I’m Scared

Thirty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists and individuals with first-hand experience agree Donald J. Trump  is a malignant narcissist and a Very Dangerous person!  The consequences of his paralysis facing COVID 19 makes this diagnosis indisputable.  I’ve said before, if three dozen certified mechanics told you a vehicle is not only a lemon but dangerous would you buy it?

After riding ol’ Spaceship Earth around the sun eighty-three times, from the end of WWII, Korea, the Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy’s assassination, Nixon, Viet Nam, and the turmoil of the seventies to now, I never felt scared!  For the first time, under the Reign of Donald J. Trump I am scared!  Very scared!

 

 

An Older Gentleman

At age 83 some might refer to me as “an older gentleman,” a generous euphemism for “an old man.”  The expression seems to convey respect.  As if by merely surviving seventy years plus I earned respect.  Growing old makes me no more a candidate for respect than being tall, short, female, male or myriad human appearances and circumstance.  Hanging on into your seventies is luck, making not too many dumb choices, and genes.

Scoundrels, tramps, thieves, crooks, liars, rapists and murderers are proportionally represented among octogenarians as the general population.  If a John Dillinger, Al Capone, the Zodiak Killer, Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgway or Jefferey Dahmer survived past seventy would they have earned respect?  How about Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler?

For some, respect seems natural.  Not by dint of age or physical characteristic, but for helping to make this struggle, this human life, a little easier.  Peacemakers, Healers, Jesus Christ, The Buddha, great scientist and artists, Socrates, Aristotle, Mohandas Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. deserve respect.

But how about the rest of us?  How about a toddler in a swing, a teen hunkered over a laptop, a high school dropout, a high school graduate, a retiree making ends meet flipping burgers as Mickey D’s, twenty-somethings starting a family, working moms, working dads, sanitation truck drivers, eighteen-wheel drivers, farmers, migrant workers, the homeless and imprisoned?  Every human deserves no less respect than an older gentleman.

Respect aside, youngsters seeing “an older gentleman” or matron may feel a not-exactly-conscious curiosity.  “What’s it like?  How does it feel?  You look old.  Do I want to go there?”  As memory serves, Dr. Murray Banks answers, “You may say, ‘I don’t want to live past ninety.’  You’ll say it ‘til you’re eighty-nine.”

Teaching respect has evolved.  Until five or so decades back, kids were explicitly taught respect.  “Do as you’re told.” “Don’t talk back.”  “Don’t sass.”  Curious words “sass,” never hear it today.  Cloaked under contemporary culture and adolescence independence, most of today’s kids pick up respect.  It has to be adult modeling.  We’re doing something right.  Only a small subset of today’s youngsters are blatantly disrespectful; they were there all along.

In my view, as respect’s spotlight dimed, for some dis-respect “diss”ing lit up.  Curiously, gangs and individuals with little are no respect for others take affront at being “dissed.”  It goes much further.  Nations dissing others is war.  If nations learned respect, if they stopped dissing, we would have a far more happy, peaceful world.

Like many words I toss out without knowing what I’m talking about, “respect” comes down to definition, to etymology: “re-back” plus “specere–to look at,” to look back, to see again!  To re-spect people, I must see them again!   Amid the incomprehensible complex mix of genes and environment, amid the physical and emotional suffering, I must continually remind myself, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Despite mindboggling complexity, the human equation has common denominators.  In secret, we all know them.  If I see through the straw person I crate to the wounded child inside, if I’m not fooled by your charades, your defenses, if I see that we are all wounded, yearning for kindness, for love, not to be hurt, this human existence, this life, would be better indeed.

Older gentlemen deserve respect.  So do you.  So do we all.

Cops

Apparently, American law enforcement needs dramatic, fundamental overhaul.  I keep wanting to back out of this squabble, but I feel someone should say a word for the cops.

Facing an active shooter, how must it be knowing the folks you’re there to rescue may hate and want to be rid if you?

A fearful old man, when I need a cop I hope one’s there.

Please don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.

Standup

I tried out for the girl’s high school swim team.  Almost made it.  They didn’t like my breast stroke.

Before cars had air conditioning I drove from Reno to Las Vegas.  The sign said, “Don’t drink and drive.”  It was 100°.  I got really thirsty.

Do you have trouble adjusting the temperature of sink and shower faucets.  Turn a handle or knob the circumference of a human hair and instant, slush to live steam!

