“See, you don’t really understand what the man is all about. He’s about holding up the dignity of other people by standing up for their beliefs. You may not agree with him, but that’s because you really don’t understand him. Maybe it’s because you’re too, well, too nice or something in that female or not-so-macho man kind of way. But he just comes out and says it the way it is, see? He’s honest that way. You expect people to have to explain everything. To go over and over things. But Trump just says it the way it is, right now. That’s what real Americans want, and men especially. For the last forty years since Reagan men have been told to shut up and be nice about everything. Men are tired of that, and Trump knows it. And a lot of women too! Look at all the women voting for the President. They’re not complaining when he makes a joke or admits that he likes to have a little fun with the gals, are they? So why do some women get their undies in a bunch about Donald Trump? He loves women! He tells them that all the time! “I love women!” he tells them. “No one respects women more than me!” He says this stuff and all the politically correct people ignore him! That’s the real problem here. People don’t give Donald Trump and men like him the benefit of the doubt! They’re the ones who really, truly respect women. Many of them are Christian men who put their women up on the altar of respect! To put it simple and straight, they take care of their gals, and the gals know it. They like it that way. Men who hold up their end of the bargain as head of the household do it best… if not with money then with strength and values so the women they respect feel valued and protected. This is the way the world works best, and Donald Trump knows this. He lives it. That’s why so many women and men stand by him on all of this political stuff. They know good people when they see it. They have jobs to keep and 401Ks to protect, and Donald Trump keeps his promises. The economy is roaring back from Covid. Just wait and see! When this stolen election stuff is settled, let me tell you…He’s going to get this country going like never before. You may not get that if you’re all caught up in junk about race and women’s rights and gays getting married, but once you stop abortions, the rest of that stuff will all fall into line anyway. Black people won’t be losing babies right and left. Immigrants won’t be dumping babies on us and going back home either, like that DACA stuff let’s them do. You look at Donald Trump. He’s got an immigrant wife who made the most of the American capitalist system. Her background is a little colorful but that just means she’s a liberated women. He doesn’t need to hold her hand all the time because she’s a strong person. Accent and all, but at least she speaks English, which is more than half the immigrants in this country ever do. You ever gone to the driver’s license facilities? They got more languages on the signs than anywhere on earth. That’s not America. That’s not how Donald Trump wants things to run. He wants to Make America Great Again, like it was before all this political correctness and Bill and Hillary Clinton scams. Let me tell you: Trump knew all along Obama was corrupt. That’s why the whole birther thing was spot on. He was right about Obama’s Muslim stuff too. Hussein. Who ever heard of such a name? Same as Saddam, you see? How that works? It shows you right there what was wrong with those eight years. All that smart guy talk and Obamacare lying was just for show. You look at Benghazi and realize that Obama never cared about Americans anywhere on earth. Clinton too. It was all about themselves and locking up money once they got out of office. Now they’re all millionaires, and fake ones at that. Who makes millions selling books? Crooks, that’s who. Not like Trump, who builds things all over the world. Plus those Clintons and Obamas…they’re narcissists. Any psychologist can tell you that. My friend’s a psychologist and he told me that. I see psychology stuff all the time on the Internet. There’s so much of it you can’t even wade through it all. That tells you how bad those people really are. But Trump, his sister or niece or whatever wrote a book about him and it was like water off a duck’s back. Nothing stuck because it wasn’t true. He’s good people, that’s why. Look at how he talks to everyone. It’s not uppity politician talk. He’s like a pastor or something, standing behind the podium. And those reporters? You know what’s wrong with them? They’re all dishonest. Every damned one of them. Looking to lie because they have a pen or a computer and know how to use it. But that doesn’t make them experts on anything. I’ll take Trump’s gut instincts over their gutless journalism stuff any day of the week. Look at how Trump fooled the doctors with that Covid stuff he got. He was back at the White House in days. Reporters were crying and moaning that he wasn’t wearing a mask. They’re the wimps. They couldn’t handle getting the Covid like Trump did. He blew right through it like he was playing through a slow foursome on the golf course. “Outta my way, Covid! I’m playing through!” That’s the kind of man we need to keep in office, not let the election be stolen by some old guy Biden and his sassafras Kamala Harris with her Obama looks and weird-ass background. What is she? Part-Indian, Part Black? And a white husband, right? How messed up is that? Our country wasn’t invented to have people mix up the races and have gays marching around like they own the place. That’s not what the Founding Fathers had in mind at all. If you don’t get that, you don’t get much at all. And you can thank me for explaining it to you. If none of this sinks it, you just have Trump Derangement Syndrome. TDS. I hope this cures you. You’re welcome.”
