We are trapped in the throes of an almost pathological need to normalize Donald Trump’s behavior in a desperate attempt at self-preservation because we can’t fathom the reality of who he categorically is -a monster- dousing acid on dauntingly familiar and already systemic wounds.
We refuse to believe that the absolute worst case scenario can happen in America: that Trump will upend democracy for autocracy and authoritarianism. However, that is precisely what he is doing. Listen to Trump’s praise for dictators and fascists. Listen to him condemn protesters. He and his cabinet are steeped in racism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and unbridled hate. We can’t fathom losing our freedoms, I know—. Though people of color, the LGBTQ community and women have acclimated to inequality our entire lives. Like millions, I have overwhelming fear for every American losing far more than I ever imagined possible.
The tweets spewed by his fascistic tiny fingers are an archive of how he manipulates, lies, and undermines the press and our government, fabrics of our democracy. Chief among them, our intelligence communities. He savagely attacks anyone who dare question his perceived authority. His rantings are a trove of hate designed to incite fear and rage, thus deflecting the narratives he prefer we do not dig deeper into and praising himself for false accomplishments. That isn’t normal.
As unnerving as is to face, if we’re going to save ourselves and our country, we must stop normalizing Trump. We mustn’t allow him to dictate the conversation. We mustn’t allow him or his supporters to bully and intimidate us. We must expose his corruption and conflicts of interest and how our government is being dismantled by him and by emboldened, racist conservatives who felt “marginalized” for eight years because we had an African-American president.
Trump, republicans and all the rest who support him view us liberals as sore losers, when in fact, that’s not the case at all. Trump is not a partisan issue. If Hillary had lost to a “normal” republican candidate we wouldn’t be as enraged and terrified on the scale that we are of losing not only all the progress that our beloved President Obama shepherded, but our hard fought-for constitutional rights. Which explains why liberals and non-Trump supporters are justifiably outraged. To think of and treat Trump as a normal person or a normal republican is like walking into a mental hospital and conclude that someone in a straitjacket repeatedly banging their head against a wall is exhibiting completely normal behavior.
In November, I co-authored a piece in the Huffington Post titled, “If Trump Has A Personality Disorder It May Be The ‘What’ In The Collective ‘WTF?‘” and touched on my history with a narcissist. The Dark Triad -a subject in psychology that focuses on three personality traits: narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy- goes one step further and defines what I believe is a large part of Trump’s stark and deadly Cluster B personality disorders.
Dark Triadic people live amongst us. Not all of them are in prison for gruesome crimes. In fact, one of them is days away from occupying the Oval Office.
Trump’s narcissistic personality disorder is evidenced by his exaggerated sense of self-importance, his expectation to be recognized as superior and his ceaseless need for admiration. His psychology is Machiavellian in that he exploits and manipulates others to get ahead. He’s driven by self-interest. He lies and deceives others. Trump lacks principles and values. He’s cynical of goodness and morality, and doesn’t reveal his true intentions. And his psychopathy constantly manifests in his grandiose self-worth, pathological lying, conning and manipulative behavior, lack of remorse, callousness and lack of empathy, his parasitic lifestyle, poor behavior controls, lack of realistic long-term goals, and criminal versatility.
Combined with his stance on Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ, women’s health, abortion, the ACA, racial profiling, law and order, Supreme Court appointments, international relations, et al, Trump is a walking terrorist threat to democracy. He is fundamentally and alarmingly unfit to serve as President of the United States. Policymakers who support Trump clearly endorse dismantling the constitution, too, evidenced by their actions. Underestimating and normalizing Trump and his supporters, including the GOP is tantamount to forfeiting our freedoms.
So we march. We sign petitions. We donate funds to organizations that will fight for our rights. We call our senators. We show up at our local policymaker’s offices. Every protestor is the face of patriotism. All battle cries to save our democracy from Trump is patriotism. Every anti-Trump chant is patriotism. Each anti-Trump movement is patriotism. Policymakers rejecting Trump is patriotism.
We the People didn’t choose Trump. We the People do not accept Trump. We the People will not give up. We the People know that America is great, and what makes us great is our diversity, inclusiveness and unwillingness to accept what we know is wrong. Donald J. Trump is wrong.
