Most US Presidents, following a national disaster like Harvey, have spent time with survivors — comforting and talking to them, serving them food, and sharing hugs and even tears.
Donald Trump not only took several days to visit the people of Houston after Harvey left it devastated, when he arrived there, he spent more time bragging about the size of the crowds (as if he was at one of his rallies instead of at shelters where he had a captive audience) and what a “huge storm” Harvey had been. He talked more about how Texas could handle things because it was so strong than he did actually offering words of support and comfort to its people. Most outrageous of all, he told the survivors — people who had lost everything and were staying in crowded shelters — that they seemed “happy.”
Sure, he provided some good “optics” — picking up and kissing babies and pretending to serve food to the survivors — but his words to the people who were his captive audience were hollow, inappropriate to the occasion, and extremely awkward. He also didn’t miss an opportunity to diss the media and Hillary Clinton.
The mainstream media gave him a pass, fawning all over him for having at least tried to act presidential, when they should have been calling him out on his inappropriate, callous, and outrageous words of “support” to these devastated people.
This morning he decided to put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), an Obama-era program that ensured that young people who were brought over from other countries as children — a program that required its recipients to either be working or attending school. By ending DACA, he doomed these productive, intelligent young people to deportation back to the countries their parents brought them from (with a six month delay). That would mean that these kids and young adults, the vast majority of who are high achievers and are benefiting our economy, would lose everything. They would be stranded in foreign lands they couldn’t remember, in some cases knowing absolutely no one. For a party that calls itself “pro-family,” his heartless and cruel decision will tear families apart and destroy lives.
Trump also had a history of failing to acknowledge Americans who have died in tragic accidents, most recently the 12 sailors who died in an accident on a Coast Guard ship. Not one word was ever mentioned about those sailors, but this was far from the first incident in which Trump — unlike past presidents — just didn’t seem to care.
Watching Trump, I believe he not only has no empathy, he also has no conscience. That to me indicates a sociopathic, not merely narcissistic, personality. He actually seems to delight in causing pain and suffering. I do think he is in fact sadistic, and enjoys pushing policies that will traumatize and hurt people.
When he talked about Harvey, he seemed almost gleeful over how “big” and “powerful” the storm was. He seemed almost proud of it and acted like the Houston survivors should be proud of it too, as if it were some national monument or sports record. I think he could relate to the storm. He can relate to anything that’s powerful and destructive and destroys lives, because destruction and chaos is the only thing he understands.
Now he’s traumatizing the entire country by playing chicken with an equally unhinged narcissistic sociopath using nuclear weapons. Nuclear war is a real possibility. We are in grave danger of annihilation. But it’s just a game to these two — and we are pawns in their game. We are expendable because we aren’t people; we are merely objects to be played or discarded at whim. Trump’s ego is much more important than human life, and he is willing to kill us all to save his ego.
A friend told me her young daughter comes home everyday crying because she’s so afraid of nuclear war. She’s just 12, and can’t sleep. She can’t concentrate at school and is withdrawn and depressed. My friend told me she has had to send her daughter to a therapist to try to address this trauma. But this girl isn’t alone. Many people are being traumatized by this president’s actions and threats, but he will never care. Nor will he stop his destructive and dangerous behavior.
Going back to Harvey, Joel Osteen, the multimillionaire Prosperity Gospel preacher who holds his church services in a huge stadium, refused to open the stadium to flood survivors until he was finally shamed into it. He held a service to pray for the survivors– and passed around a collection plate for donations to the cause — even though the people at the service were the survivors themselves! Who does that?
Trump’s evangelical “spiritual advisers” offered only “thoughts and prayers” to the flood survivors– not any real tangible help such as money, food, clothing, or time spent comforting families. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with praying for people, but when “thoughts and prayers” are used as a substitution for any real help, they are as meaningless as a Hallmark card.
I’ve noticed this is something narcissists will do in lieu of offering any real help. They will condescendingly say, “I will pray for you,” or promise you they will send their “thoughts and prayers.” Another thing they will do is offer you phony and hollow platitudes, slogans, and sayings in place of actually offering you a listening ear, compassionate advice, or any real empathy. There’s a huge emotional disconnect — they can’t relate to you with any depth or as a person with real feelings. Instead, they try to mollify you with a few canned words printed on a card or a meme — and then put a guilt trip on you if you aren’t grateful for their lame and shallow efforts at “comfort.”
They also victim-shame. They airily tell you your life would be better if you just acted more happy, smiled more, or acted more positive. Now sure, there’s a place for positive thinking, and I agree that positive people tend to draw in more positive things in life (I have seen this work for myself). However, there is a limit to this. There are times such an attitude is just plain callous and insensitive, a way of dismissing the very real needs of people who have suffered misfortune through no fault of their own. Narcissists absolve themselves of any responsibility or having to offer any real help by insidiously blaming the victim by telling them “if only you were more happy/positive/smiled more, etc. ”
During his sermon for Harvey survivors, Osteen told the people — most who had just lost everything they owned — not to play the victim. I’m sorry, but how are people who have just lost everything they owned playing the victim? They are victims, and as such, they should be showered with real compassion, not condescending platitudes about positive thinking. They should also not be expected to donate to their own cause (especially when Osteen himself owns a 15 million dollar home and is one of the wealthiest men in the country) and most of these people had no access to cash or their bank accounts.
I think this conscienceless, heartless administration has been especially hard emotionally on people who have suffered abuse at the hands of people like them and also on people who are empaths and very sensitive to their spiritual darkness.