Every so often I find myself driven by a desire to forsake my natural tendency for reasoned discourse, for the seeing the merits of both (or multiple) sides of an issue, to finding the benefit of each side even while being able to disagree with ultimate conclusions. Every so often I find myself driven to write a polemical tirade that blasts an attack upon the inane and idiotic views I find myself faced with, only to find, through lack of use, I don’t have an adequate vocabulary to pen the scathing and withering repartee that I want to write.
(side quote from movie The Wizard of Oz: “Auntie Em: Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn’t mean that you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now… well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!”)
What has burst open my desire for polemic is this article that I was pointed to from the LA Times about what a hard time the presidency of Donald Trump is making for psychological therapists. His election has created panic attacks, insomnia, inability to concentrate at work, fear so palpable it becomes physical pain, among people who opposed him.
Therapists are trained not to reveal their personal beliefs, but one therapist says she will agree with clients now if they say the don’t support Trump, because:
If this were just another session, if this weren’t such a big thing, if this weren’t so evil, I wouldn’t. But I have to stand for what I stand for and that does cross over into politics.
But while the people who opposed Trump are the ones feeling the panic, the hysteria, it is the people who support Trump who fear being harassed if they admit they voted for Trump.
So, a “dispassionate” professional finds herself able to break her professional standards and vilify someone she disagrees with through hyperbole, yet not be concerned that it is the people from her personal persuasion that are creating the hysteria of the mob mentality that crushes all who dare to resist and refute their form of the life narrative.
See the below quote from the article about what one therapist was blaming Trump for:
Trump was normalizing behavior that therapists fight to reverse, including “the tendency to blame others in our lives for our personal fears and insecurities,” he said, and “a kind of hyper-masculinity that is antithetical to the examined life and healthy relationships.”
I find his first comment eminently laughable. All these people with the panic attacks, etc., are doing exactly what he says Trump is doing: they are blaming Trump for their personal fears and insecurities.
There is a video at the top of the article. It is set there in a way that I cannot post a link to it, or embed it. You can do nothing except watch it on the page. And it plays terribly. If you dare pause it you might not be able to get it to start again. I don’t know whether it will still be the same one when you read this post and follow over there, but hopefully it will be.
It is captioned with:
The New York Times published a letter signed by 35 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. The letter suggests Trump’s “grave emotional instability… makes him incapable of serving safely as president.” (Feb. 21, 2017)
Which just goes to show what a bit of biased editing and reporting this is. The whole video is intended to fuel the hysteria, not provide any real knowledge or information. It leads with the most sensational and least factual elements. It leads with speculations, assertions by “healthcare professionals” on someone they have never professionally examined. And it never mentions that to even make such a comment linked to their professional credentials is unprofessional.
They leave the most professionally credible comment almost to the end as almost a throw away. Psychiatrist Allen Frances, who helped define narcissism, responded to the letter:
I wrote the criteria that define (narcissistic personality disorder) and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill because he does not suffer from the stress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.
And then of course they throw one more unfounded unprofessional red herring assertion of his mental instability at the end so that is the thing people will remember.
What a load of pap by a bunch of weak infant sissies. Can they only take soft foods, fit for babies, unable to meet any sense of stress, resistance, or challenge to their narrative views of the world. (1 Corinthians 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.) Do they need to live forever in their cocoons, instead of taking the strength to break through the protective sheath with the strength of strife to bloom into the joyous potential of the butterflies they could be. Do the enabling therapists of these people realize how they are protecting these people from the one thing that will enable them to truly take mastery of their own lives, and to contribute to the benefit of those around them: the life of strenuous endeavor?
This article reminded me of its great antithesis, that of Teddy Roosevelt and his sense of the strenuous life. So I will end with the conclusion of a speech he gave more than a century ago, that we have forgotten, and desperately need to remember:
I preach to you, then, my countrymen, that our country calls not for the life of ease but for the life of strenuous endeavor. The twentieth century looms before us big with the fate of many nations. If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and will win for themselves the domination of the world. Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed and by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.