Monday, March 21, 2016

Re: Mr. David Brooks, No, Not Trump, Not Ever

Dear David Brooks,

We’ve never met, but let’s just say I have admired you from afar. Specifically your intellectual rigor, expression, instincts and sensibilites. I was always in awe of one of your Mentor’s, William F. Buckley and with that, in awe of you. But.

We are two people, of two groups both grieving for the same nearly dead or dead ideal, the death of the American Dream. We are each grieving in our own separate ways. Make no mistake though, we are both traversing the seven stages of grief, specifically shock/disbelief, denial, bargaining, anger, depression and lastly acceptance/hope.

We know your loss, it is ours. We’ve been there, we are still there; just a few stages ahead. The first stage for US was shock, disbelief, it’s hard to say when it actually came to realization. I am sure within everyone’s timeline like Kurosawa’s Rashomon, there was an inflection point; perhaps it was Kennedy, Nixon, Chainsaw Al, September 11th, or the crash, the repeal of The Glass-Steagal Act, The Deficit, the Wars in the Middle East, OJ or the Monica Lewinsky Scandal. For you now perhaps it is Trump.

For many of US, our denial was US carrying on as though nothing happened. The realization for a few of US, came in the ensuing years, as each day we were faced with the same inevitability. The presence of the American Dream was still tangible the clothes hanging in the closet, the room left just as it was on that fateful day the framed Norman Rockwell print hanging on the wall. We became timid, withdrawn, reflective with  intermittent periods of acute grief and despondency. Some of US went in the other direction, got active, championed a cause, determined to make the loss count for something. Everyday of not hearing the Dream’s whimsical laughter, tittering in the halls became a lament, a hole you just couldn’t fill.

Some of US bargained with ourselves, trading what we knew as the basic tenets of the American Dream for the empty promises and chochtkas to fill the hole. For some it was money, faux success, others — drugs/alcohol, promiscuity and vanity. Left in place was the body of the American Dream, but the Soul had left and was hovering above.

For a great many of US, we have guilt, what if we in our own lives had done this, or said that or had listened or had preached or not preached. It would still be here today. It tears you up, it eats you from the inside, you end up doubling down on the behaviors picked up from the bargaining stage hoping that the modicum of relief you experienced will manifest itself into a reincarnation of the persona lost. You hurt yourself and those around you and perhaps the Village as a whole. At the end of this stage you become aware of the larger environment, the machinations of the things, where perhaps you might have contributed, but really you were just following along. For many of US, The Establishment, has become that which caused the circumstances by which the American Dream was lost.

Anger, first it’s a slow burn and confrontational, then it grabs the harmful things first at hand. The assault rifle, the knife, the divorce papers, the syringe the camera and/or pen. It comes out raw, blind and fast in a torrent. It’s primal. it’s unfocused and focused at the same time. Your eyes get squinty, tunnel vision and the energy comes out in an eruption. It’s fast and furious, hurtful and destructive to the party it is directed and of course there is always collateral damage. The degree of anger is important and to distinguish the differences dictates the amount of penance required. Anger in the first degree is likely confined to your sphere, harsh words, laptop lids/doors are slammed. In the second degree, well, it occurs in a larger circle a bigger audience. In the third degree, small circle or large there is no way to avoid maiming, death or incarceration and naked retribution by society. 

While perhaps “The Establishment” has just gotten the news that the American Dream is dead, more than half of US have faced that inevitability for some time. This is our current stage. We are closer to coming to terms with the loss than “They” are. 

Make no mistake, the majority — 99% — of US are now in one of the seven emotional stages of grief, there can be no denying that. Unless we can all acknowledge the death and loss we cannot move forward together. This is the time to comfort and get busy with creating the new; new normal in our lives.

Trump as a candidate, is a curious development. Hard to say for him, what or when was the point in time that he realized the American Dream was dead. We should be asking ourselves this of him because of its importance to the timeline. He is the most uncommon griever, only because 99% of US would look at his life and say, he would be the last person in the room to realize it, much less acknowledge it. But he has, amazingly his recognition and reaction is the same of so many other people grieving. It was like that moment when magnets jump the divide and cling tightly together. That revelation will bring more, and the collective we, will be shocked at the breadth and depth of everyones acknowledgment of this loss. It transcends Race, Socio-Economic, Gender, Borders; in essence anything we can point to as a difference between each other.

I judge the anger now, as 2nd degree. It’s not that we are yelling within our household or at the TV, we are now at the town meeting, staring at a Narcissistic Establishment/Town Council staring back at US who take affront and appear shocked at the anger and vitriol knowing full well how it was likely cultivated. All of US are an employee, spouse, partner or child of The Establishment and at some level we have all been goaded or reduced to being angry, upset and emotional, because that is the end result of what Narcissists do to those closest to them. Onlookers, passersby or people looking from the outside in, shake their heads in disbelief, sympathy, exasperation at US, meanwhile shielding their children’s eyes from the Angry raw, ugliness of discord.

Narcissists are largely successful in our society. In politics and business, narcissists are held in high regard, apparently it is an important construct for success at most levels and it is designed that way. I don’t believe that we are so clueless as to what Donald Trump may be. I don’t believe he is a narcissist and I vigorously dismiss your assertion. Big Ego? Yes… Is that a trait of narcissism? Yes, but largely, he is angry just like US. If he is a narcissist? IF! What better way to get the upper hand on Narcissism in government or contain it, than to dull the edge with another Narcissist. We could do the eye for and eye, but in the end we all end up blind.

