seems prophetic.
This is somewhat of a long read, but it’s worth the effort no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. If more people followed his advice, it would completely change the national conversation about politics (and for the better).
Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, Constitutionalist, Socialist, or <insert name of your political party here>, please be very careful about posting “memes” on social media like Twitter and Facebook. Memes are like bumper stickers. They are often catchy and cute. They probably make you feel good. But they oversimplify complicated issues, contribute to the toxic divisions between Americans, and are usually false if taken literally / at false value.
If you do decide to criticize a meme that someone has posted, please remember to try to be respectful to the person who posted. If you want to change the minds of other people, being rude usually doesn’t work very well.
I’m not perfect and sometimes violate the advice I just gave, so posting that was as much a reminder to myself as it was unsolicited advice to others.