Your vote does matter!

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In recent years, voting has become a low priority among many people, especially young people.   They believe their one vote doesn’t matter and some even believe elections are rigged and voting doesn’t count.

But it does.  It’s true there has been some unfair rigging of the elections in recent years, due to Republican gerrymandering, attempts at voter suppression, purges of the voter rolls (this has been a big problem this year but it’s also being caught and dealt with), huge donations to GOP politicians from SuperPACs, billionaire oligarchs, and probable help from other countries too.

But there are a lot more of us who hate what the Trump GOP has been doing and the way they have been lining up behind Trump and enabling his destructive policies and rhetoric, instead of providing a check on what he does.   The Republican Party has lost many people in the past two years, including some notables like George Will, Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace (the last two formerly worked in the George W. Bush administration).  In spite of their conservatism, they have become voices for the Resistance.    Most of these former Republicans have decided to vote a straight blue (Democratic) ticket in the midterms to save our democracy from encroaching authoritarianism — even if that means they have to hold their nose about ideological issues that are too liberal for their taste.

These conservatives realize that at this juncture, a politician’s specific ideology is less important than where they stand about Trump vs. democracy itself — and the Republican Party is no longer the freedom-loving party of Lincoln, Reagan, or even John McCain.  It’s become a party that goes against most core American values, and celebrates racism, hatred, violence, ruthlessness, misogyny, corruption, misinformation, lies, greed, and exclusion.  Since Trump’s election, it has moved to the extreme right, into fascism.  This is not hyperbole;  it is the new reality.  Trump can do a whole lot less damage to our American way of life when there are some much  needed checks and balances put back into place, and right now, that means we need a majority of Democrats in the House and hopefully the Senate too.   It’s not ideological or partisan; it’s just common sense,  since the Republican Party has become so extreme and untrustworthy (and having all three branches of government under the control of one party is never a good thing anyway).

Smart conservatives realize all this, and will be joining Democrats and voting for Democratic politicians in this election.   Polls are also saying that many more Millennials are planning to vote than have in past elections (even though many still plan to sit it out).   They don’t want to inherit the bleak future that looms should Republicans maintain complete power.

So, in spite of attempts to suppress our votes, gerrymander districts, spread disinformation and lies about Democrats (that’s a whole other topic I may or may not write about), and fix electronic voting machines (this has been a problem in Texas in particular, with straight Democratic voters saying their votes were changed to Ted Cruz), I’m almost certain if we show up in great enough numbers, we can beat all the GOP’s efforts to cheat their way into a win (and cheat they must, since this party no longer offers anything of value to We, the People).

If you’re thinking about skipping voting, think about the future that awaits with an all- Republican government that’s in lockstep with Trump and lets him do whatever he wants.     Think about having no checks and balances on this president, and what that could (and probably will) mean for all of us, for humanity, and for the planet itself.    Even if you don’t care about yourself, think about the kind of future such an America holds for your children or grandchildren.

Elections have actually been won on one or two votes.   Your vote carries a lot more weight in a midterm election than in a presidential one, since you’re voting for people at the state, rather than national, level.   There are services offering rides to the polls, if it’s difficult for you to get there.    Don’t feel guilty about calling in to work that day (Election Day really should be a national holiday) if they don’t allow time off for you to vote.   Or vote early, if you still can.  If you’re not registered, in most states you can register the same day you vote.   So don’t let that hold you back either.

It may be more tempting to sit home than go out in the cold or the rain and stand on line waiting to do something that seems like it might not matter.   Don’t!   Your vote does matter.  If all of us who normally might sit out the midterms (I always did until now) give into what’s easiest and requires the least amount of effort in this election, all three branches of government will remain under Republican control and you or your loved ones could lose many if not all of the rights and freedoms you take for granted right now.    The safety net (including Social Security and Medicare) would also be decimated and possibly abolished at some point.  Do you want that for yourself?  Do you want that for your loved ones, who may be elderly or disabled and depend on those services (which are earned benefits, not entitlements) for their survival?  I know I don’t!   I have paid a portion of my paycheck into those services almost every year since 1976 and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them steal my investment out from under me, to pay for the trillion dollar deficit they caused by their ridiculous and destructive tax cut for the rich!

Think of this too:  people have fought and even died for your right to vote.   Women and black people couldn’t always vote.   That right wasn’t won easily, and many people died fighting for it.   So to not exercise your right to vote is to disrespect the people who sacrificed their lives for you.

So, taking all this into account, if you haven’t already voted, please get to the polls on Tuesday, November 6th.   It costs you nothing except the gas, and requires only a few hours out of your day.  Isn’t that worth it to save democracy and prevent fascism from completely taking over?   If you don’t vote, you are voting against democracy, against progress, against our American way of life.  If you don’t vote, you are actually voting for unchecked power of a dangerous, despotic leader who has already done enormous damage and is only just getting started.

This is the most important election in a lifetime.   VOTE!

*****

Further reading:  

13 Ways to Get the Most Out of Voting in the Midterm Election

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I want my life back.

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There hasn’t been one morning since Trump became president that I haven’t woke up with my stomach in knots and my heart racing. It’s impossible to get back to sleep and the first thing I always do is pull up Twitter to find out what the latest calamity is.

I’m edgy with people, edgy at work all the time, edgy with my family.  I can barely function due to the constant nerves.  And it’s all because of the political situation which occupies my mind 24/7 and is growing worse with each passing day.

Self care (which I recommend!) is only a temporary respite from the endless rollercoaster of anxiety, anger, dread, and depression.  Going on vacation helps, but I can’t afford to do that more than once or twice a year.   And even then, in the back of my mind, is the heavy feeling of knowing that soon,  I’ll once again have to face our dark reality.   Self care activities are necessary, but all they do is keep me from falling into the abyss.  They don’t remove me from its edge.

I have NEVER had this kind of reaction before to ANY president.   Even when I didn’t particularly like the president or his political platform, in the back of my mind I always knew he knew what he was doing, was going to protect democracy,  and that we were more or less safe from terrorism, both foreign and domestic.  I could focus on other things besides politics. Since January 9, 2017 I can’t.

I read somewhere that in functioning democracies, people don’t obsess about politics. They can actually live their lives.  Since January 9, 2017 I feel like my life has been on hold and I can never relax.

Maybe in 9 days, we can put some much needed checks and balances back in place to keep this despotic president under control.   Perhaps then I can relax a little.  But I have a feeling no matter how the election goes,  calamity will ensue.   Trump’s base is so huge, so violent and so full of hatred toward most Americans, that I fear if we win,  there will be civil war waged against us (which Trump himself has threatened).   Already there seem to be bands of roving vigilantes and right wing militia groups sprouting up like metastatic tumors in the body republic, and not just at the southern border (where they await the “caravan” which consists primarily of women and children seeking asylum, not rapists, MS-13, and murderers).  I have no faith these groups will be kept in check by our military, and no faith our military will even take our side (even though they’re supposed to protect the Constitution, not the president).

