When I first saw the election results on the night of Mr. Trump’s victory on November 8, 2016, my jaw dropped and my heart sank like a runaway nuclear reactor burning through the Earth’s core to China. I had been so proud of my country all my life; I always felt I would be willing to die for my country. I no longer feel pride for the United States. I feel embarrassed to be an American. It reminded me of my early childhood as I watched a late 1960s episode of Batman when the Joker had taken over Gotham City and had seemingly convinced common folk of his “good” intentions. These naïve citizens were all in as they were blind to his intentions in spite of the obvious: his clown outfit, his haunting laugh, and his history of devilish intent. Any dunderhead watching the Batman series (including a five year old like me) could see through the Joker’s lies; yet the viewer could only laugh at the oddity of such an episode and felt helpless as we were unable to jump into the screen and spill the beans. Oh, how we need Adam West now.
It wasn’t as if I was shocked that Trump won; I was shocked at the process more so. How could anyone like Mr. Trump get so close to leading the world into the third decade of the 21st century? This should force all of us to lose sleep at night as his barrage of blunders, impetuous offhanded pronouncements, obfuscation, and dishonesty pile up like a burning tire fire with each new tire being thrown into the pile of rubbish. His seizure of control of the world is simply beyond comprehension, which is so disturbing. It is his unmolested rise to power, regardless of what happens in the future, that is putting us now on the brink of a die-off. It may not be Donald Trump that kills us off, but most importantly it is the normalization of such a narcissistic man’s behavior with such a massive personality disorder in control of all of humanity’s lives which leaves us no choice but to pronounce this century our potentially last as a species.
I want to avoid any simplistic comparisons to the Nazis (I doubt Mr. Trump would ever send six million people to their deaths through extermination or if even he has read about the Nazi’s horrors), but I do want to compare the process of the rise of power. Here are the similarities: 1) Mr. Trump is about himself and promoting himself only; he could care less about this country, humanity or any other living being. In his mind the presidency of this country is a means of promoting his ego or what he likes to think is his “brand”; it has nothing to do with Making America Great Again. Orwellian misspeak. It should be “Make Trump Great.” 2) He is willing to do anything to promote and maintain his power. Anything. Remember the Reichstag (for those who don’t remember, Hitler created a fire in the legislative building of Germany in 1933, lied about it, and then said it was started by Communists which thereby led to the demise of his political opponents)? Remember Putin and “the witch-hunt?” 3) He has demonstrated complete contempt for anyone who disagrees with him. His nicknames for his political opponents only tear this country down. His antics bring the American system of government tremendous weakness as he treats his presidency like a kindergartner. It was his discourse that was most disturbing; not actually the content of what he was proclaiming (others like Paul Ryan at least can justify their reasoning based upon political theory, albeit defectively); it was how he stated it himself. Forget all the numerous insults. 4) Most importantly, it was a series of events, ignored by other politicians like Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain and Edouard Daladier of France and other German generals , that led to Hitler’s rise. Hitler simply and perfunctorily removed all opposition like War Minister General Werner Von Blomberg and Army Chief General Werner von Fritsch in 1938. Hitler was so immersed in his own reality that he didn’t care if he killed off millions of people in his quest for power. He played high stakes poker and power was so important to him that taking political risks was a worthwhile bet. Hitler didn’t care about the betterment of humanity; he only acted like he did to maintain support.
The phrase that most concerned me about Mr. Trump was his proclamation about this country’s problems on July 21, 2016 when he stated that “I alone can fix it.” His lying, distortions and chronic desire for fame is a strong second behind his ultimate ambitions; he would like to be the most powerful man in the world forever. His addictive opiate is power, regardless of how he achieves that power. He wants others to think about him all the time. Unfortunately, he has achieved that with near perfection. Apparently, 41 percent of Americans still support him.
There also seems to be some confusion about Mr. Trump’s sanity. Let me clarify. Mr. Trump is a very intelligent man who is a sociopath; he is not a psychopath or demented. There is a great divide between the three. Psychopaths are not grounded in reality and are delusional which includes hearing voices, imagining events, etc. Mr. Trump has no dementia as his two now famous doctors (who appear to have personal ethical issues themselves) said he passed all relevant cognitive tests and one said he “could live to be a man of 200 years.” Sociopaths are grounded in reality and function in reality; they merely use their place in society to destroy the hopes and dreams of others, the institutions that were carefully constructed in order to further their own interests, and make life for the rest of society difficult. Mr. Trump has a personality disorder. Whether you are talking about his misogyny, his lying, his distortion of facts, his desire for fame and fortune (I argue Mr. Trump wants to be the center of attention whether it is good news or bad news), I cringe at his absurd pronouncements. He fully understands there is no such thing as good press or bad press in this country; he likes to tweet because he wants reactions to his comments and wants people talking about him all the time. The tweets are often controversial, not because Trump believes what he is saying, but because he delights in others talking about him. He is a textbook narcissist.
