The Guilty Pleasure of Hating Trump

An open letter to my fellow Trump-loathers

(Image by History in HD, from Unsplash)

Pseudo-President Donald Trump has proven himself to be deranged. In the language of psychiatry, he’s a malignant narcissist, which means he’s unable to love anything but himself and he has contempt for everyone else, including his family and his many loyal, duped followers. These character traits aren’t strategic or transactional; they’re delusional, pathological, monstrous.

The pieces of evidence that support those accusations I just levelled are abounding. Think of massive pillars, their bases dug deep into the earth and their crowns towering miles above the landscape, holding aloft the judgment against Trump, a judgment carved in diamond tablets that are untouchable by the tribe of blind or disingenuous naysayers. The denunciation of Trump’s farcical reign as a man-child-who-would-be-king is an impregnable fortress.

As a result, for four years I’ve attacked Trump verbally, writing numerous articles explaining the nature and scale of his malignancy and mocking the travesty of his political reality TV show. If you’re reading this, chances are you, too, actively condemned the spectacle of Trump.

But if a mentally handicapped man couldn’t help but spew gibberish on your street corner, would you write reams of derogatory letters denouncing him as evil scum? Would you spit on him and kick his legs out from under him like a bully in public school? Yet we’ve done this or wished it done to the subhuman Trump. We cheered on Robert Mueller’s investigators, hoping the unfit president would be led away in chains.

The trouble is that Trump’s virulent antisocial disorder is the real essence of human evil, as Erich Fromm said when he coined the term “malignant narcissist” in 1964.

Thus, a side effect of this leviathan’s rising above the waves is that the revelation of monstrousness drives the witnesses to madness. In the face of such obscene inhumanity, we fear that our lives have been pointless all along, that our mores and pastimes are just foolish conceits, since a monster came to sit as president in the Oval Office.

We vent our anguish on Trump, on the real-life supervillain who’s simultaneously the greatest victim in the Trumpian era. For who else has been actively loathed by billions of well-meaning people around the world? Who’s been both so rightfully ridiculed and so incapable of understanding the depths of his folly, depravity, and treason?

Naturally there can be no earnest apology to Trump. His cognitive deficits are real, but so is his malevolence; the two are one. But for all the vitriol I’ve heaped on him, I try to spare some disgust and wonder for the world that coughed up that abomination. I try to feel as sickened by my delight and relief in condemning the anti-president and his arrant minions as I am by their desecrations and their misplaced fury.

Just by paying attention to him, we’ve fed his narcissism. Many of us exploit or even profit off of his mental disorders, including the Republican Party, Evangelical Christians, and the corporate media outlets that pretend they’re patriotic rather than crass businesses that relish the ratings generated by that master of political entertainment.

If the noxious and ruinous Trump is the heart of evil in our time and place, the dragon that conquered the mountain of treasure on which he luxuriates, I’m a lowly crow picking at the offal he left behind in reaching that summit.

I’m the fool that insults a tornado for destroying a town.

What does that make you?

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Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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