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Two days ago, pipe bombs were sent through the mail to Democratic leaders and reporters by a Trump supporting white supremacist (yet the Trump camp, as they always do, blames the victim, claiming Democrats sent the bombs to themselves).   We were fortunate this time that the bombs were intercepted and defused before a disaster (or many disasters) happened, but next time, someone may die.  And there will be a next time.   We have become as tribal and violent as a third world country — and the violence isn’t coming from Antifa (which is a tiny minority on the very far left that engages in vandalism, not violence against actual people) or the left.   Resistance protests have been peaceful, with any violence that occurs stirred up by counterprotesters (Charlottesville) and far right domestic terrorist groups like the Proud Boys and other far right extremist groups.   The left (which now includes what used to be moderates and Never Trumpers due to the rightward shift of the Overton Window) has been gaslighted, demonized, and smeared by the Trump regime and its cult members to the point that anyone who disapproves of Trump and the toxic fear based rhetoric he spews at his rallies is seen as an enemy.   We have been identified and marginalized.   Removal of our rights and finally elimination will follow.   People are going to die.

If we lose, I don’t even want to think about what’s going to happen.   It’s too terrifying to contemplate.

I just want this madness to end.   I don’t want to have to obsess about politics anymore.

I just want my life back.

 

The bullies are winning and my heart is breaking.

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Today I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and recovering from some terrible illness at the same time.  I have no energy.    I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep.  But I can’t sleep because I’m so on edge.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I’ve spent the entire day lying in bed. I’m depressed and anxious and everything hurts.  I’m stress-eating, doing pretty much nothing but staring at the ceiling and dropping the crumbs from the loaf of lemon pound cake I bought this morning all over my clean sheets.  At least I haven’t watched the news today (I need a break from it, after this past week).   I’ve been trying to read a new book I just bought, but I can’t concentrate.  I must have read the same page about ten times and didn’t comprehend a word of what I read.

As a survivor of narcissistic and sexual abuse, this whole Kavanaugh drama that’s been on the news 24/7 for almost two weeks now has been extremely triggering and making my C-PTSD symptoms flare up.  It’s not much comfort to know I’m far from alone though.  What this government is doing is narcissistic abuse writ large, and it’s negatively affecting millions of women and children, people of color, immigrants, and even many men.  Brett Kavanaugh is an abuser.  Even if he wasn’t a sexual predator (and I think there’s enough evidence that he is), he is predator and an abuser of women.  You can tell by his smug demeanor and his fake tears, by his narcissistic rage, by his entitlement, and by his abuser non-apology (“I didn’t mean to lose control, but SHE made me do it”).  Trump loves Kavanaugh because he’s a mirror image of himself and he will do his bidding and make him immune to the law.

So now that this predator, serial liar, and all around awful person has been confirmed to the highest court in the land, I feel personally threatened.  Not by Kavanaugh personally, since I will never have to deal with him.   I feel threatened by this entire regime which seems to grow stronger and meaner every day.  The abuse they inflict seems to keep getting worse, and now it’s getting personal.   First there was the Muslim ban, then the horrible treatment of the people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, there was Heather Heyer being killed in Charlottesville by a white supremacist, and then football players taking a knee and being condemned for that.   As terrible as those things were, they didn’t seem that personal.  They were just terrible news stories, distant from my own life.  I still had hope things would turn around, people would wake up to what was happening, and good would triumph over evil.

But real life isn’t a movie with a happy ending, and things continued to deteriorate.   There were reports of  migrant kids from Central America locked in cages and forcibly separated from their parents.  I remember waking up in cold sweats from nightmares about little Hispanic children crying and screaming behind bars in cold dark cages, reaching their little hands out through the bars toward me, tears streaming down their small brown faces, and not being able to do a thing to help them except pray for them.  My nightmare wasn’t far off from the reality of what was actually happening.  Kids in concentration camps.  No privacy, not enough food, forced to drink dirty water, denied medical care or comfort.  Provided only with an aluminum foil blanket for warmth.  Ripped from their mothers’ arms and then not even allowed to comfort each other.  Abused and mocked by cruel, sociopathic guards in some cases.  Children fortunate enough to be returned to their parents looked shell shocked, their faces devoid of emotion.  They’d obviously been traumatized and were forced to  bury their feelings because living like that, in cages, away from the family that loved them, not understanding what they did wrong to deserve such treatment, hurt too much.  These little kids will be damaged for life, because a fat orange faced dictator felt like it was necessary to “deter” immigrants from coming here, and these innocent little lives were used as a tool and a warning.

And this travesty is happening in America.  In the land of the free.  In the the shining city on a hill.  “It can’t happen here.”  Really?  Oh, yes, it can.  And it is.   Who will be targeted next?

Women.   Women are being targeted now.  Especially women who dare to come forward and tell the truth about their abusers.   This regime has no empathy for survivors of abuse, sexual or otherwise, especially if they’re female.   Trump mocked Dr. Christine Ford at one of his rallies, and his supporters cheered.   A sexual predator gets confirmed to the Supreme Court, after lying under oath, committing perjury, and after a sham FBI investigation was run that turned out to be nothing more than a way to get “the left” to shut up.

Now Democrats and liberals are being targeted.    I avoid reading Trump’s tweets, but I couldn’t ignore this one, because it made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck:

You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left wing mob.  Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern.  Republicans believe in the rule of the law – not the rule of the mob.

Let’s unpack this tweet.  First of all, it is blatant gaslighting and projection, which this man does every day.   It’s the Party of Trump (formerly the Republican Party), that has become extreme and dangerous, they are the ones who are trying to install a fascist, authoritarian government, remove our rights and freedoms, and now they appear to want to squash the First Amendment rights of anyone who doesn’t fawn at Trump’s feet.

I have never heard any president in my lifetime ever refer to the opposite party as a “mob” or “dangerous.”   Such labels were reserved for outside enemies, like ISIS or Al-Qaeda.  Our protests have been peaceful, much more peaceful than the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that ended in the death of a counterprotester, or all the hate-filled Trump rallies where his followers chant mindlessly, “Lock her up!  Lock her up!” two years after Hillary lost the election (even though she didn’t lose the popular vote) — and even though repeated investigations found she was innocent of any wrongdoing.   THEY are the mob, not us.  The Trump party does NOT believe in the rule of law because its leaders are corrupt to the core and break the law every day.  Its followers are fueled by hate and fear, and they are growing more aggressive, as Trump stokes their rage at his rallies and encourages bullying and violence against anyone who is different from them, or anyone who doesn’t worship Trump, which means most of us.  I fear there is going to be a crackdown against us very soon, a curtailment of our rights, even though we have done nothing wrong.

In America, the bullies are winning.  Evil is winning.  It’s so triggering.  I am reminded of being the bullied, sensitive kid at school who was chased home every day by a rowdy group of cruel boys and mocked by the popular girls because of my social awkwardness.   Our president is a sadistic bully and he is surrounded by and rewards other sadistic bullies, while gaslighting and blaming and cruelly mocking everyone who has ever been a victim — or even anyone who is just a decent human being — by him and his merry band of flying monkeys.