Recently a long-ago classmate from high school showed up on Facebook. He Friended me and began complimenting bird photos that I posted to my wall. The connection for the first few weeks seemed genuine. He’d never been a nature guy to my knowledge but had lived next to a forest preserve back in the day. Perhaps his upbringing near the wilds had emerged as a deeper interest in his retirement.
He posted photos of his own, images of birds and such around his property. Then one day a cryptic post appeared on his wall. It was rife with jingoistic and politically flirtatious language that was all too familiar to me.
He claimed at the moment to have a neutral stance on the state of the nation these days. Perhaps he was an Independent of sorts? Even a Libertarian? Over the years plenty of that cropped up in social media too. And then there are the supposedly objective among us, who view all politics and government as the scourge of life. “They’re all crooks,” goes the line.
Meanwhile, the comments kept coming about nature and birds and such. He knew that I was a birder way back in middle school and high school, earning the not-so-complimentary sobriquet “Birdman” from friends who found the hobby ridiculous. So I continued our friendly repartee and helped him identify some species that showed up at his feeder from photos that he’d posted.
Then came the Purple Post. My new-old-friend had decided to “lift the veil” on his political affiliations and made a statement to that effect with a closing statement: Vote Trump 2020.
I wasn’t shocked. But I was disturbed. My concerns were specific and real. If he claimed to love wildlife and the environment so much, how could he possibly support what Donald Trump has been doing to our country’s laws and regulations that protect clean air and water, conserve both common and endangered species, and honor key acts governing even archeological and paleontological resources?
The list of attacks on these protections is long. I call them the Trump Killers, because he’s presided over legal and political attempts to kill every one of these laws. Here are the major policies that Trump and the Republicans have set out to kill, or have killed already.
The point in posting this list is to help people connect the dots between the wildlife my supposed Facebook Friend loves to enjoy and the laws that provide protection and habitat for these living things to survive. That’s a simple enough concept, right?
Yet in Trumpian fashion, his love for Trump is so ardent yet so shallow that he likely has no idea that any of these actions are being taken. He lives near one of the few habitats where Kirtland’s warblers breed in Michigan. Birders have worked to help protect that and many other species. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act alone is designed to protect hundreds of species that travel to our country during spring and fall. Does he even know why such laws are important? Doubtful.
Too many Trump supporters appear to come from a background where science is considered a worthless opinion. Some of that stems from religious prejudice wrought from an evangelical mindset based on biblical literalism and its intellectually retarded offspring, creationism. Some 35% of Americans tend to abide in that worldview, and the consequence is that men like Trump and his greedy Republican allies grant carte balance to industrial polluters and environmental abusers because, it is claimed, the human race has dominion over the earth.
That is the absolute brand of cognitive dissonance at work in Trumpism. It aggressively fails to recognize the connection between these environmental and resource acts and our nation’s contribution to their survival. In other words, Trump supporters completely refuse to connect the dots between the things that actually make America great and the things Donald Trump does to destroy them. And if you question their passive-aggressive practice of posting provocative Pro-Trump memes and then whining when you challenge them, the first instinct is to gaslight all those with the gall to present evidence of the President’s own lies and contradictions of his own statements. They want to make you feel like it all never happened. “You must be crazy,” is the implication.
And sure enough, when I commented on my friend’s Purple Post, he immediately made a baiting statement that he “knew I’d be first to comment.” In other words, he was taunting me and others. Just as predictably, his Trump-loving friends chimed in with memes supporting Trump and ridiculing those who don’t “get it.”