As I grew older my mind and body became conflicted.  Mind thinks it’s still twenty, thirty or forty, body knows better.  I wake up.  Mind says, “Okay Buddy, time to rise!”  Body says, “You go ahead.  I’ll wait here.”

Law Enforcement and Mental Health

Some suggested that police funding be shifted in whole or part to mental health and mental illness programs.  This reflects a curious logic: Lack of mental health resources and police are the problems.

Policing makes civil society possible.  If you want to undermine and highjack a government, how better than to undermine and abolish its police.  Seeing all officers tarred with the same brush breaks my heart.  The vast majority are good citizens taking a bad rap.

Ronald Reagan knocked Federal funding for mental health research and treatment in the head.  As cash-strapped state programs failed, a large portion of managing our mentally ill fell to police and jailers, folks never meant, trained or equipped for the job.

You would be hard pressed to find a more fevered advocate for mental health research and treatment than me.  After an embarrassing number of hours on the couch, psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Chernel saved my life and launched me on a theretofore unimagined course.  Not that it matters, but in my early forties I picked up an M.S. in Psychology.  Over thirty years I have facilitated peer support groups at The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families.  While the Center does not provide “counseling,” our commitment has assisted thousands through some of life’s most excruciating  times.

We need robust mental health programs; we need robust policing.  Of course, mental health desperately needs more money.  Getting it by reducing or eliminating police is foolhardy.

Admit it or not, we all wrestle with mental issues.  When life’s challenges begins to feel overwhelming, I may again run to a shrink.  When I witness a head-on collision, some jerk is kicking in my neighbor’s door, or my seven-year-old does not get off the school bus who do I call, my shrink or a cop?  For me it’s a no-brainer.

Donald

In Too Much and Never Enough – How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, Mary L. Trump, Ph.D., provides hard data confirming thirty-six psychiatrists’, psychologists’ and other professionals’ hypothesis in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.

I read The Dangerous Case.  What I know of Ms Trump’s treatise comes from “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” and Rachae Madow’s interview.  Regarding our forty-fifth president, I like to believe an aged Armchair Shrink’s observations and opinions do not wholly miss the experts’ mark.

I understand, Clinical Psychologist Mary Trump attributes much of Uncle Donald’s baffling behavior to a learning disability inhibiting his capacity to process information.  As I understand, this incapacity to incorporate incoming data and formulate rational responses often triggers Donald’s sixth-grade Bully defense: character assignation, name-calling, snarling and snapping like a cornered cougar, leaving handlers scrambling to cover the Boss’s ass.

This cognitive limitation may account for verbal outbursts which call to mind a psychotic symptom “word salad.”  It may explain our president’s failure to read the Daily Briefings essential if not vital in managing myriad mind-boggling issues.  It could account for verbal quantum leaps among unrelated topics in 2 a.m. Tweets, speeches and Oval Office business.

You might expect, with a lifetime of practice Donald has perfected Orwellian “doublespeak.”  He hasn’t.  Nevertheless, at a rally, performing for minions, “Let Trump be Trump” works.  Forget facts or logic.  People who yearn for his lies always believe.  Attempting to make sense of his nonsense, the unanointed are flummoxed, caught with a haunting sense of being gaslighted.  And of course we are.

Facing reporters Donald is gobsmacked, not by complex questions but his inability to retain and process information, to understand a question and formulate an answer.  NBC’s Peter Alexander asked, “What do you say to people who are frightened?”  A softball other presidents would drive over the center field wall, indeed welcome as a chance to sound presidential.  Falling back on his standard, “If you don’t like the message kill the messenger” fallacy, Trump’s response, “I say you are a terrible reporter!”   Peter’s turn to be gobsmacked!

At an April 6 White House briefing, ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked President Trump to comment on Health and Human Services Deputy Inspector General Christi Grimm’s report that 323 hospitals experience supply shortages and testing delays in responding to the COVID 19 pandemic.  Again, to “kill the messenger” Donald challenged Inspector Grimm’s credentials and Karl’s validity.  “What you said is a disgrace  .  .  .  (you are) a third rate reporter .  .  .  who will never make it.”—Unlike you Mr. President, Mr. Karl has.