When I think back to two years ago, or even a year ago, I realize with a jolt how much worse things have become since then — and much worse than I ever thought they could get.  I certainly thought Trump would have been impeached or removed under the 25th Amendment by now, but nothing he does or says — locking kids in cages, committing treasonous acts with Putin and Kim Jong Un in plain sight, alienating our allies, mocking women and abuse survivors who are brave enough to come forward and tell their stories — nothing at all seems to force him to be accountable.   He is apparently already above the law.  His new SCOTUS pick, Kavanaugh, was chosen primarily because he will make sure Trump stays above the law and is never held accountable for his many criminal acts and brutal deeds.    Our system of checks and balances has been hacked away at and has failed us, and now all three branches of government are completely under Trump’s control.

Even the breaking news story the other day in the New York Times that provided proof that Trump is a tax cheat and fraud who lied about his inheritance and businesses,  made barely a blip in the news.  It got buried under all the Kavanaugh drama, and no one even seems to care.  No one is going to hold him accountable for his crimes.   Even if the Mueller investigation somehow isn’t shut down,  Trump will skate, no matter how bad the charges may be.

Things have gotten worse, so much worse.  I feel it in my very cells.  It’s different now than it was even a few weeks ago.  Trump is consolidating power, he’s become more blatant and open in his cruelty and his lackeys don’t even try to hide behind a pleasant facade anymore (Lindsey Graham is a good example —  it’s almost like he’s possessed or suddenly removed his “soft spoken southern gentleman” skin suit).

The GOP has declared open season on women who dare to call out a man for abuse or for rape, and on all Democrats.   This isn’t normal.   A president is supposed to bring people together, not divide them.   Democrats have been demonized and identified as the enemy, and Trump’s tweet is preparing his base for aggression and violence against us.  To Trump and his supporters, we are the enemy, every bit as bad if not worse than ISIS.  We are fair game for whatever Trump wants them to dish out.   Martial law and curtailment of our freedom of speech is probably next.   We may even be rounded up and put in reeducation or forced labor camps.  Private prisons can make a hefty profit off our free labor.

As a Democrat and a woman and abuse survivor, I don’t feel safe in this country anymore.  I’m hypervigilant and constantly stressed.   Things seem to get better for awhile, I see a ray of hope — and then something happens and it feels like I’m on the Titanic as it was sinking, knowing there’s no way to save myself.  Or like I’m in hell, trapped in a torturous game of two steps forward, three steps back, for all eternity.   It’s as if I’m back in my abusive marriage, only this is worse because there’s no escape, no way to go “no contact.”  Trump dominates everything, he’s an oppressive presence even when I’m not seeing or hearing him.   I feel like I can’t breathe.  I wish I could flee the country, but I lack the means to do that.    And I’m so jealous of those who will be able to.

If things have gotten this much worse in less than two years, I’m absolutely petrified of what is coming down the pike next year, or two years hence.   I lack the right kind of emotional makeup to be able to survive living in a fascist dictatorship and once it’s established (if we lose the midterms I am sure it will be), all I have to look forward to is the relief of death.   I worry about my children facing a future under such a cruel and heartless regime, where my daughter can be targeted because of her gender, and my son can be targeted because of his sexual orientation.   I don’t feel like they’re safe here either and I worry about them.

Besides being terrified, I’m also heartbroken.   I remember the way things used to be here in America, how bright the future seemed.  I remember the way we took our many freedoms and rights for granted and never dreamed anything like this could happen.  I’m filled with grief so profound and heavy I can barely move.    I often wonder if this is the way women felt in Afghanistan or Iran before Sharia Law took over or the way the people of Germany felt in 1934 before Hitler seized total power.

I never thought it would happen here.  But it has.  America is dying, and this is what is feels like.

Please pray for us.

*****

Here is a similar, but more hopeful, article from Chris Kratzer’s amazing blog.  Its central message is that if what is happening in America makes you feel sick, nauseous, angry, sad, fearful, or disgusted, there is nothing wrong with you.  In fact, if you feel those things, it’s an indication you have a working soul.

If Today, Your Heart Breaks and Your Hope Is Fading

Book review: “A Higher Loyalty” by James Comey

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The “handshake” shown here is described in the book.

I received my copy of the bestselling memoir A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership by former FBI director James Comey on Thursday and  finished it this morning.   It’s a fast read, but it may change you.

Comey describes the chain of events that led to his firing from the FBI in May 2017.   But more than that, this is an autobiography.  He also describes his childhood, high school years, his early years working in law enforcement (including exciting cases involving high profile mobsters and the Gambino Crime Family).  There’s also the very personal story of the loss of his infant son, Collin, an event he believes infused him with more empathy for the heartbreaks and losses of others — and made him a better FBI agent.

The book moves fast partly because the pages are packed with dialogue, some of which is humorous.  Here’s an excerpt of one of the conversations Comey had with Trump, at a private dinner meeting Trump had arranged for the two of them at the White House. I think this excerpt shows both Trump’s own ignorance and disdain for intellectualism.

“On my plate, I had found a large cream colored card describing the entire four course menu in cursive script. Salad, shrimp scampi, chicken parmesan with pasta, and vanilla ice cream. The president began by admiring his own menu card, which he held up.

“They write these things out one at a time, by hand,” [Trump] marveled, referring to the White House staff.  “A calligrapher,” I replied, nodding.

He looked quizzical. “They write them by hand,” he repeated.

Comey is being vilified and projected onto by his enemies right now, accused of everything Trump himself does every day.   I believe Comey, and not just because he’s on “my side” politically.   I believe him because he’s believable.   He’s an observant writer who notices the nuances of body and facial language, and appears to be a shrewd judge of character.  He also appears to have a high level of empathy, judging from the way he writes about others and his own reactions to them.   I cannot imagine a Donald Trump being capable of writing or thinking the way Comey does, or even noticing a fraction of the things Comey does.  Comey’s observation skills and empathy, combined with a lifelong passion for the truth, is what made him a great FBI agent and allowed him to rise to the top of the organization.   Yet he always remained humble, even shy and self-doubting at times (yes, he really did try to hide inside the blue curtains at the White House!)   His success never went to his head, and his priorities always remained on seeking the truth, never on bolstering his own ego.

Comey is being attacked by some people for telling the truth, something that narcissists like Trump hate because it exposes them for who they are.   In fact, Comey seems to have been selected specifically by Trump as a target for emotional and mental abuse.   People like Trump can sniff out potential scapegoats (usually very empathetic or observant people who can smell out the truth) from a mile away, and Comey, for his part, was uneasy around Trump from Day One — but like most of us who have been in abusive relationships, he initially wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.    As a shrewd FBI agent though, he never actually did — he only promised Trump “honest loyalty,” not the sort of mobster-loyalty Trump wanted from him.

Comey spends some time early in the book talking about what character traits he believes a good leader needs to have: toughmindedness is great, but it needs to be balanced with qualities of empathy, honesty, and integrity — values that are lacking in Donald Trump, who cares only about loyalty to himself and projecting a fearsome image of strength.

