Martin Jan Stránský
Publisher, Přítomnost and The New Presence
Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine
Based in Prague
Donald Trump lost the election. Not because most Americans disagree with his policies, but because most Americans simply stopped liking him as a human being. As president, he spread more lies than truths, insulted his opponents, and changed the presidency for the worse. When we consider that Trump’s rhetorical skills are that of a boxing coach and that he can’t put a sentence together without fundamental grammatical errors mistakes (even on Twitter), at the end of the day, he’s truly not what one would call “presidential material.”
What is remarkable, however, is that so far everyone has been afraid (or unwilling) to focus on Trump’s psychological disorder of deeply ingrained pathological narcissism. Just look at his orange hair, “tanned” face, personal preference for the flashy and gilded, choice of wives, constant need to bombard the world via Twitter every day, abject denial of criticism, lying and spreading false news, all this capped by his strategy of putting every member of his family (except his youngest son, who is unfortunately disabled and thus sentenced by him to invisibility) into all possible key positions. In the vernacular, we call such a person a “control freak.” For Trump, the word decency is irrelevant, the motto “less is more” has no place in his world of self-centered hyperactivity.
When people with psychological illness have their outlets taken away – in Trump’s case the endless attention of the office – their pathological condition can be expected to worsen. To the point where everyone will begin to notice. When Biden is finally proclaimed president, the circus of lies, false accusations, and conspiracy theories by Trump will escalate into a new level. Like a child who has a tantrum and starts yelling and holding on to the check-out counter because his mother won’t let him have chocolate, we can expect Trump to dig his heels in and refuse any meaningful presidential gestures, including even not leaving the White House. “The outcome of the election will be decided by the American people. The US government is fully capable of bringing intruders out of the White House, “said Biden’s spokesman Andrew Bates. That could be a sight indeed.
In the final presidential debate, the opponent’s microphone had to be turned off while the other was speaking, this due to Trump’s constant interruptions in the previous debate. Now, the world’s media has started to turn off Trump’s Tweets and statements as well. As soon as he starts lying, off it goes, with a moderator appearing, pointing out the lie or fabrication. Recognized dailies such as the New York Times and The Guardian (UK) have begun to feature unprecedented titles such as “Trump is a liar.” When the most powerful person on earth is getting his microphone turned off and international media is labeling him a liar, what’s going on?
Let’s start by noting that in Western societies, pathological extremists and their parties (in our country Tomio Okamura and others) usually get around 10% of the vote. The question is: How could a psychologically disturbed Trump even become President of the United States? As the only not re-elected seated American president since 1992, he still got almost half of the vote. What does this say about Americans and does it say something about the world as well?
Here in the Czech Republic, we don’t have to look for the answer across the ocean. It’s enough to look up at Prague Castle. When we elect populists who insult us, who do not respect the law, who promote their own non-experts to key positions, when everyone seems to shrug their shoulders in resignation, what does that says about (our) Western culture?
We are at a crossroads. Either we will continue to offend one another and Twitter away into digital toxicity, or we will pause and reconsider the state of the world and our lives in it.
Will the corona virus help us in this?
Can we do it alone, or do we need someone to lead us out of our present state?
If we rely on someone, isn’t it high time we preferred someone who would prefer us instead of themselves?
published: 9. 11. 2020