That however is not advancement and ensures mutual destruction, scorched earth. Narcissists will always put their employees, partner, children loved ones in a bad spot so that they themselves may shine. Public humiliation, gas lighting, shame by dressing them inappropriately, constantly breaking down their emotional/mental equilibrium. Knowing Donald Trump the public figure, he doesn’t come across as a Narcissist. His kids are successful, well mannered, well dressed and respectful. Not angry, withdrawn, emotional or unstable. It isn’t the family of a Narcississt. I think you are confusing his vice of vanity and putting too much weight on it. There is no denying The Donald our Donald Trump is vane.

All of US — recently had before US — candidates which I am sure, if we were to pick one word from each list of virtues and vices to ascribe or label to each — the collective US — would be remarkably similar in our assessments. This list of Vices and Virtues are comprised of the seven deadly sins — pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. As for virtues — chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.

I think that given the collective US in this campaign we looked over the list of Virtues and instead embraced the Vice. Either that or, we just saw what our narcissistic partner said we saw. Many of US started to believe it, but then we started to see differently. If you see Donald Trump, as many of US are starting to see him, it is because of his remarkable admission of grief. He grieves the loss of the American Dream. With that recognition, we see within Mr. Trump virtue, chastity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility and without a doubt we will start to see temperance. Something I believe his family and close friends would attest to.

Everyone that has “shorted” America for too long has come away hurting, my belief it is because as Churchill said, the US  Democratic system is the best of the worst. One over arching attribute is that we have this uncanny ability to collectively pick the right person for the task at hand. Mr. Trump is not however out of line for “shorting” America it is ultimately a healthy process, provided you know when to “Buy” again.

What better candidate for leader of the Free World than one who embodies all of our vices, and yes virtues as shared by all humanity. So that he can reflect us and we can reflect him to reincarnate a resurgent American Dream. A product we can be proud to affix the label of Made in the USA for export around the world. The 2.0 version we export now, is lacking.

That being said, The Establishment itself is Narcissistic, if you were to look at the country as a whole, the bottom half is hurting. Those closer to the top half keep telling themselves this too shall pass, but it isn’t, and it won’t. Narcissists never stop, they can’t help themselves. We look at the Media, the GOP, the Liberals, Wall Street, State and Local Governments, even with the overwhelming evidence and acknowledgment of the detrimental impact to the populace, they still do what they do best.

Narcissism is inherent in US all. It’s required in healthy doses perhaps for conviction, self worth and individualism. In a mild cases it is not a bad thing in and of itself. But as the old adage “birds of a feather flock together”, in close confines of Government leadership it gets past the healthy threshold fast.

I am of the belief you cannot point out a problem without offering a solution, so with that I’d like to shape what I think is a bigger problem within The Establishment.

The real issue, perhaps is something even more insidious as it is it was created by nature. That is the role of sociopaths in our society, specifically Government/Business. One out of Twenty of US citizens are likely sociopaths. That being said, of the leaders in our society they perhaps are in greater prevalence. They are of course part of humanity too, but humanity without a conscience, no guilt, no concept of morality. They are Watson’s with impulses and urges that they act upon — without a governor switch — save for an action that would harm their interests/pursuits. They act on the Vice and feign the Virtue.

Art is a reflection of current zeitgeist within a society, Frank Underwood is a sociopath, that’s not to say they don’t have a place in politics, and The Establishment at large, they do. In the right time and place they make the hard choices, in the same instance they are the embodiment of the belief that no big success was achieved without a significant crime or major infraction of morality being committed. The ends justify the means. I repeat. The Ends justify the Means. Here is our slippery slope, as AI is all the rage and robots will soon make US (Humanity) the leisure class we should embrace and have recognition that these “automatons of nature” are amongst us now. Take heed. We need to adopt/modify the three immutable laws of Asimov’s iRobot to safeguard US. Here is my attempt.

A sociopath may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow  humanity to come to harm. A sociopath must follow directives and guidance given by humanity except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. A sociopath must protect his/her own interests as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Which now brings us to the stage of depression. Whether or not Mr.Trump is successful to being elected leader of the Free World, with either outcome there will be depression. For US further along, within this stage we perhaps will be on the back end of it. We’ve had decades to traverse the chasm of grief. The Establishment will have to do this in just a few scant months. However, we will be closer at this moment in time, than we have since WWII to being as United as a Nation of differences. I am omitting of course other events although shocking  as they were. These events were not a dirge of sludge, loss, sacrifice and heartache year upon year, with at the end a great deal of many broken pieces, people, borders and histories left to pick up. It’s likely our mind state will manifest itself into a financial Armageddon, a rash reaction to the overwhelming last grip of despair, or perhaps not. That could happen regardless of who wins. No need to prescribe Meds. Many of US will be ready to get active, get busy and get consumed with building and living the rest of our lives in making this an even greater Republic. The world will benefit along with US.

The American Dream didn’t die a tragic or frightening death it wasn’t willful neglect, it was more of a bad diet and being sedentary leading to sclerosis and bad humours. In the end it really hasn’t died, you can’t kill a dream, it’s just that many of US just woke up to a new day.

With Acceptance, comes Hope for US. For me I accept the human frailty, the strength,  the encapsulation of all the Virtues and Vices of Donald Trump, he was Made in the USA. He is all that is Great and All that is Bad of US. I hope that he lives up to the virtues I project on to him, and as for the vices well let’s just say we all have them, so we will tackle them together.

There is no US without THEM and there is no THEM without US.

God Bless The USA and the World as we know it.


W. Henderson

Passenger On the #TrumpTrain



My Favorite Roller Coaster!

blogger templates 3 columns | Thank You! Please Come Again!