For all its darkness, A Higher Loyalty ends on a positive note.  Comey compares the Trump presidency to a forest fire.   Forest fires are destructive and deadly, but they are also necessary and happen naturally on a cyclical basis.   Forest fires make it possible for new life to grow — seedlings and new plants that had been crowded out by the old trees before finally have room to emerge and flourish.    While Trump might be a destructive force of nature, he may be a necessary one:  in his wake, people are waking up and demanding real change.    The rot that had been present but hidden for decades is finally being exposed, young people are making themselves heard, and I have no doubt that in time, Trump (and Trumpism) will go down in flames and our democracy will emerge better than it was before, with new values or old values that had been forgotten.

What 2017 has taught me.

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I feel like a victim again.   I was doing pretty well emotionally until this year.  Since I left my ex in 2014 and started blogging, slowly I began to feel freer and lighter emotionally.   I felt like I was finally rid of most of my C-PTSD/BPD symptoms and the emotional work I was doing both in and out of therapy was reaping benefits.    I came to realize that I had been repeatedly victimized by others for most of my life because I acted like a victim and kept telling  myself I was one.  I became my own abuser.   Although I will never blame myself for what happened to me or the psychological problems I developed because of it (which in their own warped and unhealthy way protected me),  I realized, like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, when Glinda The Good Witch told her she always had the power to go home but just didn’t realize it, that I always had the power to be a non-victim, to not live in mortal fear of everyone, but didn’t realize it because the abuse I endured had made me blind to the fact I was as worthy and powerful as anyone else and deserved to be treated well by others.  I was finally seeing what was possible for me without all that paralyzing fear, shame and self-hatred dragging me down.

But the political abuses of our monstrously narcissistic and sociopathic president and his equally malicious administration has retriggered a lot of the Bad Old Me, the scared-of-everything-and-everyone me.     I won’t go into the specifics of what those abuses are since this is not intended to be a political post and I know I’m not alone in feeling so terrified and depressed at the same time.   All of us, especially those of us who survived narcissistic abuse, and especially if it was sustained over a long period of time, all know why he triggers us.

2017 has been a horror show for me.    I feel like an unwilling participant in the Trump Reality Show, all the while knowing I’m on the losing team.    This doesn’t just mean obsessing over the latest upsetting news story and worrying about the effect its outcome might ultimately have on my freedom, financial status, health, and general well-being.     I’ve also been doubting myself again.  My feelings are hurt more easily, I ruminate and obsess for weeks over insults and rejections, even by people I don’t know well.   Often I feel like I can’t function at all.   I’ve returned to feeling like a victim, and even while I know that such a self-defeating, negative attitude tends to draw in even more negativity,  I can’t help it.   Almost a year after Trump’s inauguration,  I’m generally in one of three moods: fearful, depressed, and angry — sometimes all three at the same time.  Sometimes I feel dissociated, like nothing is real anymore.   Sometimes I slide into a kind of numbness where cynicism and fatalism take over.   I think about death a lot.

But something odd has happened too.  In the midst of the darkness, my faith in God has intensified.   I know he has a plan for me, which involves illuminating the truth and serving as a voice for the vulnerable.   Even while my emotional life is presently in turmoil, I feel like God is very near and no matter what happens, I should not be afraid or give into despair or hopelessness.   Even if I become one of the casualties of this president’s policies,  and even if I have to die,  it will have meant something and I would have fulfilled His purpose for me.

As my faith has grown, my heart has changed.   I used to consider myself self-centered and unconcerned about others, even to the point of not being able to feel much empathy to others.   But that was because I felt like I constantly had to protect myself from being hurt.   It’s strange to me that even though a lot of those old “poor me” emotions have come back, this newfound concern about the world at large has not faltered and always exceeds my concern for myself.  That is definitely something new.

I realized about two years ago that the narcissistic abuse I had to endure as a child wasn’t just some random thing that happened.    It was ultimately a teacher that gave me a doctoral level course in how narcissists operate.   It was schooling to prepare me for what we are facing now on the national level.  After my rage at my abusers (and people with NPD in general) burnt itself out, I began to wonder if I was a narcissist myself, or even had NPD.    I looked at those traits I possessed that resulted from not having been validated as a functioning, worthy human being by my parents — my self centeredness, my envy of others, my tendency in the past to not take responsibility and project fault onto others, my rage, my frozen empathy, my tendency to hate (or fall in love with)  people easily — and concluded that I was myself a narcissist.   I made it my mission to rid myself of my narcissism, but at the same time (or actually, slightly prior to it), I entered an odd phase where I began to sympathize with narcissists and sought to understand them rather than keep bashing them.   I wrote posts criticizing what I felt, at the time, was an unjust demonization of people with NPD by the narcissistic abuse community.    I even started a blog documenting my self-healing journey and later, my therapy.   (That blog has been inactive since April and I have no interest in ever posting in it again).

As it turned out, that weird phase was short lived.  I had insisted that my therapist give me an NPD diagnosis, since I was so certain I had it and couldn’t work on myself properly if I didn’t have the actual label.  My therapist didn’t think I even qualified for the BPD diagnosis I had been given in the ’90s.   Instead, when I kept pushing for a diagnosis, he said he thought I had PTSD (more accurately, C-PTSD), maybe with a few narcissistic traits (“fleas” in narc-abuse parlance), but certainly not fullblown NPD.     Gradually I stopped sympathizing with narcissists too, and developed indifference toward them.   The whole topic of narcissism, in fact, had begun to bore me.   Today I could care less about narcissists, although I don’t actively feel hatred toward them.   I just feel — nothing toward them.

I’ve been puzzling over why I developed that weird empathy toward narcissists (and my conviction that I was one), because I’m feeling none of that now, with this malignant narcissist president, or toward narcissists in general.  Yesterday I finally realized why that happened.   The darkness and evil we are facing is so dangerous and so powerful, that for me to have remained in a state of hatred (which is normal for people who have recently left narcissistic relationships) would have kept me from being able to reach out and give hope to others.  Hatred, no matter if it’s born of righteous anger, is just another form of darkness, and blocks any light from getting through.  Not only would it have hindered me from doing the work that God planned for me, it would have eventually destroyed me.  Hatred eats you alive and exacerbates any narcissistic traits one has.   In order for me to let go of my hatred I had to look inward at my own narcissism and rid myself of it.  I would not have been able to see what I was doing to myself with such clarity had I remained stuck in hatred.

I know I’m not explaining myself very well, but I know I’ve changed, and all these psychological stages I had to go through happened as part of my training.  Knowing that, none of this is easy.  In fact, it’s excruciatingly painful but in an existential, rather than personal, way.   It hurts to know there are so many horrible people in the world who have no conscience, no moral center, no respect for the truth or for justice, and do not care about anyone but themselves.   It hurts to know that greed and narcissism is decimating everything good in the world.   It hurts knowing that we have a bunch of men running the country who have made it clear they want most of us to perish and are actively trying to make that a reality and are gleefully going about their mission to destroy.   It hurts to know that, to them, I’m worthless, a useless parasite who deserves to die.   Their soullessness and cruelty makes me question my own worth and is making me doubt myself again and making me act in the old ways that bring about abuse.   I’m prey and they can smell that.    But this time, it’s not just about me.   It’s about all of us who have been targeted.   The evil we are in the midst of feels eternally powerful, oppressive, almost biblical in its malice, some dark force not of this world.  It’s overwhelming.   It’s overwhelmingly sad.  And scary.  And very, very hard not to give in to hate.

