Op/Ed By George Payne
I am about to do something radical, dangerous, and nearly forbidden in our regulated and morally-sterilized society. I am going to tell the truth as sparsely and as intrepidly as I possibly can. These are my observations. I could be mistaken. But I do not think that I am mistaken. I think that the man America allowed to hijack the Presidency is a lost soul who has been mired in a lifetime of greed, intolerance, swashbuckling, legal warfare, petty disputes, con jobs, poisonous dissent, exploitation, environmental destruction, aimless desires, sexual harassment, predatory behavior, corporate dehumanization, and a sickness that has been unofficially diagnosed as an extremely volatile form of chronic narcissism.
Here is the truth as I see it. When it comes to the charge of hating women, I do not think that this accusation is wholly accurate. Donald Trump has a voracious desire for women. He is clearly obsessed by the female body, and appears to possess in an unending need to be surrounded by women whom he finds attractive. Moreover, he has created his empire with the help of women, and he has gone out of his way to provide them with opportunities to advance up the corporate ranks. In Mr. Trump’s mind, he sincerely believes that he is someone who respects women because he treats them as equals. As his logic goes, the best way for men to respect women is to avoid being condescending to them. What they really seek is to be viewed as competent, deserving and trusted employees. But they must prove themselves just like men.
In Mr. Trump’s efforts to treat women as equals, he ends up perceiving them as outcomes of a power move. But, this is how he sees male competition also. If they can not tolerate or match his aggression and domineering ways, they will be tossed out, defeated and ultimately forgotten. He thinks of himself as a killer; men are his prey. Consequently, as Mr. Trump tries to grant women authority and respect, he winds up treating them just like prey to be hunted, dominated, devoured, digested and destroyed.
Perhaps Mr. Trump will never realize that women do not need his approval, or permission to have self respect in the first place. He may never realize that they do not need his power in order to claim their own primordial strength as life bearers and caretakers of the planet. Trump’s equal treatment is useless and pathetic, because it treats women as a way of measuring his own standards for success and power. As such, women in Mr. Trump’s orbit have become simple means to his ends. They are like technological apparatus that he’s used until they’ve either broken down or stop giving him pleasure.
Nor do I believe that Mr. Trump actually holds the type of racist beliefs most people think he does. He has worked with and promoted people of color his entire life. I think he has tremendous admiration for thousands of black people across the world who have risen to the top of their profession. It is not his goal to diminish or demoralize African American communities. I think we can take him at his word when he says that black people deserve much better social conditions and economic opportunities. I think he really does want to help “them” get out of poverty and achieve his form of success in the world. If only “they” had more opportunities to succeed like he did,”they” would realize that he is not against “them” but for “them.” Mr. Trump has stated on more than one occasion, “what do you have to lose? You are living in hell already!”
But, just because Mr. Trump sincerely believes that he wants to help communities of color does not mean that he knows how to do it. The fact that he does not understand how millions of people can claim color as part of their identity, and also choose not to live in the same communities is deeply problematic. In his effort to transcend identity politics, and treat people of color as real human beings, he ends up trivializing their humanness and makes them into a monolith that is not rooted in actual fact. His language about people of color is inherently offensive to anyone that reserves the intrinsic right to define who they are for themselves. Trump, once again, sees people as mere objects to manipulate and manage, rather than as individual citizens to acknowledge and appreciate.
I believe the same can be said for his stance on immigration. As far as I can tell, Mr. Trump has an authentic respect and awareness for the immigrant plight. For those who are able to make a career out of abject poverty or are just seeking a new experience, Mr. Trump is more than willing to applaud their effort. In his view, the purpose of life is to become the most successful person that you can be. In immigrants, Mr. Trump sees a prime example of what it means to pursue excellence at all costs. I do not believe, therefore, that he is a xenophobe in the traditional sense of the word. He has hired immigrants in the past, and has staked his reputation on their quality of work. But Mr. Trump does not see these people as individuals. They are simply forms to him. Do they succeed or not? Are they productive or not? Do they help me or not? Are they making this country safe or not? These are the questions that Mr. Trump ponders. He does not wonder if they feel successful. Nor does he seem to care about how safe they feel. Where is his capacity to empathize with those who have been forced to escape their homes because of genocide, natural disaster, drug cartels, human trafficking, or tyranny? If Mr. Trump truly cared about immigrants as human beings, then he would refer to them in much different ways than he does now. Calling a human being an alien is sickening. Talking as if you have the right to break a family apart because of the need to build walls is repugnant. And scaring people with talk of deportation squads is malicious.
I could go on with observations of this sort. If liberals and progressives are able to confront the Trump agenda head on, they will first need to understand what the agenda really means. I am no psychologist, but I do respect and rely on the science of analyzing human behavior. It is the only way that we can see how Trump’s supporters can be so easily misled by his rhetoric and tactics. Trump himself is hopelessly delusional about his own racists tendencies, xenophobic inclinations, and power issues with women. Perhaps the sole reason he is so dangerous is not because he is a blatant and unapologetic bigot and sexual predator; on the contrary, it is because he believes that he is just the opposite. It is his own self- deception that puts the entire world into the hands of madness.