A CBS reporter asked, “What do you tell parents and teachers who feel it is unsafe to go back to the classroom?”  The president’s reply, “I would tell parents that you should find yourself a new person, whoever’s in charge of that decision, because it’s a terrible decision.”  Unpack that if you can!  If memory serves, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s opined, “In other words parents should find another person to make the decision that a parent should make!  Revealing a clear and complete inability to process information, to process the words that were just sent to him. .  .  . words he could not process!”

Currently Epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci wears the bull’s-eye for arrows from the Trump Team’s “kill the messenger” bow.  Given available data, of course, Dr. Facui has been mistaken.  It comes with the territory.  Slandering and insulting a professional who has devoted his career to studying, mediating and stopping epidemics and pandemics falls in the range of absurd, ridiculous, asinine and is inexcusable.

Why did Donald not take early and aggressive action to stop COVID 19?  Initial reports and warnings were sketchy.  Even a rational mind had reason to pause.  This said, facing daily briefings and growing alarm over its seriousness, for the first three months of 2020, President Trump reassured Americans the virus was “contained,” no threat , would vanish like a “miracle.”  By January 27, mounting warnings triggered Joe Biden’s “USA Today” op-ed calling for decisive steps to contain and control the virus.

Donald did not take early and aggressive action against COVID 19 because the mounting implications for COVID 19 meant change, fundamental change.  More than most, even Conservatives, Donald’s gut-level defenses are structured around predictability and change is unpredictable.  Whatever the cost in truth, integrity, even life, this ultimate anathema, change, must be vigorously resisted and denied.  Worshipers shoulder-to-shoulder by Easter.  Workers back to work.  Kids back to school.  Life back to normal.  COVID be damned!

Bred and weaned amid the amoral, cutthroat world of New York City Real Estate, for Donald Trump financial wealth, being “rich,” is the Crown Jewel.  Honesty, character, integrity, do the right thing, are costume jewelry.  Clearly, embracing face masks and social distancing to control the COVID 19 virus would drastically scale back his vaunted economy.  Ironically, Donald’s refusal to take preventative measured early on—as South Korea’s and other leaders did—his denials and paralysis, his fear of change, became the sledgehammer which crushed his Crown Jewel.

Each of us inhabits a peculiar reality. The nature and impact of our first two decades of life, especially the first decade, is unique and decisive.  Like all of us, Donald Trump could not have survived those formative years un-traumatized.   A few appear less challenged, most do okay, life kicks the hell out of some.  I number Donald John Trump among the latter cohort.

There’s Hope

Every American should hear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s July 23 address to Congress.  In light of continuing, mindless, Whitehouse babble the freshman Congresswoman’s articulate, intelligent, heartfelt address portends inspiration and hope.

Equally inspiring and hopeful, having survived the losses of a wife, daughter and son, after thirty-six years in Congress and eight as vice president, Joe Biden retains the strength and resilience to step in and clean up Trump’s disaster.  It would be reassuring to know that a woman with the intellect, courage and spunk of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands a heartbeat away.

 

Policing

Without rules and folks to enforce them civilized culture cannot exist.  Those who call for defunding and disbanding police would end the rule of law in Portland.  Unrestrained by laws and law enforcement, a handful of sociopaths and those too lazy to “earn” their living would be freed to destroy and pillage what conscientious citizens worked hard to get and create.  West Hills to Mt. Tabor, Milwaukie to the Columbia, no home or businesses would be exempted from the pillage and tragedy which has disgraced Downtown since spring.

Ironically, the mindless minions who cry out for no police, no government, don’t really want it. After Seattle’s government stepped back, allowing rioters to commandeer and govern several blocks, the mounting number of murders compelled the police to step in and save “The People” from themselves.

Under anarchy, only those with the most muscle, the most assault rifles, the most bombs, only the Biggest and Badest, thrive.  Those who survive suffer and scramble for scraps—no stretch I suspect, for many of Portland’s rioters.  If you doubt the end point of anarchy, look to several Central American, South American and African cities and countries.

 

Troops and Thugs

Implications for Trump’s Troops in Portland goes beyond alarming.  If they weren’t here, however, the mindless Thugs who demonstrate no respect for business and private property would sack and destroy a Federal Court House essential in the recording and proceedings of civil government.

What next?  State and City Court Houses, Federal, State and City Offices, City Halls, Police Stations, where would it end?  Do they intend to dismantle and eliminate American government?

Murders of George Floyd, Rashard Brooks and Black Lives Matter were the springboard.  Today it’s not that at all, not by light years.  The bottom line, why and who’s behind it?

Is this what we want?