When my wife, Jane, was in nursing school many years ago, she was assigned to Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, NY for a week or so. This is a place for the most severely mentally ill. These are people out of touch with reality, violent and often for whom medication is not enough to allow them to live in the community.
On one of her first days there, a patient threw a chair at her. She was terrified but not hurt. Another time a patient sat in the corner playing with his own feces. Still another masturbated for seemingly hours on end.
Needless to say her “Psych rotation” could not come to an end too soon. And of interest to me is that not once did a doctor or a nurse or an orderly say, “Oh yeah, that’s Joe. He likes to roll his shit into little balls and juggle them. No biggie.” Or “Yup, that’s my pal Bill. He jerks off 5 times a day, God bless him. We should all be so lucky to be able to do that.” No, no one said any of that. Because saying that would have been RATIONALIZING irrational behavior and all who saw this behavior knew it was crazy and called it what it was.
With that as a backdrop, on to our political crisis at hand. We have a mentally unbalanced President-elect acting out in bizarre and crazy ways in a variety of arenas and way too many of us are “normalizing it.” We are RATIONALIZING Trump crazy!
Most of us who took Psych 1 in college learned about defense mechanisms. Rationalization is one of them and here is a pretty good definition.
In psychology and logic, rationalization (also known as making excuses) is a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable—or even admirable. —Wiki
This, my friends, is what many people are doing with the choices, comments and actions of Donald Trump.
This is a man who sits and abuses and misuses social media, Tweeting mindlessly in an often bizarre and disturbed stream of consciousness.
As reported by Medaite:” During [a] forum, [CNN’s Jake] Tapper brought up Trump’s tweet where he falsely claimed millions of people illegally voted to make the case that he actually won the national popular vote. He then mentioned other Twitter activity by Trump, such as attacking a CNN reporter and retweeting a 16-year-old.
In response to Tapper’s question if this was “presidential behavior,” [Trump aide and loyalist] Kellyann Conway stated that Trump is “the President-elect so that’s presidential behavior.’”
THAT is RATIONALIZING CRAZY. Who does not see this? And it is but one instance.
How about all these cabinet appointments? On Monday we learned of the nomination of former presidential candidate and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson to the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. A doctor, an MD, a surgeon, not named to be Surgeon General or Secretary of Health and Human Services, but HUD. Because why? Because he is black and grew up in the projects in Detroit? If you don’t think there is something wrong with this then you are RATIONALIZING TRUMP CRAZY.
Let’s look at the nomination for Education Secretary. As Philly.com notes, “Betsy DeVos, a philanthropist, Republican donor, and former head of the Republican Party in Michigan, has never worked in a school.” She has no education background. Indeed she is opposed to public schools and is a champion of charter schools and a staunch supporter of school-choice. I and dozens of friends are more qualified for this job if only because we have graduate degrees in education and are licensed teachers. My son’s significant other just got her PhD in Ed. Much of her research has been done in inner-city schools. SHE is more qualified to be Secretary of Education. Is there something wrong here with the DeVos nomination? Hell yeah. It’s crazy. But too many are RATIONALIZING CRAZY!
I could go on with Trump cabinet appointments because almost all of them are crazy and all of his supporters are rationalizing them. Trump’s boot licking sycophants among the GOP are so keen on keeping their jobs, holding positions of esteem and authority, that they will keep telling the naked emperor how glorious his robes are and they will keep RATIONALIZING CRAZY.
Picking fights with China and India, breaking every protocol since 1979 and before, that’s ok! That’s our Donald Trump being Donald Trump. It’s why we voted for him. He says what we are thinking! Bullshit!
Then there’s the choice of Steve Bannon (ex. Breitbart.com) as White House chief strategist. As the NY Times notes, “Breitbart.com’s scorn for Muslims, immigrants and black activists drew a fervent following on the alt-right, an extremist fringe of message boards and online magazines popular with white supremacists, and after Mr. Bannon took control of the website in 2012, he built a raucous coalition of the discontented.”
This choice? Crazy! Yes there are petitions out there calling on Trump to dump Bannon. But among the GOP, no problem here. They are RATIONALIZING TRUMP CRAZY!
Jeff Sessions, the Trump nominee for Attorney General, the top law enforcement officer in the nation, is a man of very questionable background. As the NAACP noted and was quoted by the Washington Post, “Senator Sessions was denied appointment as a federal judge in 1986 for a slew of racist comments, including calling the work of the NAACP and ACLU ‘un-American.’ He has also repeatedly spoken out against the federal Voting Rights Act.” — NAACP statement, Nov. 18, 2016
This choice? Crazy! But among the GOP, no problem here. They are RATIONALIZING CRAZY!
So where are we? Are all republicans crazy? All they all too scared to speak up? Where are the Democrats on the Senate committees that will have to confirm these crazy picks? Why are they not speaking up more loudly, more clearly, to make it known these appointments will not stand? After all, the Senate is just shy of 50 Democrats. It would not take more than a few sane Republicans with guts to refuse each and every one of these appointments.
We are at the dawn of a long national nightmare if the sane among us do not do more than just post on Facebook, blog and Tweet about the goings-on in Washington. The crazy goings-on. The Trump conflicts of interest, the co-mingling of personal business and the Peoples’ business. The bizarre cabinet appointments, the breaking of years of protocol in foreign affairs.
And why such silence from the Trump people in the face of hate crimes galore. A female NYPD off-duty cop harrassed along with her son for being Muslim. Likewise a Muslim NYC transit worker. Is this new rationalization of crazy going to create a new era of hate crimes, reverse years of civil rights work and force minorities to once again fear for their safety, their rights to live where they wish and to work where they want?
If something is not done soon to stop RATIONALIZING TRUMP CRAZY we will find that for all of us, like the patients in that mental facility so many years ago, crazy is a painful way to live and it does not get better by itself.