At the expense of Mr. Trump’s narcissism, humanity’s reality is not about Trump. Sorry Mr. Trump. Trump is merely a product of humanity’s current state. Humanity is more divided than ever, yet we have never been so interconnected. Instead of humans relishing and celebrating the fact we came from the same ancestors in Eastern Africa some 200,000 years ago, we seek division. This fact does not register in the minds of followers of Donald Trump. Reality and facts are not relevant for Trump when his primary motive is stroking his ego.
His rise is a major precedent in the history of humanity: it signifies our decline as a species. As I pointed out in 2015 in my book The Supercivilization: Survival in the Era of Human Versus Human, we are in the Third Biosociophysical Era in which science is breaking down. Why? Because our problems are human-induced and this means that we become divided and unglued when trying to solve these problems rationally. Natural problems unite us. When volcanoes explode we all support the victims; when hurricanes occur we all send in the National Guard; however when it comes to solving climate change (our most fundamental human-induced problem) we have no consensus. It is not in the interest of the fossil fuel industry to solve this problem in the short term as it hurts their bottom line profits. And of course our world view takes on the views of the most powerful people in society. Hence, climate change becomes a “minor inconvenience” rather than a catastrophe threatening all of human existence.
Donald Trump is a sad result of our reality; he has become a “colorful” figure created by a partisan country serving as a compromise between the rich Republicans and the poor Democrats fighting for those without resources. He takes advantage of our internal dissent and uses it for his personal gain as he became perhaps the most powerful man in the world in 2016. He doesn’t care in the least about any of these issues (playing golf 113 times to date since taking office) because he is supremely ignorant about them and cares only about maintaining his power through “victories.” In my book, I called the rise of the demagogue (e.g. Donald Trump) the most critical catastrophe that could lead to the ultimate die-off: a Class VIII Event (a 10% chance of a 10% die-off of humanity over a one hundred year period). One can see this so clearly in his flip flop with the gun control issue. Shortly after the Parkland shootings on February 14, 2018, Trump favored gun control (February 28, 2018) by stating, “I like taking guns away early” and “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” Merely a few days later, most likely after consulting NRA leaders who conveniently controlled him through campaign contributions ($30 million contributed to his campaign by the NRA), he flipped his position. I could go on with so many other examples of control by corporatocracy (tobacco, fossil fuel industry, etc), but will not for brevity sake. “Winning” is more important for Trump than asking the question, “Winning what?”
The final and most important lesson from Donald Trump has been the death of the 20th century nation-state. Mr. Trump has treated our democracy like a rag doll as he tosses it around giggling as he protects his power base that maintains his ego. He represents our reality: no one cares (at least a majority of Republicans) that he is denigrating our country. Why? Because we no longer identify with the values of the nation-state as formulated by our forefathers. Republicans (i.e. the party of the aristocracy and corporatocracy) support him because they would rather see someone in office who they feel 1) they can control (Marxist-style control) and 2) will not threaten their power (i.e. money). The tax cut in 2017 which, opposed by most top economists, reflects this awkward, yet effective, relationship. Disparities in wealth will allow the wealthy to maintain their presence for what they believe will be an eternal bliss. They are just as blind as the voters who conveyed the existence of “our favorite demagogue,” Mr. Trump. Why? Because the 21st century is about dealing with issues that will destroy all of humankind, regardless of one’s personal finances. The wealthy, no matter how wealthy, perished on the Titanic. Their money was useless in their final hours.
We have forgotten that our greatness as a country stems from our rules of law and the separate branches of government that protect all of us from tyranny. Today, we identify with corporate giants that have no borders as we seek more money to fill our bank accounts rather than realizing that all of our resources exist because of our Constitution and the rational nature of investing wisely and predictably. For Americans, allegiance is more about choosing Starbucks or McDonalds than it is about maintaining the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. We simply don’t care enough about our country; on any given day we are exposed to thousands of commercials for products yielding thousands of hours of propaganda; we barely get a lesson in high school civics describing the Constitution and its supreme significance. For me, the study of the Constitution in formal education lasted perhaps a total of roughly five hours or so. If this continues and we no longer promote the Constitution and its subsequent rule of laws, it will only be a matter of time before the United States loses the brilliance that has made it so great for 250 years. The Constitution and its rule of law can be desecrated in a mere 4 years by a corrupt President. As you can probably guess, my allegiance will be forever tied to the United States Constitution and never to a despicable figure in Donald Trump. May the light shine through our darkest hours so new seeds that have been planted can grow to greater heights.