Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fatal presidency?

Some of you may recall the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case: Womanizing Green Beret kills his wife and young daughters at Fort Bragg on a rainy night in February, 1970. Murdered the wife in an instantaneous explosion of rage, then deliberately slaughtered his daughters in concocting a cover story about Manson-like intruders. The late, marvelous writer Joe McGinniss wrote a book, Fatal Vision, that became a true-crime classic (as well as the inspiration for my own book, Deadly Blessing, which, like Joe's book, became a TV movie amid the period's true-crime mania; my film was called Bed of Lies). I've been re-reading Fatal Vision. It focuses a lot on the psychic malady of pathological narcissism and the threat posed for those in the narcissist's orbit. As I read along I am struck by how many of the characteristics apply to Donald Trump. The parallels are astonishing. Now we're all in Trump's orbit, and all subject to the threat. Incidentally, widening the lens, we have spawned several generations of potential Trumps by fanning the flames of narcissism via the self-esteem movement, helicopter parenting, "never give up your dreams" and related cultural phenomena. 

But I digress. So Hillary's prophesy has come to pass: "a man you can bait with a tweet" has got "the nuclear codes," and he's playing out his psychological disarray on the global stage. As we've seen, he is so emotionally fragile that he cannot let himself be seen as fragile, even for a moment, and will go to any lengths to quell his sense of inadequacy if pushed. (A classic symptom of the malaise.) This whole Korea business was inevitable, and if the nation survives it intact, it won't be the last time. Trump will see to that, unless he is removed from power somehow. 

I am complicit here: one of the citizens comedian Bill Maher excoriates on every show. I did not vote. I thought Trump a buffoon but simply could not bring myself to press the Hillary buttonand as most of you know, I despised the media for going in the tank for Hillary. So I and my millions of like-minded fellow non-voters let this happen. I hope this is a lesson to the Dems in 2020, if the nation still exists and is habitable. Though I would not make the same mistake again, I'm sure there are countless Americans who aren't going to get behind an awful, unappetizing candidate simply because she's considered a form of royalty and it's "her time." How I wish Joe Biden had run. 


Dimension Skipper said...

Thank you for writing this, Steve. I've been wondering what you might be thinking these days regarding the tRump. That last line of yours says a lot, imo. So that's what we've come to. (Already! At only 6 months in.) Hell, at this point, I'd take W. back in a heartbeat, no questions asked. I miss the wacky Bushisms. Aaaah... simpler times. These days I picture W. in my mind in innocent Norman Rockwell-like canvases.

Steve Salerno said...

Thanks for checking in, DimSkip. I've missed you and your pithy and always informative participation! This whole Trump situation was very difficult for me. On the one hand, I hated the man. OTOH, I hated my media colleagues for being so open about their hatred of the man. I felt there were plenty of people hating Trump, but not enough people calling out the media for their partisanship, so in most of my tweeting and the like, I erred on the side of defending Trump from the media onslaught. I felt required to do that as both as an erstwhile journalist and as someone who teaches journalism.

This created a lot of tension, both in me and between me and many media folk (and former admiring students) whose friendship I lost.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you guys and sending new age rays of peace love and they're more real to me then the shit I've been reading about that's happening over on your side!


Cosmic Connie said...

What DimSkip said: Thank you for this, Steve. And thanks for being honest about being "part of the problem" by not voting, although I do understand why you didn't. I still hold out hope for America but I really am tired of waking up nearly every day to a new round of Trumpian atrocities.