My political opinions are rarely popular, because I have such a disdain for the mudslinging and schoolyard antics that have taken over our political process, our news, and our collective mentality. Our news headlines scream a litany of “he said/she said” and “so-and-so slams so-and-so”. It’s as if we’ve de-evolved into a group of kids taking sides during a playground fight. Alternative and mainstream media have become ring-side commentators, and rational, critical thought is lost in the diatribe.
What is so bothersome to me about the name-calling is that we have reduced ourselves to the same antics that we are denouncing when we engage in micro-aggressions and attacks on character. But there is another side to this… that we are talking about and dealing with the behavior of a narcissist (for lack of a better term). A narcissist is a person with such high levels of insecurity that they lash out at everything around them to protect themselves emotionally. We may not have created the circumstances that turned him into a narcissist, but we are continuing to feed the very thing about which we complain.
Yes, I’m talking about the 45th (p)Resident of the White House. I cannot call him my president. I cannot show him respect for his position of office that he, himself, does not respect. I’ve been watching the echo-chambers that have taken over social media lately, and as much as I’m inclined to agree with many of my friends on the ethical and political issues of the day, I’m absolutely stunned at the language used against those who support and/or defend him. We are better than this. We have a kindergartner-in-chief who quickly blames the nearest scapegoat whenever he is questioned or challenged about his words, policies, or actions. By using violent or hateful language against his supporters, his staff and cabinet, or him, we are giving him fuel, and playing his game, becoming kindergartners ourselves. In doing so, we are giving him an advantage, and (in his and his supporters’ view) making his case that they are victims.
A narcissist will twist the truth and claim that they are being attacked by their own victims. If we are engaging in less than civil discourse, we are proving him right. It’s ok to speak truth to power. It’s ok to call him what he really is… Narcissist, Fraud, Bad Businessman, Bigot, Domineering, etc. It’s ok to poke some fun and have a sense of humor about the insanity of current events or about his inconsistencies. However, when we use language that incites the same hate we decry, it diminishes our efficacy and our credibility. We are better than this. We who have experienced injustice, oppression, hate, violence, poverty, bullying, or prejudice are resilient and stronger than the person who paints themselves as a victim of those whom they exploit and oppress.
For myself, the solution is to stay focused on the solutions instead of the details of the insanity. To do that, we have to look at the larger picture… our goals, our hopes, our talents and skills, and our ability to be compassionate toward ourselves and each other. We have an obligation to ourselves and fellow human beings to speak up when the need arises, but do so thoughtfully, from the heart, and with the conviction that we are speaking for millions who are not able to speak for fear of losing their job, home, family, or safety if they do speak out. We can combine our talents and our creative energy to rise to the challenges with which we are being presented. We can educate ourselves, engage in civil discourse, and support those in our communities who are willing to take the lead in social justice work. The choice is ours, and the time for action is now. Do we want to continue to engage in schoolyard politics, or do we want to take charge of our experience and create a society where we feel safe, supported, and useful to our community?