The Presidency as Psychodrama

Richard North Patterson, the best-selling novelist, has a terrific op-ed piece in this morning’s Boston Globe. He looks at Trump’s character and personality:

“Consider these characteristics: An exaggerated sense of self-importance. An unjustified belief in your own superiority and brilliance. A preoccupation with fantasies of your own success and power. A craving for constant admiration. A consuming sense of entitlement. An expectation of special favors and unquestioning compliance.

Or these: A penchant for exploiting or disparaging others. An inability to tolerate criticism or critics. An unreasoning fury at people you perceive as not supporting your wishes or desires. A tendency to judge people in terms of whether they flatter you — see, e.g., Vladimir Putin. A belief that you already know all there is to know.

Or these: The need always to be right. A lack of empathy for others. An array of inconsistent statements and behaviors driven by your needs in the moment. A tendency to lie so frequently and routinely that objective truth loses all meaning.

In sum, an incapacity to separate the world from your own psychodrama.
. . .

This is not a time for empty sentiment or false hopes. Our president-elect is an ignorant and unstable 70-year-old man. That won’t change; nor will he. For the lesson Trump learned from this election is that he alone, once again, is sufficient to all moments. He won, after all — in his mind, he always does.

No matter what we do, his presidency will mark us. But what we can do — must do — is to stand up for the values that Trump contravenes: the civic institutions he disdains, the civility he abjures, the inclusiveness he shuns, the rule of law he resents, the compassion he diminishes. We must always remember that what makes America great is that which makes it good. And we must never forget who this man is, and what our country yet can be if we strive to make it so.”

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