And finally, one of those Trump Lovers branded me a Trump Hater.
That’s the “go-to” dismissal for all Trump supporters. It implies an irrational hatred for the President. It directly aligns with the so-called Trump Derangement Syndrome that Trump supporters use to paint those who oppose them as radical leftists who oppose true American virtues. But it’s interesting how many terms it actually takes to insult those who oppose Trump.
The hypocrisy in all this is quite evident. If a Trump supporter loves birds and wildlife but does not understand that the President is doing everything he can to gut laws protecting those resources, that’s plain stupid and irresponsible. And if a Trump supporter claims to value civil rights yet wants to deny those rights to gay people or people of color, that’s an insult to the entire notion of what civil rights mean. And if Trump supporters claim to love life yet refuse to limit access to weapons capable of slaughtering dozens of innocent people in minutes, then they are lying to us all.
That is the dynamic that exists across the entire spectrum of Trump policies. Claims to virtue counteracted by repression of those whom the Trump world hates. And Trump himself is the most consistent lawbreaker. From breaching emolument laws on conflicts of interest to pressing foreign countries to interfere in our nation’s elections, Trump has flaunted our Constitution and its foundational premises. He refuses to respect the rule of law and at the same time uses it to punish those causes he considers his enemies. He is the most hateful acting of all Presidents, fueled especially by hatred for Barack Obama, whose legacy he has steadfastly and vengefully tried to erase.
But it’s the birds that illustrate this whole hatred thing the best. Many of those laws listed above were actually implemented with collaborative approval by Republican Presidents and members of Congress and the Senate. But Trump hates them all. The real Trump Hater, in an active sense, is Trump himself.
So I’ll not abide the insults and the targeted claims that I’m somehow “deranged” for opposing the nasty things this President is imposing on our country. They are hateful in every respect, a testimony to the selfish and shallow fraud of a human being whose grasp of even the most simple concepts is at best questionable. Yet he calls himself a genius and brags about his intellect, all while gutting the purposes of our public education system, our civil rights and our heritage as a haven for the desperate and the poor. Donald Trump is the most hateful man on earth right now, and his supporters love him for it. Yet they call us Trump Haters.
That’s a sickness of mind and an ugly testament to the twisted mentality required to vote and approve the actions of a President who is a bully, a despot, and a fascist in every aspect of his demeanor and conduct. In other words, he is a man genuinely worth of hate, but his supporters instead grant him a brand of worshipful love that resembles a cult.
So we supposed Trump Haters are for the birds, and many other good things in this world, including civil rights for all, a fair and equitable economy that does something other than shovel money to the wealthy, a foreign policy that respects rather than manipulates and brutalizes our allies, a nation free from religious oppression as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and a country where guns are not the final word on respect for law.
But those who love Trump apparently hate all these things, and hate the world as well, because they’re willingly glad to destroy it in order to keep their man in power.
Today a Facebook Friend posted a story to his Wall that popped up in my feed preceded by the comment, “Trump Haters will not like this.” There was a photo of an airplane titled, “Russia delivers medical supplies to the United States after Trump-Putin call.”
Trump lovers adore projecting hate on those who do not worship their president. They even invented a term to describe those who resist the policies that Trump conceives or pushes into law. The term is Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS).
The word deranged means “disturbed or disordered in function, structure, or condition.” The implication of TDS is that anyone who objects to Donald Trump must be a dysfunctional person. The purpose of abiding in this lump-sum psychological assessment is to make Trump’s cultural opponents second-guess their beliefs about the man by making people question their own sanity.
This is better known as gaslighting, a method of mental and social abuse described by Psychology Today as, “a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality.”
Trump himself is an exceptional gaslighter, well-known for branding any information with which he disagrees “Fake News.” He also regularly contradicts his own statements in full view of the public, then doubles down on the denial that he ever said such things in the first place. It’s not even necessary to provide links to examples of these Trumpian methods anymore. The practice is so common with Trump that no one can tell the difference between what Trump wants to believe, what he actually believes and what he wants the rest of the world to believe. There are no distinctions in the distinctive realities created by Donald Trump.