I asked a diverse group of Americans what concerns them most about a Trump presidency. Many were far too concerned about a backlash, even anonymously. That’s wholly due to Trump. Those that were comfortable sharing their thoughts, did. Here’s what they had to say:
My concerns about a Trump presidency began during his campaign. I believe that the surge in hate crimes during those eighteen months was the result of the bullying and divisiveness spewed in his rhetoric. And his victory was followed by a wave of hate crimes against minorities. His maniacal fear mongering if and deceptiveness proved effective in the sense that many of those for whom MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN means going back to “the way things used to be” gave themselves permission to act out their contempt for those perceived as different. My partner and I no longer go to gay bars unless accompanied by friends. And even sadder than that, when we do something as ordinary as going to the movies, we find ourselves slightly on guard.—JP
I’m most worried about trump normalizing male entitlement over females and female bodies thereby encouraging a more deeply embedded rape and abuse culture toward women.—Nicole Criona
I have never lived in fear or cared too much about one-off racist comments, or as I like to call them, “paying up my brown tax.” It was just something that happened in certain places and times. Sometimes I would shrug off, like the time a sales rep told me, “The glasses were too expensive to take them out of the case.” Other times I complained, like when my African American friend and I received horrible service at a fine dining establishment. But what I have found since Trump decided to run and stir up racist white folks, is that it has normalized hate against people of color. People no longer think about what they say. Instead, they vocalize hate on a level I’ve never seen before. Calling out hate, bigotry, and racism are things I have always done on a much lesser scale, but have now become a constant. The divisive language used by emboldened white people is stronger than before. While my voice has softened against their crazed and unfounded ideals, I’ve become fearless because I feel that it’s my obligation to use my voice for the greater good. At the same time, I’m scared of the Pandora’s box Trump has opened. I can no longer let things go. I have to fight every day for what is right and uphold the diverse ideals that has made this country great. My commitment to write, direct and produce thoughtful stories for a diverse audience remains. But my commitment is stronger than before because Trump has shown me that I can’t depend on the “friendly white friend” for support. I have to, instead, depend on the sisterhood and community of my POC (people of color) tribe to make things happen. — Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco
I’m concerned about everything, but my main concern is having a compulsively vengeful, thin-skinned child in possession of the nuclear codes.—David Axelrod
My biggest concerns under a Trump presidency are the fact that he seems to get off on Gaslighting the public…really, you watch him on television or listen on radio or tape (ahem) something he says and then about faces, and denies it. Gaslighting creates instability and ultimately crazy making and terror. It destroys any shred of credibility he could possibly garner and mark my words this style will have far reaching and historical effects of the worst kind. My biggest concerns as a lesbian are that with the confirmation of AG Jeff Sessions that he will be instrumental in helping to pick the next SCOTUS (which was robbed from Obama by the obstructionist house) and with that they will take DOMA to the mat to get it struck down. Sessions’ voting record on LGBTQ and human and civil rights issues is abhorrent…he is not a friend, he is a foe. DOMA struck down would mean my marriage would be effected regarding taxes (my wife and I would pay more), liberties on making decisions for my family in a hospital setting outside of our home state, infringed liberties while traveling outside of the state of California which recognizes my marriage, and list the goes on and on…my biggest concern as a feminist is that Roe v Wade will be challenged and overturned, that Planned Parenthood and other like organizations will be defunded. Most people do not realize that PP services are critical for many, many mostly women/people across the board who would not otherwise have access to health services and that only 3% of their services go toward funding abortion and that THOSE funds in particular are not publicly funded (see the Hyde Amendment). This is a Public Health issue. Without these services I am deeply concerned for women’s health and the sure-to-come upturn of unwanted pregnancies and subsequent births. The people who want to defund Planned Parenthood are not Pro-Life, they are only Pro-Birth. They have no interest, infrastructure or agenda to support those women who birth an unwanted child once it comes into this world. Finally, as a parent, my biggest concern is that because Trump has galvanized his win on the wave of riding, racism, islamophobia, misogyny, and repealing regulations the EPA has set in order to combat Global Warming (science matters) to the White House, his attitude has appealed to the dark underbelly of those amongst us who feel more emboldened to let their bigotry shine in a way most of us haven’t seen in decades. And that my children will be hurt and/or attacked (emotionally, verbally, the air they breathe, the oceans we enjoy, or otherwise) by this swell of his supporters to normalize indecency, Intolerance of difference, destruction of the environment in the name of more jobs, and hate.—SD
There are many issues to worry about, almost too many. It feels as if we are heading towards a global crisis. With a twitter obsessed, climate denying, nuclear loving, xenophobic, racist president, anything is possible. But if what we have seen so far is any indication of what’s to come, then I’m worried mostly for the poor, the sick and minorities. Without healthcare, opportunity and freedoms, where’s that going to leave us all when we’re submerged in Trumplandia? So much progress could be lost and wasted in the next four years and I’m terrified to see what happen next.—Eric Law
Original artwork by Heather Carr, Seattle based artist