In the midst of the ongoing effort by the Democrats to impeach President Trump, Paul Simon’s lyrics are relevant. While we tend to view politics as a cynical game, serious psychological issues are contributing to what is currently transpiring.
It takes a special sort of person to work as a politician in the “big leagues.” While there have always been men of integrity in American politics, they are becoming harder to find. Instead, we are seeing increasing numbers of malignant narcissists and sociopaths representing the interests of America. This is exacerbated by an elite that has become increasingly obsessional and morally perfectionistic, and that seeks to silence and punish anyone who does not share its views. Paradoxically, the result has been an increasing level of political corruption together with Puritanical behaviors.
I treat mental illness for a living and am accomplished at recognizing grandiosity and dishonesty. In observing the main characters of the current drama, I see little more than glaring examples of character disorders. Although it is irresponsible according to the Goldwater Rule to diagnose politicians without having met with them, that did not dissuade Trump’s detractors in the mental health profession from diagnosing him with a “dangerous” degree of narcissism.
I do not disagree with their diagnosis of narcissism, and suspect that Trump might not either, but I do not see his behavior as “dangerous” to the country. Historically, dangerous personality disorders in political leaders have included their embrace of rigid ideologies. Trump does not have an ideology. As a businessman, his major concern is money, and he has recognized that political strategies can be effectively linked to economic pressures. He is a nationalist and a patriot, who eschews the power-driven policies of a globalist elite. He maintains a pragmatic grasp of political and economic realities. This has been demonstrated by his ability to negotiate effective deals with world leaders, and success at stimulating America’s economy, which had stagnated due to ideological positions of his predecessor, Barack Obama.
But what about those on the Democratic side of the aisle? One does not have to be a mental health professional to recognize the obvious inability of Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters- the list goes on- to distinguish their ideological fantasies from reality. As for the front running Democratic candidates for President, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, they both appear to be psychologically incapable of distinguishing truth from falsehood, and are as corrupt as any white collar criminals that I can recall-the exception being Hillary Clinton, who based on her continued inability to recognize her role in her 2016 defeat, appears to be totally delusional).
Of course, history is replete with power-hungry narcissists. There was Hitler and Stalin in the last century, and some have argued that Churchill and Roosevelt ran close seconds in their own megalomania. But the latter were not rigid ideologues and there is an important difference between those who are crazy for “the good” and those who are crazy for “the bad.” The present behavior of the Democratic party is unquestionably bad. It is riddled with deceit and display a palpable lack of concern for the welfare of the American public. It also shows little grasp of reality (Trump will not be removed from office, even if they actually impeach him). The country has challenges but by most standards it is doing well. The economy is prospering and there are no new armed conflicts. There are important issues that need to be addressed: health care, border security, China, infrastructure, etc..but the Democrats in Congress do not appear to care. Instead they are obsessively driven by a desire to punish Trump for having honestly won an election based on the will of the American people.
Democratic leaders are instead pre-occupied with greed and power, staples of the narcissistic psyche. Witness the old crone, Nancy Pelosi, who would compromise any of her “values” to remain Speaker of the House. Furthermore, from a psychological perspective, the projections of the Democrats onto Trump’s behaviors are massive, and suggest psychotic and paranoid levels of mental functioning. They know Trump has done something wrong, even if they cannot define what it is. This is simply the stuff that paranoid delusions are made of.
Of course, Republicans are not immune to the plague of mental dysfunction that has gripped Washington. Mitch McConnell is opposed to all ideas that the Democrats offer, while he profits from his family relationships with the Chinese, Mitt Romney is a poster boy for a “false self” and would sell his own mother to be President.
The fact is that American political life is sick and shows no sign of recovering any time in the future. Perhaps the current “trumped up” impeachment process will help alleviate mental pressure by lancing the boil of Democratic paranoia, envy and vengefulness, but that’s doubtful.
It is high time to decide whether the present government is the one that our increasingly narcissistic and ill-informed public deserves. That half the country cannot see that Joe Biden and his “n’eer do well” son Hunter, were engaged in massive unethical dealings in Ukraine and China, or that the Clinton Foundation was nothing more than a corrupt “bank” for the Clinton’s persistently corrupt pay-to-play schemes, suggests that they are either dreadfully ill informed-thanks to an obviously corrupt and complicit press- or too mentally compromised in their own right, to serve as proper citizens in a democratic society.
History teaches us that Empires fail as a result of internal corruption, and America appears to have reached that point as well. There is cosmic justice in this, i.e. karmic consequence, if you prefer. With respect to our dysfunctional political parties, as Shakespeare suggested, “a pox on both their houses.” But if American voters allow this travesty to continue without removing these disturbed swamp creatures out of politics by any means possible, then “a pox” on our own houses, as well.