Political campaigns and the pathology of projection

Let’s get a handle on projection because I’m thinking it’ll be key to what’s coming in Trump’s political campaign against Joe Biden.

In psychiatry, the process of throwing out upon another the ideas of impulses that belong to oneself. It is the act of giving objective or seeming reality to what is subjective. The expression implies that what is cast upon another is considered undesirable to the one who projects.

–Hinsie & Campbell Psychiatric Dictionary, Fourth Edition (Oxford, 1975).

I have a feeling new psychiatric dictionaries will be fine-tuning this definition with ample references to Trump.

Of course Trump has other pathologies — and oh there are so so many, his niece, Mary Trump, says this about him (from one New York Times article about her imminently released memoir):

Ms. Trump, a clinical psychologist, asserts that her uncle has all nine clinical criteria for being a narcissist. And yet, she notes, even that label does not capture the full array of the president’s psychological troubles.

“The fact is,” she writes, “Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for.”

Right now, I’m less interested in a clinical definition of Trump’s pathologies than I am in how his endless capacity to project his own sicknesses will be used in his campaign. So let’s look at what Trump does that is despicable, what we might suspect he does from his incessant projections, and what of his own despicable character he’ll dig out and try to throw at Biden.

Trump lies all the time. He’ll falsely accuse Biden of lying and will invent supposed lies.

Trump is ignorant, stupid and appears to be mentally disintegrating. His speech is incoherent. He has already accused Biden of being what he himself is. He’s put out a TV commercial plucking misleading phrases out of Biden’s communications.

Trump is a racist.

Trump is a traitor to his country.

Trump is a failure with an addiction to accumulating money, no matter how dishonestly, criminally or fraudulently.

He is in love with, in thrall to tyrants. He’s begun to accuse Biden of being in bed with China (with film clips of Biden with Chinese officials during Biden’s time as Obama’s go-to guy for difficult diplomatic reckonings) and then, of course, there were the series of lies about Ukraine that led to Trump’s impeachment. I assume Trump will come up with other video clips of Biden with bad guys with whom he had to deal. And Trump will say that money changed hands because that’s all he knows about relationships with other countries. Or other people.

Trump is a sexual assaulter and misogynist. The unpersuasive story about that woman (I’ve already forgotten her name) who accused Biden of assault has already disappeared from the news. Even at the time I thought it could be a Trump campaign dirty trick. Now I’m sure. He may try to dredge it up again, if he gets really desperate.

As a family man, Trump is a monster. And has his wretched brood out there lying about Biden, testing out ugly false accusations.

And then there are numerous incidents that cause me to suspect Trump is a pedophile. For any of you not on Twitter, Trump’s surrogates have been tentatively dribbling weird little suggestions about Biden and his relationship with children.

The bizarre accusations of pedophilia have been in Putin’s tool box for years. (I’m pretty suspicious about Putin, too.) I can’t help imagining that those Putin-Trump phone calls are the acolyte taking instructions from the master, Putin telling Trump how to accuse his opponents of repulsive sexual perversion.

Roger Stone used pedophilia against a competitor of one of his political clients.

Pedophilia is an easy, even lazy smear. All you need is a cloaked Twitter account in an official-sounding name and a lie. You put it out into the world, maybe via a crazy conspiracy site, and…there it goes and the sort of people who voted for Trump could believe it.

So let’s all watch out for it, especially since the list of Jeffrey Epstein’s pals may soon be available via Ghislaine Maxwell’s black books or testimony. Trying to figure out what is driving Trump most crazy — his open financial books (and subsequent criminal charges) or exposed videos of his sexual activities in Russia and/or in Epstein’s houses (and subsequent criminal charges) — is very, very difficult.

I do not mind wrestling with this problem.

In the meantime, let’s all be careful out there ducking those projections.


Posted in 2020 presidential campaign, Impeachment, Komprosplat, Law, suits and order, Mueller investigation, Politics, Racism, The Facts of Life, The filthy rich, Trump Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not good animal news: climate change

Today in West Side Rag, a follow up from a scientist on an unhappy recent observation:  hundreds of dead fish in the Hudson River.

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I once went out with a cop

A number of years ago I went out a couple of times with a cop.

He was an unusual guy to be a sergeant in the NYPD. He had not only a college degree but an MA. He was a writer, a very good one. So he was not an obvious mismatch for me, even given my eerie ability to choose badly on the love interest front.

He arrived at my place carrying a gym bag which he put on the floor as we did our initial greeting stuff. I did not then realize that in the bag was his gun.

We went out for hamburgers a few blocks from my apartment. As we headed out into my famously safe and serene neighborhood, he moved me to his left side, to the street side, rather than the inside, where men possessed of old-fashioned values usually place women with whom they are walking.

The gun. He was a rightie and he needed to be unencumbered on his right side so he could reach for his gun if it were necessary.

I found his hypervigilance — and the presence of that gun he was mandated always to carry — discordant and alienating. I fully understood his position. Professionally a pessimist, he was trained to see menace everywhere. I am genetically an optimist. This wasn’t going to work out.

I’ve thought a lot about this since, about how we seemed to come from different countries instead of different boroughs in the same city. There was in my pre-consciousness a future conversation about which one of us was going to move to the other’s territory. Neither of us was.

It was about the gun.

Years ago I worked on a civil rights lawsuit that made me cry. White cop shot Black Navy man in the back on a subway platform and killed him. It was the Fourth of July. Levi Gaines. That was his name. He had a beautiful smile. I know this because one of my tasks was to copy some documents Levi’s mother had brought to the office. One of them was a photograph of her son, with his arms stretched out playfully, and he was smiling. That’s when I cried.

During the investigation of the case, I became aware that NYPD employed at least one psychologist to interview and test policemen for potential emotional and cognitive problems and prejudices that could and should cause the Department to deny them admission. The cop who killed Levi Gaines had had previous complaints for excessive force. I believe it was known he was a racist. Yet that man was a cop and was on that subway platform with his gun.

Unusual case because the cop went to prison. That doesn’t happen often in New York. It’s now glaringly obvious it doesn’t happen often anywhere in this country.

I do what I can not to believe that men are attracted to the police department because they are violent and/or racist, that a police department’s uniforms, badges and other appurtenances of officialdom offer a haven and a vent for such people.

I don’t really succeed. The overwhelming power emitted by the appearance of a fully accoutered cop gives him an ubermenschlich shimmer that is inherently intimidating.

A man with a gun is more powerful than I am. A man carrying a gun is not a keeper of the peace. He is inherently violent.

I believe the gun is a magnet to people who want to join the police. I believe it’s the primary reason they become cops: guns.

The impassioned country-wide debate going on now about police violence is producing some intriguing ideas about changing the culture of police departments. One idea — about sending people more trained in social work than in police procedures to deal with non-violent situations — is smart. But possibly the smartest thing about it is that social workers would not, I presume, carry guns.

But the major change would be restricting gun access, as other countries do, only to police squads going into situations that promise to be violent. Until then, guns would be locked in precinct armories.

If police are to be a force that fulfills the Preamble’s promise to “insure domestic Tranquility,” i.e., to keep the peace, then they must be out on our streets with the expectation of peacefulness, not deadly danger. A cop shouldn’t have within a moment’s grasp an instrument the purpose of which can only be violence.

I was glad to see this article in The Atlantic, “The Overlooked Role of Guns in the Police Reform Debate,” by Derek Thompson. I’m joining the debate. 


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