Assessing Donald Trump

Note: This post is longer than usual to cover the necessary material. I can’t apologize, but I did want to acknowledge that I’m aware.

 
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I don’t think I’ve been unclear when it comes to Donald Trump, and his presidency. I’ve been adamant in my disdain for him, and in my refusal to support him. He is NOT my president.

Recently, a visitor to my Facebook page accused me of being “obsessed” with him, interested only in criticizing him. “You’re a liberal Democrat, so of course you hate him.”

The essence of that statement is untrue, and I might choose to deal with it in depth at a later time in a different post, but suffice it say that (Honestly!) my opposition…my opinion…is more than a partisan objection—disagreement about politics and policy. (Though all of those are true!)

He infuriates me, exhausts me, and frightens me.
He also baffles me.

And frankly, I have tried to (at least) understand him, the things he says and does. 

It would be too easy to assess him in terms of comparisons (i.e., he's nothing like Obama; he's different than other Republicans), but I think that's inherently unfair.
I want to understand him...as him!

I’ve read numerous, reasonable theories offered by others.
Admittedly, as for definitive answers, I waver back and forth on distinct possibilities. 

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  • As president, he might be struggling and overwhelmed at a job much larger than he'd anticipated, demanding more than he's qualified to perform.
     
  • There are mental health professionals (many of them) who've concluded he could be mentally ill. The evidence is there, even if a precise diagnosis is not. It could be mild, anything from a form of paranoia to narcissistic personality disorder. It could be serious, such antisocial personality disorder, rending him incapable of seeing right from wrong, or experiencing remorse for his actions. That might explain his pathological lying, and his refusal to admit mistakes, take responsibility, apologize or ask forgiveness. 

    He clearly comes across as egotistical, confident, demanding. At times, he’s down right dictatorial. Whether that's a façade, covering up for his own insecurities or if it's actually who he is, I can't say. (Perhaps he really is that arrogant, and doesn’t give a shit!) He’s unquestionably impetuous, and has definite issues with anyone who’s not “like” him or who disagrees with him, especially (and particularly) women.
  • Some have suggested he's an addict, strung out on any number of possible substances. It would explain his erratic, late-night Twitter tirades.
  • He could be a con artist running an elaborate scam on the American people. And like all swindlers and flim-flam-ers, his scheme would be to bilk folks out of their money, lining his own pockets. 
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  • He could be so privileged that he really doesn’t understand REAL people, with REAL needs—those who are poor, or hungry, or without health insurance, etc. This self-indulgent separateness prevents him from feeling empathy. He could be that “let them eat cake” out of touch! 

    Example: He doesn’t see the complete disconnect of criticizing the leadership of San Juan’s mayor, who’s waist-deep in water and sleeping on a cot in a shelter (because her home was destroyed) while he plays golf at one his luxury resorts.
  • He obviously exhibits infantile behavior, so maybe he’s the perpetual Peter Pan, a man-child who refuses to grow up. 

  • He might be a genius, systematically and carefully carrying out a detailed, devilish plan to dismantle the founding principles of our country and impose his oligarchy on all of us. 
  • On the other hand, he might be an imbecile, with an IQ that would absolutely explain the irresponsible actions and immature antics we see from him. 
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  • Another possibility is that he’s the front man of a vast scheme carefully designed to take down our government. He’s merely the lackey we see—with someone else…or a group of someones…actually pulling the strings.

Maybe it’s a combination of some…or all…of these possibilities.
I don't know for sure on any of these things.

But I have arrived at Two Certainties that I believe with every fiber of my being:

1. Donald Trump is bad
I don’t mean that he’s bad for the role of president, bad for the country or bad for our national image, though I do think all of those are true. I’m not using this word in the qualitative sense, as in he has a bad business record (he does), he’s bad at communication (he absolutely is), he writes with bad grammar (constantly!), or he makes bad decisions (clearly). I’m certainly not employing the colloquial, hip slang where the word takes on a admirable attribute, as in being a “bad ass.”

When I say he’s “bad” I mean it in the most basic moral and ethical sense. He is not a good individual. In fact, he’s the opposite of what I would deem a good human being. 
He exhibits no morality, no ethics, no character.
To me, Donald Trump is a bad person.

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But sadly, even that word is too weak to capture what I see in him.
Machiavellian?
Diabolical? 

(That’s a good one, because it comes from the same root word that means “devil.”)

So I struggle for a more accurate descriptor.
Dare I say...evil?
That’s not a word I use often, or rashly.

As one who believes everyone is created in the image of a good God, it brings me no pleasure to assign such a designation to another individual. I like to think we’re all inherently good, but realistically, experientially and historically, we know that’s not true. (e.g., Hitler) 
Sadly, in Trump’s case, I do think the word applies.

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There are many within my faith community who embrace him wholeheartedly, with a zeal usually reserved for those of moral piety or great feats of charity. (He is neither.) He's heralded as the “great white hope.” (Pun intended!) For those people, I offer another word—an "ol' time religion" word from the King James Bible that we don’t hear often these days: reprobate. It’s another word I don’t throw around flippantly, because it’s been hurled at me too often. (cf: Romans 1: 28; 2 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:16) I remember researching this word, back in my days as an Evangelical/Fundamentalist minister. (Yes, I was in the ministry. And yes, I was extremely conservative in my theology.) The word carries the idea of someone who abandoned God, giving themselves over to worldly, physical and sensual pleasures. They are now devoid of conscience, not able to distinguish right from wrong.
To me, that personifies Donald Trump! (And it would also characterize those religious leaders who've enthusiastically endorsed him!)

2. Donald Trump is dangerous
Regardless of which of the possibilities actually captures the real Donald Trump, the end result is that he poses a threat to anyone and anything not in his best interests. 

If Trump acted this way, and said these things, in any other place than the public workplace, as a privileged, protected rich politician, there would be consequences. 

Example: In the average workplace, he would be reprimanded, if not terminated.
His outrageous, unpredictable antics might lead loved ones to conclude: he is not healthy. They could call for an intervention, fearing for his safety. Enrollment in a drug rehab clinic might be deemed essential. Or perhaps mandatory intensive therapy. 

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But this man is the President of the United States, and his actions seem to go unchecked. He is coddled, excused or explained. This is a man who has access to weapons of mass destruction, and is not to be trusted! His hotheaded disposition, hair-trigger temperament and demagogue mentality makes him a threat. We know that if offended, whether by a talk show host, an athlete, a war hero or a foreign dictator, he will respond with bluster, bullying and intimidation. While up to now it’s been primarily verbal, we cannot be certain he won’t escalate, eventually endangering us all to prove his superiority.

To me, he is the "clear and present danger" of his oath of office.

Contrary to the accusation, I don't think I'm "obsessed" with Donald Trump, but I have assessed him. I wish I could find some redeeming quality about this man. I was taught to have respect for all people, and especially to respect those who hold public office. But in the case of Donald Trump, I find nothing worthy of respect. I think he’s a bad man, who puts us all in danger.

Disclaimer: While I have extensive (pastoral) counseling experience working with people, including those in crisis, I’m not a psychiatrist, nor a behaviorist. I’m not a child psychology or a kindergarten teacher, and I’m not trained in adolescent development. I don’t have experience with the bunco unit of the police department nor am I a criminal attorney. I'm not a political strategist. 

I’m an observer, and I can only go by what I've observed: his actions, and his reactions.
These are my opinions, my conclusions. 

What do you think?