The Left Coast View May 24, 2016
I decided to start up a blog a couple of weeks ago. I noticed the current election mania was gripping me too, and I was waking in the middle of the night with waves of insights, ideas and a desire to take part in what has become a very divisive process. My personal background, my life experience, my spiritual practice and some dormant but strong debating skills all want to be given voice.
My intention is to create a blog where political and social analysis and commentary can be combined with spiritual and psychological insights.
The first article that showed up was, of course, about Donald Trump. Here it is.
The Psycho-Spiritual Guide To Defeating Poor Donald Trump
The Presidential election process has been nasty so far, and it will probably get nastier when the field narrows down to Donald Trump versus the Democratic nominee, whoever she is.
So far Trump has done a magnificent job of steam-rollering all the other Republican candidates out of his way with a stream of jibes, insults, mockery, made-up stories, bragging and false charges. And he has changed his position on most issues from taxing the wealthy to punishing women who have abortions to torturing Muslim prisoners, sometimes within minutes, as soon as he senses resistance to his opinions or policies.
As long as he keeps the debate on this level of insult, lies, personal attacks and narcissistic boasting, and as long as the compliant media giants such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News continue to give him unlimited time on their programming, and as long as he is able to keep away from having to discuss his own policies in depth, neither Clinton nor Sanders can hope to match him in air-time, free publicity or monopolizing the direction of the election debate.
Although he seems the perfect target for criticism for his attitudes, his prejudices and his policies, nobody so far has been able to make a dent in either his own self-confidence or the massive following he has attracted by preaching fear and hate. None of the traditional approaches of rational argument, fact-based critique, indignation, or even matching him insult for insult (Thank you, Marco Rubio) have worked.
Is there another way to take him on? I think there is. Trump’s persona is built on a massive mountain of ego-inflation. (So massive, for example, that he claims his book, “The Art of the Deal”, is the most important book in the world after the Bible. If he were not looking for evangelical supporters, perhaps he would not even be this modest). Everything he owns, does or says is the best – the very, very best.
On a psychological level, he seems stuck somewhere between ages two and three. The incessant demands for attention, the bragging, the need to be loved and admired, these are all infantile stages of development.
The choice we have is whether to respond through anger or compassion to this very rich but also very poor man.
Righteous anger is the easy way, and as I describe above, it has not worked because this is the dimension that Trump loves to play in. He has become an adept, a self-taught master.
The way to counter Trump is to feel and express pity and compassion for this suffering being.
Since Trump’s ego is built on the core identity of being rich, a billionaire!, to be seen and treated by the world as poor and deficient is a kind of ju-jitsu move that he will not be able to handle. Witness the strong reaction he had when Marco Rubio teased that he has “small hands”.
If enough people begin saying, “Oh poor man, he needs help;” or “I feel so sorry for him. How unhappy he must be to need this kind of attention;” or “What a terrible childhood he must have suffered to turn out this way”, Trump will wilt.
To have people feel sorry for him, to sense that he is pitied not admired, and to know that we all see though his façade to the stunted, unhappy inner child, will side-step all his usual ego defenses. In fact, to be pitied is probably nightmare territory for him.
Of course, we still have to go on rejecting his policies and behavior. But if we can do it with compassion, saying for example, “The poor guy: he must be really afraid of Mexicans” rather than, “What a racist!” or “What terrible pain he must carry inside to want to torture Muslim prisoners or to punish women who have abortions,” we may find a way to change the nature of the debate from Trump’s bullying and self-promotion to public recognition that we have here a man who is deluded, who is in pain and who needs spiritual and psychological help.
He is, indeed, poorer than most of us. May he be free of all suffering. May light enter the darkness.