Nevertheless I must soldier on.    I can’t go back.   My past gave me tools to do the work I have been asked to do, whatever that work may be.   No matter what happens, God has my back.   But it’s so hard.

How narcissistic abuse prepared us to resist the Trump regime.

The other day, I promised to write a new article about the spiritual battle we are facing in America (and the world), but then I realized that back in July, I’d already written about this, so I am posting it again (with the title slightly changed from the original).

One thing I would like to add: Even though our democracy appears to be in grave danger under the Trump regime (and is in grave danger still), good things are happening. The Resistance has grown stronger, and women are finally speaking out against sexual abuse and harassment. Sexual abusers, whether politicians or entertainers, in Hollywood or Washington or Alabama, are being exposed and held accountable.

Due to the heartless and immoral actions of today’s Republican party, there is a strong backlash against it. Good people with empathy are no longer staying silent. A week ago (or was it two?) there was a blue sweep across America, as Democratic nominees in many states won over Republicans. Even a transgender woman won a House seat in Virginia, and Hoboken gained a Muslim mayor! That’s progress if you ask me.

People are also demanding changes to our gun laws. There is more gun violence in America than in any other country, and yet nothing is done. Mass shootings continue and are forgotten within a week. The gun lobby and NRA are powerful and wealthy, but We, The People are more powerful and eventually we will win this fight too.

So, things are changing, but we are not out of the woods yet. We can’t become complacent over a few victories. We must continue to fight for our democracy, and there probably will be more bloodshed before it’s all over. We are currently being confronted with what Jung called our shadow, and after 40 years of the sort of policies we’ve had, Trump (or someone like him) was the inevitable result. But the situation is far from hopeless. I think we will win, but we have to keep going.

Here is the original article I posted on July 18 of this year.

How Narcissistic Abuse Prepared Us to Resist the Trump Regime.

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Credit: “Woman Warrior”/unknown artist

I’ve hesitated about writing about this because it sounds both a little grandiose and a little woo-woo.  But for quite some time now,  I’ve believed those of us who were hurt badly and broken emotionally by narcissistic parents, spouses, lovers, or friends — and who were able to rise above that and escape our prison and begin the long healing journey that made us realize exactly what we had been dealing with — have been rewarded with a kind of vision and clarity about the world that the average person who never suffered this kind of abuse doesn’t have privy to.

We have learned — the hard way — how to discern lies from truth, and good from evil, and we are courageous and observant enough to call out lies and evil when we see it.  Without the excruciating educations we received years ago, we would not fully understand the spiritual darkness that undergirds what has happened in our country now.   We have developed emotional armor and X-ray vision that keeps us from being taken in by the lies and the manipulation and the coldhearted evil of the cabal of bullies and sociopaths who have hijacked our once-benevolent though never perfect nation.

Trump isn’t the problem.  He is merely a huge mirror reflecting back to us our own darkness as a people: greed, avarice, lack of empathy for the most vulnerable among us, and massive-scale narcissism.   Carl Jung would call this our shadow.    Trump is really doing us a great service by showing us what we became – but that still doesn’t mean he’s not a grave danger.   We must be on our guard.

The problem in America didn’t start with Donald Trump.  It has existed for decades, starting with Reagan’s feel-good rhetoric about self sufficiency, positive thinking, and bootstrap-pulling.   It was seductive and happy rhetoric, but was also a slippery slope that led to the jettisoning of empathy and eventual scapegoating of the most vulnerable.  Soon we were placing the blame for all the nation’s ills on our most vulnerable citizens,  deriding  fictional “welfare queens” (always imagined as black or Hispanic, even though most people on welfare were actually white), poor single mothers, and the LGBTQ community and their non-existent “war on family values.”    The list of the nations’ scapegoats who were blamed for the bad economy and everything else that went wrong soon expanded to the working poor, the addicted, the middle class, non-Christians (especially Muslims), and in the last stages of our national sickness, even to the disabled, elderly, chronically ill, liberals, and even children.   Why?  Because we are all “takers,” “parasites,” and “worthless non-producers.”   We all became scapegoats of this soulless cabal of wealthy grifters, liars, narcissists and criminals and we are at the moment at their mercy — of which they have none.

Along with this divide and conquer strategy of separating and fomenting hatred between the “winners” and the “losers” and the wholesale scapegoating of the “least among us” came deregulation (the dismantling of laws that protect us from corporate exploitation and environmental hazards), more and bigger tax breaks to the most wealthy and powerful at the expense of the poorest and weakest citizens, the naming of soulless corporations as “people,”  billions of dollars given to fund the prison-industrial complex instead of college grants and money for schools,  the denial of both climate change and science itself, the beginnings of voter suppression, gerrymandering districts, rich donors like the Kochs and Mercers using their vast wealth to ensure a Republican takeover, more and harsher prison sentences for minor drug offenders (mostly poor or of color) at the same time defunding rehabilitation and mental health programs that could help those with addictions.

All this evil was done with the blessing of the Christian Right, a loosely organized group of evangelical and fundamentalist churches and religious groups that believe in a strict, legalistic, authoritarian brand of dominionist, Calvinist Christianity based on the Old Testament (rather than the Gospels), whose doctrine teaches the prosperity gospel:  the unbiblical idea that unlimited power and wealth are bestowed on the most righteous (God’s elect) and the rest of us are weak, sick, disabled, powerless, and lack wealth because we are somehow morally lacking and therefore deserve our sorry lot.   Like all narcissists, they blame the victims.   These fake Christians self righteously proclaim we only need to be “saved” and the riches and health will come, as if God is a cosmic lottery machine.  And they call us the elitists!  This is spiritual abuse.

But all this is nothing new.  It’s been going on for decades.   It’s only worse under Trump because we finally reached the point where we were ready for someone like him to rise to power.   He’s like the nasty boil that erupts that makes it no longer possible to deny there’s a serious underlying infection (and yet many still deny the infection in spite of clear evidence right in front of them).

We got what we deserved, and Trump is only mirroring back to us our national sickness.  The sickness I speak of is pathological narcissism on a national scale, which perhaps began as the result of too much pride following our WWII victory.    Even as far back as the sixties, there were glimmerings of what was to come, but it was only seen in what was once dismissed as “the loony fringe.” It didn’t really begin to come into its own until the 1980s and the era of deregulation and tax cuts for social programs, tax breaks for the powerful CEOs and corporations, and the aggressive union-busting that went along with that (the last bastion of protection for the working class).

My point is this.  All the traits of pathological narcissism we know well from our own toxic families are now writ large on the national scale.    We survivors have been schooled in how this illness works and what it does to individuals and to families.  Now we are seeing what it does to an entire country.     America is a huge dysfunctional family, with narcissistic parents (the president and his underlings) who shower gifts (but never love) on their golden children (the wealthy and powerful and white and those who make them look good) while shaming, scapegoating, smearing, and threatening to punish (by taking away healthcare, education, regulations that protect us, and clean air and water) those who are different, don’t make them look good, call them out on their hypocrisy and lies, or dare to blow whistles on them.   They gaslight us by calling what we know to be true ‘fake news.’   Scapegoated children are always silenced, but we won’t be silenced, just like our own narcissistic families failed to silence us.  Instead, they  trained us. They were our harsh teachers.  We told the truth about their toxic behavior and emotional abuse, and made our own way in the world anyway, even though we might have lost our families’ blessings, money, or their fake love.

