Mental Instability And The Nuclear Option - A Presidential Distress Call

04/13/2017 03:57 pm ET Updated Apr 17, 2017
© Can Stock Photo / rfcansole

News just broke a few minutes ago as I write this. The Republican leader of our country has decided to use a weapon of such massive size that the world has not seen anything like it since Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It is claimed that the bomb was being dropped on caves where terrorist cells were hiding and operating from. The pentagon is not saying anything about civilian casualties but those reports will trickle out from the foreign press. Hearing about them from press who is enamored of the phallic-like power of the military as was evidenced in the strike on Syria is unlikely.

From 2001-2014, 26 thousand civilians were killed and 29 thousand more wounded in Afghanistan. The inhumanity of destroying another’s homeland and then denying the innocents among them refuge cannot be expressed in words. Yet it is a pattern we are, once again, embracing.

Not all of us. Some of us have marched against the Muslim bans. Some of us have tried to raise our voices and caught the attention of a corporate press for a few moments until better pictures become available. But did we do enough? If we had not bickered amongst ourselves so much about the evils of moral equivalence, could we have prevented the rise of a madman to power?

Frankly, we are beyond being out of time for that debate and it is increasingly apparent that a madman with tendencies common in impetuous children is at the helm in this country.

The time for debate about the president’s mental illness is over. This is the time to ask if we want someone with a serious personality disorder, who has shown willingness to create mass destruction, to make decisions about nuclear first strike scenarios.

This is as real as it gets.

There has been argument about whether the president suffers from a mental illness. There are also those who would argue that it is unethical for people in my profession to diagnose someone they have spent no real time in a room one on one with. Normally I would agree. These are no longer normal times. The president of the United States has now decided to bomb two countries and use the largest non-nuclear weapon known to mankind in one. Nuclear proliferation is now closer and more clearly on the table than it has been at any time in human history.

Increasingly professionals like myself have been willing to step out of debates about the ethics of diagnosing someone and into the fray of saying there is something very wrong with the president. Pre-election the talk was of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and several of my colleagues and I agreed this was obviously the case. Lately many of us have moved to the idea of Malignant Narcissism which is not officially in the DSM but is considered Narcissistic Personality with Antisocial features meaning the individual has grandiosity and the willingness to violate social norms, even harming others if it means getting what they want from a situation. Certainly we have seen this president do his best to destroy the reputation of those who have opposed him.

To insist that he won the popular vote by millions and that his inauguration was better attended than others and that his victory was by the largest margin in history are not just talking points meant to misdirect the public. They are actually figments of his own imagination. He truly believes that what he speaks is reality. Making it worse are the pundits behind him who feed the grandiosity by trying to fit the facts to the stated reality.

To lie and then to continue lying even in the face of factual information, to believe that his reality is reality, to meet challenges to his grandiosity with vehement childish outbursts is a very real indicator of serious mental illness.

We worry about the madman with a handful of nuclear weapons in North Korea , but we have put in power a man equal in madness who has access to a thousand times that power.

I have written before that I think good always wins. I believe truly and deeply (and perhaps madly) that evil points out the real value of goodness and compassion and generates its own demise in that moment. But I am afraid of the damage that a madman with nuclear weapons can do in the meantime. The ultimate victory of good over evil has never saved us from pain or suffering. We have already paid a large price. Will we learn the lesson of arguing amongst ourselves while evil steals away....or will we finally rise? Do we have the strength and faith left to oppose madness and embrace what we have always aspired to be?

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