But meanwhile, Trump has been executing vicious policies behind the curtain of his public lying and displays of petulant patriotism. His efforts to kill the environment alone are worth contempt. All these laws governing quality of life, historical and natural sites, wildlife and environment, migratory birds and clean air, safe drinking water, noise control, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration, rivers and harbors, even the Eagle Protection Act, have all been axed by the pen of a deranged madman eager to privatize America to its own death.
As a result of Trump’s own derangement, especially toward President Barack Obama, two things are at work among his followers. The first is a willing form of cognitive dissonance to embrace the reality that Donald Trump seeks to impose upon the nation and the world. Most recently, the Trumpian claim that Coronavirus was not a threat in the United States was followed a few months later by a radical disclaimer that he knew all along that the risk of the pandemic was dangerous. He only admitted it when people started to die. So which was it? Trump does not care. Nor do his followers. And his Republican colleagues immediately started the actuarial calculations to decide how many deaths were worth protecting the fragile illusion of the Trump economy, which he did no real work to establish in the first place.
Instead, Trump chose to blame everyone but himself for the nation’s belated response to the COVID-19 threat. He most ardently blamed his favorite enemy, President Barack Obama. That tactic is highly favored by Trump supporters, along projecting what Hillary WOULD HAVE DONE as president, to explain all the bad that has ever happened in this country. But now Trump’s lying and selfish delusions while blaming others for his mismanagement of this pandemic is having a real cost to the people that support him. But to affirm his supposed authority, Trump even has the gall to interfere and even block distribution of needed supplies to governors who do not “appreciate him.” This is a deranged attitude if there ever was one.
Even as it blows up in his face, Trump continues to claim that his response to the pandemic is as “perfect” as his call to Ukraine when he attempted to coerce and corrupt the president of that country into doing his personal political bidding. Trump was impeached by Congress for that offense against the Constitution that he swore an oath to protect. Yet his supporters continue supporting his claims that the investigation and impeachment were all a “hoax.”
These are all the behaviors of a truly deranged man. The fact of the matter is that Trump Derangement Syndrome, rather than being a rhetorical accusation against his critics, is actually a literal description of its actual perpetrator. But Trump supporters love to project derangement on those who accuse the President of being out of line. This is the great sin of American culture today.
Standing up to the lies
So I did not back down to the Trump supporter who protested when I pointed out that his claim about Trump Haters was a disturbing example of the problems Trump has created for himself. The arrival of a Russian plane on American soil was yet another hint that Trump is beholden and more likely to ask favors of Putin than to stand up for America’s interests despite that nation’s consistent attempts to undermine our democracy. Trump loathes admitting that Russians helped him get elected in 2016 despite massive evidence from the Mueller Report that revealed how, where and when it was done.
On pointing that out, my “friend” on Facebook insisted that I was a “victim” of Trump Derangement Syndrome. So I went on the offensive and documented a concise and logical list of the ways that Trump is a proven fraud from his own University to his corrupt foundation. And my friend stated those things were “all in the past” and had no relevance now. I countered by stating that Trump’s deceit and lies are still much in evidence during his contemptuously bad response to COVID-19, and that his horrific methods are now costing thousand of American lies.
And at that, my friend folded up his post and took it offline like a little kid gathering up his red playground ball and running home while crying out, “I’m taking my ball and going home!” Along the way he Unfriended me, but not before playing the victim himself, by posting a comment: “I thought you were a good guy.”
I am a good guy. I just don’t like Presidents who lie and abuse other people. That does not make me either a bad guy or in any way “deranged.”
What we can all learn from this experience is that there is nothing more frail in spirit than a bully projecting their own hate on others. When their projected cruelty finally reflects back on them in the form of exposed victimhood and selfish aims, take their playground ball and run home to MAGAhood where nobody seems to care if people play by the rules, because it’s all about getting their selfish aims fulfilled in the end.
That’s how Trumpers play the game.