I don’t think there’s any coincidence that the great army of us who discovered that our own brokenness was a result of narcissistic abuse came about a mere ten or twenty years before this conscienceless, sociopathic cabal of self serving narcissists, con artists, criminals, and their flying monkeys (enablers and sycophants) rose to take power over our nation and maybe the world.  I truly believe that as painful and unfair as our suffering was, if we were able to recognize it for what it was and escape from it,  we are the ones with the right sort of training and emotional resilience to lead the fight against the darkness that is threatening to destroy the world.  It’s a kind of holy war, but it has nothing to do with religion.  It has to do with good versus evil, and because we got to see firsthand in our own families of origin (or our abusive marriages or other close relationships) how damaging and pernicious this type of evil can be, we  have a huge advantage over most of seeing through to the truth of things (and where there is truth, there is goodness and justice).   We have to be careful not to let this knowledge go to our heads or become arrogant about it, because that itself can lead to its own form of narcissism and defeat our goal of returning goodness, love, and caring to the world.   I don’t think it’s too late.  Because there are no coincidences, I think there was a reason we got the harsh preparation we did (most often, we were the truth tellers, the most vulnerable, and the most emotionally healthy people in our own families), and the time has come to put our hard won skills and our capacity for empathizing with the underdog to use.

As for people who endured narcissistic abuse and are aware they did, but who still support this president and his dangerous and heartless policies (unbelievably, some of these folks completely deny his narcissism),  I believe most of them are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, in which they are still identifying with their abuser unconsciously and still haven’t completely come to terms with their own anger and shame.   I can only hope and pray they see the truth and join us in the fight.

I want to post a long comment from a reader of the N-Continuum, a better than average blog about narcissism and narcissistic abuse.  Pay attention to the way this reader (who is a survivor of narcissistic abuse) makes excuses for Trump (I have bolded the more outrageous assertions) and completely denies his obvious narcissism (calling it “healthy narcissism,” LOL).  S/he also buys into the delusion that Hillary Clinton was a far more dangerous narcissist (a common sentiment among Trumpsters), that Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Agreement was a good thing, and that climate change is a hoax:

It’s so interesting that Hillary is displaying many signs of NPD post election. She is too angry to hide it. Her latest interviews are full of delusions and blame towards others. Even the interviewers are scratching their heads.

Those that know her want her to stop talking and also are revealing she has never admitted to failure on any count in her entire life. It’s all out there on youtube, even left wing media (which is most) are looking embarrassed.

I have still only seen Trump doing his best for American citizens, constantly under fire by manufactured “scandals” 7 days a week. All of which amount to nothing.

A little information for those that don’t know. Trump has been very interested in and commenting on politics plus has been considering running for 25 years. He didn’t just suddenly change.

That Travelgate debacle Hilary was involved in was black hearted. Really nasty, accusing the guy that worked at the WH travel agency of embezzlement because he wouldn’t use her friend’s charter service for general contracting. She could have just fired him, but no, she made a false accusation. This is all on record. He had to go through the court system and was found innocent. This is the kind of thing a toxic narcissist does. Her false statement is officially called False by the courts. This is just one shady truth about H.

I don’t think people should say Trumpers have diseased brains (Silver) or they are uneducated, have the wrong life experience, are “just seeing what they want to see”. Maybe none of this is correct and those that think Trump is a narcissist is wrong? anyone on here consider that?

I still have heard and seen nothing in particular that suggests he has NPD. I see healthy narcissism but not NPD.

I ask this question of people at the Forum and none are given. It is always the immediate leap (conflation) to full blown NPD with nothing offering the bridge to this OBVIOUS CONCLUSION that everyone on here seems to agree with.

Can someone point out just ONE thing that would tick the NPD box please? just one? besides being a bit sexist and rude on occasion? The “experts say” thing just isn’t it. Experts say “these pants will make you thin” also. Experts can be bought, can be partisan. Trump is so dividing people are abandoning their own principals to announce him NPD.

He is doing his best to keep his promises. Does anyone watch his speeches? his exiting the Paris Agreement speech today was full of heart and real concern, he picked through the layers of concern. He isn’t lying. What does he have to gain? money? power? he already had that, he didn’t need to be POTUS. Could it be he wants to help?

If he HAD stayed in the agreement the media would have said he broke his promise. Instead the news tonight opened with calving icebergs at the top of the hour. . . . disaster, the world is ending.

Actually we are in a normal interglacial period and return to an ice age is more likely. Anyone else notice “global warming” has become climate change? (so if it gets colder it’s still “correct”).

In a later comment, this commenter reveals that she has recently become “born again” and realized that God has deemed that men should have dominion over women.   Perhaps it’s simply sexism that causes some religious Trumpsters to hate Hillary so much?  Because she’s one of those “uppity women” that upsets the patriarchal apple cart of white Christian male supremacy?  Does this abuse survivor really think an abusive narcissistic husband is in his right by abusing his woman, just because he has God’s blessing to do so?  One has to wonder.

Here is a PDF article I just read that has a similar message to mine: the idea that survivors of narcissistic abuse have a special role in helping to guide the nation through this dangerous historical minefield.  It’s definitely worth a read.

Do Not Lose Heart: We Were Made for These Times

Some days I feel like everything’s hopeless.

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Some days it seems like they are winning.    Now we even have State TV.    The reason we had regulations were to keep something like that from happening.    I feel like a character in Orwell’s 1984 and we are creeping closer to fascism every day.

Most days I feel hopeful.  I want to think that goodness will always trump evil.   I want to think most people have good hearts and can tell the difference between truth and lies.  I want to believe there is a way out of this darkness and justice will prevail.

Other days I’m not so sure.   They have so much power, so much money, and are taking over everything like a cancer.    Today is one of those days.   On days like this I feel like giving up.   I feel like nothing will change and will only grow worse.    I feel like I’ll never live to see my country as it used to be ever again.

I know that’s exactly what their intention is.  To wear us down, exhaust us, make us give up, make us buckle under and become sheep who never complain, and just do as we’re told because we know there is no better choice.

I know I have to fight this malaise and negativity, but on days like this it’s so hard. I just feel so depressed and tired.  I want to succumb to it, to let the darkness engulf me and take me down with it.

Maybe I should just ignore what’s going on, not read the news, but I can’t do that either. They want us to be ignorant.  To ignore what’s going on is to become ignorant.

We are being threatened from the outside, and also from our own government. There is no safe place to retreat to, nowhere to run.

Somehow I have to maintain my desire to resist and push back against this assault on the people — their assault on me and everything and everyone I know and love feels so personal.  But it’s getting so hard, and today I feel like nothing can be done and hope is gone.   My C-PTSD has been retriggered by this president.    It’s traumatizing to a lot of people, but especially those who have been through this kind of abuse on the personal  level.

