It has long been clear that Donald Trump is wholly unable to summon the humility or even simple self-reflection, necessary to extricate himself from a process that had begun to overwhelm him some time ago. Simply put, he’s lost in maze of unacceptable choices and overwhelming feelings and has no idea how to get out.
I actually feel sorry for him. More so for the rest of us, though.
Many people assume Trump is in control, that he consciously chooses to act in the manner he does, creating havoc here to distract from the havoc he created over there. When, in fact, he’s likely caught between desperately needing and being quickly overwhelmed by the adulation and reaction as well as pinned against his own self-image which doesn’t allow him to be overwhelmed or needy. This is likely why he chose, first real estate, then luxury-item salesmanship and finally television: each of these things can be done in discrete, easily managed, elements. It’s probably why he plays golf, too…
The giveaway is the hair. His self-image won’t allow baldness and so he goes to incredible feats of styling and engineering (with likely a dose of chemistry for hold) to assuage his self-image. That he, it appears, refuses to be fitted for a wig suggests he really needs what’s left of his own hair to compensate for the encroaching baldness: a wig is likely worse than balding and balding is simply unacceptable. We all think this is just a silly affectation, and so it might be in someone else, but with Trump it is a clue to his very being: he will go to great lengths to not feel overwhelmed and he will go to even greater lengths to feel virile. That neither the adulation nor magic feats hair styling can ever truly substitute for virility simply means he’s playing a game he cannot win against an ego that cannot lose.
Or, put another way, he’s not fooling anyone. Except maybe himself.
For all the disaster and mayhem, Donald Trump is not the villain here. He’s a sad, quite possibly mentally ill, person. The true villains in this piece are, first, those who cheer Trump on and secondly, those who enable Trumps behavior, likely while driving their own agenda through the breaches of decorum, sanity and the rule of law laid waste by Trumps raging unconscious and unconscionable rampages.
He’s not fooling them either. They like it this way.
Those who cheer Trump on, make no mistake, are the immoral, so-called ‘conservatives,’ who are willing, as the saying goes, to ‘eat dung every day of the week in the hopes a liberal will be forced to smell their breath on Sunday.’ They rejoice in the ruin and mayhem but even more so they rejoice in the anger and anguish felt by the entire rest of the country. This is the former hegemons’ schizoid attempt at shaedenfruede: the joy a defeated conqueror feels at flinging feces at the purported new conqueror. It feels so disjoint and abrupt and off-kilter exactly and precisely because it is so ridiculously mistaken: there is no new conqueror. But that discomfort in being mistaken and wrong, to the conservative, is folded up into the pumped-up delight of manufacturing battle. Who cares if they have to conjure an enemy to hate… just so long as the hate keeps supplying that adrenaline rush holding back the crushing weight of all the falsehoods they’ve been taught to fear.
On the entire other hand, those amoral few who enable Trump, are merely using him as a screen for their behind the scenes machinations: Steve Mnuchin is busy dismantling regulations at Treasury; Rick Perry, until recently, spent the bulk of his days undoing the work of men so much smarter than he as to be unmeasurable; Andrew Wheeler is continuing the scything of environmental protection at the EPA, begun by the only man in government to outdo the stupid of Rick Perry and the corruption of Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt. Worse yet, the newly minted, Smuggest-Man-In-America, Neil Gorsuch and his boy-blunder sidekick, Brett Kavanaugh, are taking the Supreme out of the Court, lowering it to such a pitch that Ruth Bader Ginsberg simply cannot die for the outrage: she’s fueled by all the righteousness Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have sucked out of jurisprudence.
All these people will, likely, still be around when Trump is relegated to the ash-heap of history. Sure, we should impeach Trump and get rid of him, but let us not pretend that will solve anything but the most immediate problem.