What if Trump’s Behavior Isn’t a Moral Issue?

What if it’s about mental illness, and the moral issue lies with us?

Michael Stelter, CNN’s media reporter, recently spoke out about the issue he acknowledges the press has been tip-toeing around since Trump’s election. It’s time, he suggests to directly address Trump’s mental stability. While Stelter’s reporting itself tip-toes around the issue, falling short of naming “narcissism”, it at least approaches this elephant in the room and the challenges the press has encountered in not knowing how to report on it.

Since his election, I have been writing about Trump’s narcissism and the problem in the media of approaching his lies from a moral position assuming he knows how not to lie. The press’s own inadequate understanding of narcissism has long been half of the problem; its fear of reporting about the President’s mental illness has handily made up the other half. Continue reading “What if Trump’s Behavior Isn’t a Moral Issue?”

In a Country That Has Lost Its Mind

Eleven dead and counting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

I grew up in Pittsburgh (age 11–18). My high school played sports against the high school in Squirrel Hill where this shooting took place today. What happened there is yet another tragedy in a string of gun-violence tragedies in a country where gasoline is being poured on existing nationalist fires by a demagogical president. I resent the disturbing familiarity of the phrase “Senseless Act of Violence” for failing to capture the absurd tragedy of the mounting losses. How do you capture in words what no longer makes sense.

There is a sickness a-foot and it’s time now to move beyond our anxiety and fears into the full recognition of what is here. A friend and father of two young children who has shared my anxiety this past two years said to me earlier this week “It’s grown-up time”. Time to be awake, to do some straight-thinking, straight talking, straight walking in a crooked, volatile and truly dangerous moment in our country’s history.

It really sunk in for me this week how much the US is manifesting a pre-WWII Germany mentality. I know many have been saying it and, until recently, I have empathized but have also rationalized it is not *that* bad. Not yet.

Hitler rose to power in a country where the German citizenry was feeling such deep insecurity about its identity following the fall out and shaming of WWI. He did this in a “proud” country full of “patriotic” citizens that felt the need to defensively defend against shame TO THE CORE. There was so much insecurity, so much of a need to re-gain pride, so much desire to be “great again”. Continue reading “In a Country That Has Lost Its Mind”

A “Moment” for our “Movement”: The Work of Creating a More Perfect Union

Following the now-famed Women’s March on the day after President Trump’s inauguration, speculation mounted about whether we were seeing a real “movement” or simply a “moment” of reaction from an outraged electorate. Since that day, there’s been no dearth of citizens speaking up, in town-halls, airports and on city streets. People who never imagined themselves “protestors” have seized the reigns of citizenship suggesting that surely something is galvanizing America. But the question is an important one, does this yet qualify as a movement?

The Civil Rights movement has arguably been America’s most powerful testament to the power of citizenship in action, redefining the politics and consciousness of our deeply divided country in the 1960s. Unlike the civil rights movement that stood for values, (peace, de-segregation and an un-self-righteous faith in the intrinsic value of all Americans), the protests in recent weeks since Trumps election have largely been defined by an “anti-Trump” sentiment. As one among tens of thousands of women at the Women’s March in Oakland, I witnessed impassioned Americans filled with raw conviction, clearly seeking to take a stand. But the mobilization as a whole seemed to lack coherent leadership, values and a message. There was definitely something there, no doubt, but it felt young, like we were cutting our eye-teeth — not what I would call a movement. As the pundits have ventured, I would call upon us to see that we are in a moment – but an important one.  A defining moment. Continue reading “A “Moment” for our “Movement”: The Work of Creating a More Perfect Union”

The “Lies” Aren’t the Story: Mental Health Is.

Repeat after me: Disengage

Like a lot of alarmed American progressives, I’m reeling over the reality of a Trump presidency and the Democrats oh-so-painful disconnect from the working class base. But there’s a third frontier that’s working me: the Press. The Press’ embroilment in un-believable statements from the White House show me daily their ensnarement in the high-stakes antics of Donald Trump’s narcissism. Jeffrey Frank at the New Yorker describes the effect of leaving us “speechless” — he may actually be pointing to one of our best hopes for resistance. Continue reading “The “Lies” Aren’t the Story: Mental Health Is.”