Political opinion by Richard Bleil
Let me begin by stating, categorically and for the record, that I am not a psychiatrist. No training, no education beyond a first-year psychology course that I took for general education credit. Neither am I a political scientist. Again, no training or formal education beyond a first-year political science course that I took for a general education credit and failed. I am, however, and American, and as such I am not only allowed to be critical, but I am also allowed to state my opinion. This is why Americans are so obnoxious, and frankly, we’re too proud of being so.
So, here is the Halloween Horror Story premise; what if the President of the United States were a sociopath?
I will admit I was never a fan of the president. I think I’ve made that clear in the past. And I don’t try to change people’s opinions, but I do like giving people things to consider as I strongly believe that voters should be informed before making their decisions on election day. So this is just something to consider.
So, let’s be sure we are on the same page. Lexico.com defines a sociopath as a personality disorder in which the sufferer has “extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior.” Having a definition is one thing, but it’s entirely different to apply the definition. So, I turn to Preston Ni, MSBA, and his article published in Psychology Today on October 7, 2018 entitled “7 Characteristics of the Modern Psychopath.” Let’s have a little bit of fun and run down these seven characteristics, shall we?
(1) “Pathological Lying and Manipulation.” The fabrications and misleading statements by the president is today legendary. According to CNN, in his first 869 days as president (less than two and a half years), he made 10,796 statements that were misleading or flat out false. Some might quote Fox “News” and argue that this is in itself a fabrication but there are so many things that he has lied about, verifiably, that one has to be willfully ignorant to believe he is honest to the least extent.
(2) “Lack of Morality and Rule Breaking.” Currently he is under impeachment investigations for rule breaking. Asking foreign countries to interfere with our election process is the most recent example of such behavior (although it dates back to 2016 when he backhandedly “invited” Russia to do the same with the Clinton campaign). He has demonstrated lack of morality in a plethora of ways both before and after he became president, including his sexual indiscretions and harassment (or worse), refusal to pay contractors and companies for services provided, racism towards potential tenants of his properties and more.
(3) “Lack of Empathy and Cold-Heartedness.” Where do I even begin with this one? Early on his treatment of immigrant children and families was a humanitarian crisis that has gone on for so long that, as a society, we seem to have completely forgotten that it is still happening today. Today, another and larger scale example is occurring in Syria, where he turned his back on our Kurdish allies, and it seems to be related to money he is making from his friends in Turkey (another example of rule breaking as this appears to violate the Emoluments clause of the Constitution).
(4) “Narcissism and False Superiority Complex.” He utters examples of this nearly every day. He has often claimed himself to be the greatest President of all time, and the most intelligent person to have ever lived. Recently, when he has said things like “I’m the chosen one”, and “my Great and Unmatched wisdom” which seems to evoke an image of “all-knowing”. Whether these are truly claims that he believes he is God, it is clear that he has been making decisions without consulting his cabinet, or worse, by ignoring them outright, stating he is greater than any general, and knows more than even his own intelligence agencies.
(5) “Gaslighting and Psychological Bullying.” Gaslighting is a term taken from a play by Patrick Hamilton called “Gaslight” (known in the United States as “Angel Street” and refers to psychological techniques to get the victim to begin to question their own sanity. When he claimed that “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not happening” is such an example. Even in the 2016 campaign, he would often claim that he never said or did something, and late-night comedians had great fun showing actual video of him doing the very thing he was claiming never happened. It was worse when he would try to turn it around to place the blame on others, either those around him or on his opponents, which he has done multiple times.
(6) “Lack of Contrition and Self-Serving Victimhood.” Oh, yes, this feels like a daily occurrence. Every time he claims “witch hunt” or “vindication” it’s victimhood or lack of contrition. He has been under investigation for very serious claims pretty much from day one. He claims to be innocent, but in his refusal to cooperate (including with subpoenas), ordering others not to cooperate, and threatening witnesses are not the actions of an innocent person. When the Mueller report was released, the conclusion was that the investigative team did not have the authority to charge the president, leaving that up to others, which he claimed to be “vindication” when, in fact, it was nothing of the sort.
(7) “The ‘Situational’ Sociopath or Psychopath.” In this article, this is described as when an individual is cordial, polite and respectful towards some, but is cruel, harsh and inhumane towards others. Oh, yes, he has done this repeatedly. His criticisms of peaceful protests of him but whitewashing the actions of fascists who run over and kill the protesters is an early example. His praise of the Turkish leader in what is looking more like an ethnic cleansing and criticism of Kurdish allies now that they have nothing left to offer us is a current one.
Again, I’m not making the claim that he is a sociopath, but his behaviors strike me as highly suspicious. I can’t say that he scares me anymore, because the reality of this actions has far surpassed my worst fears on the day of his inauguration. There is simply nothing left for me to fear. It feels like maybe others are beginning to come around as well. Whether he is impeached or not, I truly hope people remember his erratic behavior and decisions, and those who have supported them, on election day.