Trump’s Empathy Series: Man, I am doing a lot of two and three parters recently. I guess I just got lots to say and want to keep the reading time to less than five minutes. See part 1 of this series for an explanation of empathy and examples of Trump’s lack of empathy.
The danger that the Ol’ Pussy Grabber poses to his White House staff, Congress, and the government, indeed the entire country is deeply rooted in his lack of empathy. Because he’s a narcissist, he doesn’t respond to the needs of others. Empathy is the ability to understand the situation that someone else is in. It includes understanding their thoughts and emotions as well as their goals and the pressures on them. Empathy, like most emotions, fluctuates depending on the situation that we find ourselves in. The more people are like us, the more we are likely to empathize with them. Conversely, if we empathize with them, then we see them as being like us.
In his remarks from from the Truman Balcony at the White House yesterday, he said, “…Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it.” How can any of us not be afraid of #COVID19? It has killed 3% of the real live Americans it has infected. It is running unchecked throughout the nation. People are having difficulty overcoming symptoms long after the infection has left. In the face of uncertainty and the unknown, people are afraid. When you’re dealing with the unknown, you spend more time thinking about it. We’re staying home as much as we can, we wear masks whenever we’re out. How can we not think about it? Not everyone has access to 1%-level medical treatment. Anyone with an ounce of empathy in them would realize this and be able to reach the fear, anxiety, and angst that we are experiencing.
The Ol’ Pussy grabber has demonstrated that he cannot. He is not capable of it, but does it make him dangerous?
The Danger Inherent in a Lack of Empathy
The danger that we are in because the Ol’ Pussy Grabber cannot empathize with the plight of the average person in the time of #COVID19 or with anyone at any time breaks down into several layers: (1) those in his immediate surroundings; (2) the repercussions of his policies and actions; (3) the politicians that follow his lead; and (4) the actions of his followers.
Those in his immediate surroundings: As we’ve seen from the outbreak at the White House, he has infected many around him — undoubtedly the main reason they refuse to contact trace the outbreak is so that it doesn’t lead back to him — or at the very least caused them to be infected by his carelessness. And, right now, he is contagious and actively putting people at risk as we saw on the video he made upon his return to the White House. His narcissism means that he cannot adequately weight his needs against the needs of others. He’ll help himself at the expense of those around him every time.
HIS POLICIES AND ACTIONS: Simply by withdrawing from the #COVID19 stimulus bill negotiations, he has caused harm to the nation. The stock market immediately tanked. Everyday Americans who were hoping for stimulus relief were disheartened and discouraged. But, his inaction around using the resources and mechanisms of the federal government to help get supplies and personnel where they’re needed around the country alone has cost lives and caused suffering. His refusal to mandate CDC guidelines on mask wearing and social distancing have cost lives and caused suffering. His refusal to implement a national testing and contact tracing program has cost lives and caused suffering. He has refused to do these things because he cannot risk being wrong in the national spotlight. His narcissism won’t allow it. His lack of empathy allows him to sacrifice the rest of us for it.
Because his policies and actions are driven by his narcissism and not by his empathy for the American people, he has gone very small in his response to #COVID19. It is the reason why we don’t have a national plan that produces PPE and shifts supplies and personnel around the country as they’re needed. It’s why we don’t have a national mask mandate or a testing and contact tracing program. Without those items, the pandemic continues to ravish the population. That’s dangerous.
Worse, though is that he actually enjoys harming others. He enjoys watching people squirm, especially women. He likes knowing that his policies have lead to the deaths of 214,000+ people. He likes knowing that people are going to bed hungry and waking up scared because of him. He likes thinking about the mayhem and death that his Proud Boys will spread in his name. Our pain is in gratification of his ego because he cannot relate to us as people. Because he has not empathy for us.
The politicians who follow his lead: The Repubes in Michigan actually sued their governor to get her emergency requirements to wear masks and socially distance overturned. Gov Ron DeSantis (Florida) continues to open the Florida economy even though the pandemic is still raging in the state causing even more people to become ill and die. The outcomes of these actions are painfully well known. At their root is a lack of empathy for those they affect.
The actions of his followers: To create a group of supporters, it was necessary to create easily recognized distinctions between them and the rest of us. Focusing on white people helped as did selling MAGA gear, especially the ubiquitous hats. Now, that there are clear distinctions, it is easy to diminish the empathy his followers have for the rest of us. It’s the reason why he is saying he won’t negotiate for a stimulus bill — it might help get Democrats elected and it will help people who won’t vote for him in Blue States.
It’s why his followers are willing to get into fights and even kill people over mask wearing. It’s why people will deliberately cough on one another and taunt them with threats of having the coronavirus. It is why his followers — and some liberals — live to own the libs and drink our tears.
His lack of empathy is driving the divisiveness that is tearing our country apart and making it nearly impossible for us to live together as one nation.
Without that fundamental sense of empathy for anyone and everyone who might get #COVID19, we will never have the political will needed to do the hard tasks needed to contain the virus. The Ol’ Pussy Grabber exploits our weaknesses by driving down the empathy that we would otherwise naturally feel for one another in such a time to further his own reelection. His lack of empathy puts us all in very real danger.
Sign of Life
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Categories: Cognitive Psychology
To me, I think Trump’s “don’t be afraid…” is projection; whatever is making him ill, I believe he’s terrified, so he’s projecting that terror. Now, honestly, I’m not afraid of COVID-19. But I’m respectful of how contagious and dangerous it is, and I do all I can to not be stupid in going about life while CV-19 is out and about with no cure, both for myself and the people I may run across. I don’t know if either point matters; I know Trump has a long pattern not only of lying, but also of projection. The projection has been his tell, more frequently than not.
You’re right, Trump projects A LOT! He is a germaphobe. And, his father denigrated illness as weakness and a personal failure. So, Trump is afraid of it and likely projecting on to the rest of us since he cannot believe anyone any where would have a thought different than his.
However, we should be wary of #COVID19 like we are wary when in the presence of snakes, scorpions, people with guns, and other obvious dangers, but we should be afraid of what #COVID19 is doing to our country given the lack of a national response.
In what ever way you slice or dice it, we’re fucked.
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Agreed-we’re definitely f’d.
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Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
Calico Jack – The danger of lack of empathy, continued
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A speech from a play has been running in my head:
There is nothing in Man’s industrial machinery but his greed and sloth: his heart is in his weapons. This marvellous force of Life of which you boast is a force of Death: Man measures his strength by his destructiveness. What is his religion? An excuse for hating ME. What is his law? An excuse for hanging YOU. What is his morality? Gentility! an excuse for consuming without producing. What is his art? An excuse for gloating over pictures of slaughter. What are his politics? Either the worship of a despot because a despot can kill, or parliamentary cockfighting.
[from Man and Superman by George Bernard Shaw, Act III, Scene 2, the dream sequence, “Don Juan In Hell” – The Devil is speaking]
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A very apt quote describing our times. The idea that religion being an excuse for hate and law for execution is all too accurate considering our current situation. I guess Churchill (allegedly) was right. Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. Cockfighting is preferable to arbitrary murder.
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I saw the production of Don Juan In Hell by The First Drama Quartet when I was 12 (1952) and got the recording that Christmas, which I still have. It is available on line and the speech I quoted is Track 8 there. [https://archive.org/details/G.B.SHAWDonJuanInHell-NEWTRANSFER]
Charles Laughton made a wonderful Devil.
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