Friday, December 11, 2015

Donald Trump as Angry Adolescent

As a family therapist, I occasionally worked with adolescents who struggled because they were at a point where they were ready to mature past their parent's level of development. For whatever reason, some people simply fail to grow up.

That is essentially how Mark Bowden describes Donald Trump based on an interview he did with him for Playboy magazine back in 1996. Here are a couple of the pertinent excerpts:
Trump struck me as adolescent, hilariously ostentatious, arbitrary, unkind, profane, dishonest, loudly opinionated, and consistently wrong. He remains the most vain man I have ever met. And he was trying to make a good impression...

He has no coherent political philosophy, so comparisons with Fascist leaders miss the mark. He just reacts. Trump lives in a fantasy of perfection, with himself as its animating force...

Apart from the comical ego, the errors, and the self-serving bluster, what you get from Trump are commonplace ideas pronounced as received wisdom...The ideas that pop into his head are the same ones that occur to any teenager angry about terror attacks. They appeal to anyone who can’t be bothered to think them through—can’t be bothered to ask not just the moral questions but the all-important practical one: Will doing this makes things better or worse? When you believe in your own genius, you don’t question your own flashes of inspiration.
Yep, that pretty well describes a lot of 13 year-olds I've met over the years.

Perhaps it is the "recovering therapist" in me talking, but I think that describes The Donald better than anything I've read about him so far. And that last paragraph probably sums up his supporters pretty well too.

It also explains why every time I've read/heard someone take a thoughtful approach to discussing Trump's outburst-of-the-moment by diving into why they are not feasible, practical, constitutional, etc., my first reaction is to roll my eyes and move on. To do otherwise assumes that he has actually given them serious thought. He obviously hasn't.

Personally, it's hard for me to even imagine having a parent like that. But for anyone to suggest that he should be the leader of the free world is completely preposterous.

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