It’s only been 7 months and I feel numb.   I feel like a prisoner on death row who is innocent of any crime but can’t get a fair trial, can’t get an appeal, so I just sit in my cell counting the days until they come to walk me down the green mile.

The president isn’t the problem — he’s the symptom.

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Donald Trump is probably the most hated president in U.S. history.   He may be the most hated public figure since Osama bin Ladin, Saddam Hussein, or even Adolf Hitler.  In less than five months, he has transformed America — not into some “great” nation that never really existed, as his red ballcaps promise, but into an alien regime hovering just north of banana republic status.

I won’t list all the ways he and his administration are destroying America.   Most likely, you already know, and if you don’t know, then you haven’t been paying attention and this blog isn’t intended to inform you what’s been going on.   If you, like 35 – 40% of the people in this country,  think he’s been doing a great job and is really making America great again, then you have no business reading this post anyway.  It’s not my desire or my responsibility to change your mind.

Donald Trump isn’t the problem though.   The problem has been with us since at least the early 1980s, with the beginnings of deregulation (rolling back the laws that prevented monopolies and exploitation of workers), the breakup of the unions, and the then-revolutionary idea of trickle down economics, whose original intention was to eventually lift up all boats.   Perhaps Reagan actually thought his economic policies would work.   I don’t think he ever intended for things to go this far.  But they did, because limitless greed and predatory business practices became too addictive and no one wanted to put the brakes on.    Those benefiting the most from Reagan’s tax breaks and corporate welfare became insatiable — and at some point they sold their souls because they liked the endless flow of goodies too much.

In a nation where being the best, and having the best and most of everything were becoming the only things that mattered, empathy and caring for others became like an emotional appendix — something that was a liability in the crass, bright new world of me-first and conspicuous consumption.    So caring and civility were tossed aside in favor of selfishness and even sociopathy.      It took almost four decades to reach the point where this state of affairs was no longer sustainable, and in 2008, with the housing crisis, the structure was revealing how broken and rot-infested it had become.   For eight years, we had a no-drama, pragmatic leader who managed to keep things from getting too much worse.  So it wasn’t until 2017 that the rotted structure actually started to collapse, with the election of a pathologically narcissistic, conscienceless, authoritarian would-be dictator who is attempting to destroy anything that’s left of the country that made him what he was.

Donald Trump isn’t the cancer.  He’s just the pain we feel.   If Hillary had been elected instead, the disease would have silently continued to grow worse without our realizing it, until nothing could be done.    The far right would have nursed their simmering hatred for Hillary and demonized her even more than they demonized Obama.   Congress, the senate, and the judiciary would have continued to turn even more seats over to far right Republicans dead set on removing our civil rights, dismantling our institutions, destroying the environment, and taking away our freedom.  If you think things are bad now, they would have been much worse four years from now and someone like Trump or even worse (yes, it’s possible) would have come to power in the next presidential election.   Progressives would have had even less power to change anything than they do now.   I think had someone like Trump come to power after four years of Hillary (who would have been constantly obstructed and then blamed for not being able to do anything) , we would have quietly become a bona fide one-party country where any dissent would be silenced or even punished.   We would be beyond hope.

I don’t think things are that dire yet.   We are on orange, but not yet red.    There are still a few checks and balances in place.   Although a minority, there are still some Democrats in powerful government positions.  The legitimate news media is under attack, but it’s still vibrant and thriving, in fact more so now than it ever was.    The fake news media (Fox News) that has fed the disease is now facing a reckoning and may never recover.    Republicans are slowly realizing the seriousness of our situation.  Progressives have realized this all along — we told them so, but they didn’t listen.    Now maybe a few finally are.

The rot runs deep in America and in 2017, it can no longer be hidden or ignored.     The political situation right now is like stage 4 cancer that didn’t start to hurt until the end. Oh, maybe there was a sense that something was wrong but there was nothing obvious or painful enough to make us want to change our ways.   Cancer can be carried for a long time before you realize there’s anything wrong.  Once it starts to hurt, and you finally make that doctor’s appointment,  it may be too late.     But it also may not be too late, and the pain is an alarm telling us we must take action and we must reclaim those values we thought were hampering us.

 

We have officially entered the Twilight Zone.

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Credit:  Stephen Crowley/The New York Times 

Only four months into the Trump presidency, and America feels like an alien planet occupied by tentacled overlords who have taken we, the people, hostage.  Yes, even Trump supporters, who seem to be suffering from a mass case of Stockholm Syndrome.  The horror author Stephen King probably summed up the situation most chillingly when he tweeted that no horror novel he ever wrote matched the horror of what is unfolding before us ever since Trump became our president.

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, he tried to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country, which, like everything else he has tried to implement, ended in failure and the ever-growing ire of people who champion human rights and sanctuary for refugees escaping authoritarian regimes.    The crazy thing about the Muslim ban was that it did not ban any countries where Trump has business interests, and this includes Saudi Arabia, a country that Trump has himself criticized for its human rights abuses and the way they treat women, children, and gays.   Let’s also not forget the  fact that Saudi Arabia may also have been behind 9/11 — or at least Trump has said they were.  Donald Trump has denigrated Islam and promised to protect us from the “Islam takeover” that exists only in his own mind, which was his purported reasoning for the infamous Muslim ban.

So, why is Trump in Saudi Arabia before he’s made any visits to American allies like Canada, Europe, or Mexico?   Why is he kissing up to their high government officials and accepting medals, the royal treatment, and signing agreements? Most unfathomable of all, why do the Saudis seem to love Trump as much as he seems to love them now?  Why does he treat them with more respect than he treats Germany’s Andrea Merkel or Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull or Canada’s Justin Trudeau?

The easy answer to Trump’s stunning hypocrisy (and the seemingly only way to resolve our collective cognitive dissonance) is the adage “follow the money,” and obviously money is a big part of it.    Although Trump tweeted yesterday that his visit was to promote peace between the US and the Islamic world (yeah, right, I really believed that one), we now learn that he was really there to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia.   That’s right — he’s selling weapons to a country he has himself said was behind the 9/11 attacks.   Whether they were or weren’t behind the attacks isn’t the point.    Signing a weapons treaty with Saudi Arabia proves he doesn’t really care about the well-being of Americans.  It’s always all about the money.    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

And yet his supporters scream and rant about people who protested against the Muslim ban.  They accuse us of helping give Islam a way to infiltrate our “Christian” and “democratic” way of life here.   They can’t think critically enough to understand that granting Muslim refugees (mostly women and children) sanctuary here doesn’t mean we sympathize with the jihadists or approve of fundamentalist Islam — in fact, it means we have compassion for the victims of fundamentalist Islam’s human rights abuses and recognize that these vulnerable people are human beings who need our help.   But they are perfectly okay with our Muslim-hating president who seems to be cozying up to the very people they fear the most.

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Credit:  N/A

It’s no different than his attitude toward the Russians.    While Russia is no longer a communist country and they haven’t been thought of as an enemy in many years, they aren’t exactly an ally either.   Or they never have been until this presidency.   Donald Trump seems to worship the Russians, even emulate them.  Last week, he held a secret meeting in the Oval Office with Russian officials where no American press was invited but Russian photographers were.    Trump supporters have resolved their cognitive dissonance over Trump’s inexplicable behavior by taking up his own attitudes — to the point of chanting “RUSSIA IS OUR FRIEND” at one of their protests.    They can’t think critically enough to see their hypocrisy.   No, to them, it’s the media that’s the enemy now — a beloved right protected under the 1st Amendment — because Trump has declared they are an enemy. Now those rights we take for granted are endangered.

Again, the easy explanation for the inexplicable is “follow the money.”  Like Saudi Arabia, Russia is a country where Trump has business interests.   If the investigation turns out to bear fruit (and I am certain it will if it isn’t stymied or somehow silenced), we will see that Russia at least partly financed his campaign, rigged the election, and has been funneling money to him and his far-right billionaire cronies all along.    Of course, if the investigation finds collusion with Russia, his supporters will still find a way to defend him, or cry “FAKE NEWS!”  They truly believe Trump is more trustworthy than the FBI.  What kind of crazyworld are we in when we actually start to look at the FBI as the heroes — and even the victims? We have really fallen down the rabbit hole into an alternate universe with an alternate reality where we doubt our own perceptions and the truth is no longer required.    It’s gaslighting writ large.

It’s much more than a money trail, though.    In fact, money may not even be the primary reason behind Trump’s love for Saudi Arabia and Russia.   Trump has shown an affinity for authoritarian leaders, regardless of their ideology or their religious beliefs.   We all know about his massive mancrush on Vladimir Putin and his minions, but he’s also praised North Korean president Kim Jong Un, one of the most fearsome — if not THE most fearsome — dictators in the modern world.  He seems to admire and emulate dictators, because he himself is an authoritarian personality who believes in a harsh, punishing, “strongman” approach to governing as opposed to the democratic, egalitarian one favored by the western world.   He insults and denigrates leaders who espouse fairness, equality, and compassion — or at the very least he ignores them as if they don’t matter.    His refusal to shake hands with Germany’s chancellor Andrea Merkel compared with the hearty slaps on the back and simpering secret-sharing with Putin is very telling.

I spent much of last night and this morning puzzling over why Saudi leaders seem to fawn all over Trump and have given him a red-carpet welcome to their country worthy of a king — in spite of the fact he has repeatedly insulted their religion and culture.  Of course, we can follow the money; with Trump, that’s a given.   But there’s another reason.   They love Trump because he is so much like them.   They can identify with a man who shares their own values of repression, sexism and authoritarianism.   A dictatorial approach to governing, in their minds, trumps religion (no pun intended).   And the same applies to Donald Trump.   Unlike our past presidents (even the most conservative among them), Trump has far more in common with King Salman or Putin than he does with Andrea Merkel or Justin Trudeau — and that should be a grave concern to anyone who calls themselves an American or who cherishes freedom and democracy.

There’s one other reason why Trump loves the Saudis and the Russians, which is perhaps the most important one of all: they give him the narcissistic supply he so craves.    They probably know how fragile his ego is — after all, they are not stupid.   Trump, like many narcissists, is naive enough to think they love him, they really, really love him, when in fact they are most likely laughing at him whenever he leaves the room.    The weird thing about narcissists like Trump is the paradox of power.  Narcissists, although predatory and dangerous to most, are also very emotionally needy.  That neediness makes them incredibly naive and therefore easily manipulated.   Their unreasonable demands for adulation may cause most people (who they see as beneath them) to cringe in fear, but they will gladly grovel before most psychopaths.   Thus they become putty in the hands of psychopathic or sociopathic leaders like Vladimir Putin, who appear far less insecure and requiring of worship than Trump does.   They will do anything they are asked and jettison any values they insist they have (which they really don’t) when they see that the tradeoff is a healthy dose of narcissistic supply.    They’re the ultimate sellouts. Trump pretends to have values but it’s all a sham.  The only thing he values (besides money and power) is being worshipped and adored.

And so now we are witnessing the spectacle of our president — who promised protection from terrorism — fawning all over Islamic jihadists in Saudi Arabia.   No, I realize most Muslims are not fundamentalist crazies or jihadists, but the sentiment on the far right is that all of them are (at least up until now).    As for Trump, he doesn’t care whether they are or not, as long as they’re giving him the praise and adulation he so craves.     In comparison, the freedoms we enjoy here in America are a threat to his ego and a painful reminder of the things he refuses to see in himself.  Here in America, instead of the red carpet treatment, bouquets of flowers, and medals of honor, he must face critics on Twitter who make memes poking fun at his hypocrisy and lies, angry protesters who force him to look in the mirror, bloggers and pundits calling him out on his duplicity,and now a high profile investigation into possible treason. But the biggest insult of all to Trump’s fragile sense of self is the evil media and “fake news” that has the temerity to shine a beacon of harsh white light on the truth which he so hates — the media that, for all its faults, is keeping most of us from slipping into into an inescapable abyss of alternative facts, twisted values, and rewritten history that would drive even George Orwell insane.

ALERT: TODAY’S ARMS DEAL MAY BE ILLEGAL!

RIP USA

usrip

50 days in. The United States is a far different and sadder place than it was on January 19. America is now run more like an organized crime syndicate than a proper country — and no one seems to have a clue as to what to do to reverse the devastation, or any power to stop him. Trump could murder someone and he’d get away with it. He’d just find a way to blame Obama and he’d be believed — the same way he’s taking credit for the “job growth” which actually began on Obama’s watch, not Trump’s.

We are no longer a democracy, we are a third world country run by a lying, corrupt dictator and his minions.   We need a new name.  The United States of Russia, perhaps?

If Paul Ryan’s horrific “replacement” for the ACA goes through (and it probably will, since no one seems to have any power to stop any of them), expect more crime (the sick poor will have to commit serious crimes in order to receive healthcare in the prison system), more suicides (by newly uninsured people who develop a life threatening illness), and possibly rioting and even civil war.    “Just let them die” seems to be what Ryan wants for the “nonproducers.”   Unfortunately, I’ll be one of the 15-20 million who will lose their insurance if this bill passes.  At my age, that is terrifying.   It’s also extremely unsettling the way this disaster of a replacement is being jammed down our throats without even giving us time to process what is happening.

Medicare and social security are next.  Expect any environmental protections, public education, and unemployment benefits to go too.  Expect more police and more laws (against the little people, not the rich and powerful) and no more freedom.   Expect depression, despair, and terror on  a level that would make the Great Depression look like a warmup.    Causing mass human suffering for their own enrichment is the Trump administration’s idea of “making America great again.”

We were lied to, and people still believe the lies, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that this presidency is a massive bait and switch.

We are told to just “get over it” and “stop being sore losers.”   I could go on and on about this evil and corrupt administration and the many ways it’s gutting our democracy and thumbing its nose contemptuously at the Constitution.

I can’t deal with this anymore.   I wish I could pack my bags and just leave.  I have no idea how much worse things are going to get.

2timothy