Sunday, May 07, 2017

Is Donald Trump Mentally Ill?

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I suspect that readers know what my opinion is on the answer to the question that comprises the caption of this post.  Unfortunately, too many do not want to discuss the question and/or feel bound by an antiquated 1960's era self-imposed rule, the so-called Goldwater rule.  Others, including much of the legitimate news media (which in my opinion excludes Fox News), fear a lawsuit by the demented lair-in-chief even though the libel laws shield one so long as you preface your comment with "in my opinion."   The failure of experts to speak up and a lazy media lead to the Iraq War disaster which caused the loss of countless lives and a ballooning of America's deficit.  I believe that Trump poses an existential danger to America and the world.  Remaining silent is not only dangerous but also unpatriotic.  A piece in Salon looks at the ridiculous silence that surrounds Trump's mental instability.  Here are highlight:
President Donald Trump has a personality disorder that we’re not supposed to talk about, and that makes me furious. The Goldwater rule, an ethical norm from the 1960s that forbids psychiatrists and psychologists from diagnosing public figures they haven’t been able to evaluate in person, has gagged the most knowledgeable among us from speaking freely. A man with no impulse control and no chance of improvement is shooting his missiles all over, not to mention targeting vulnerable populations at home. The world is in a panic while the doctors worry that he’ll sue.
Beyond compounding the crisis of public ignorance, the moratorium is a reflection of the way professional norms are all too often wielded to protect predators and silence women. The media’s dispiriting willingness to roll over and let old white men dictate the boundaries of legitimate conversation and expertise has to end.
Trump benefits immeasurably from the Goldwater rule, which was put in place because Sen. Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, sued a magazine called Fact, which solicited diagnoses of him during the election campaign. Trump normally has to buy his victims’ silence himself, but this gift came for free. Since he will never allow an independent evaluation of his competence, the American Psychiatric Association and its members have kept quiet. 
Our inability to diagnose has led to de facto censorship on the subject. For purposes of saving the republic, all we need to know is that our president is delusional, dangerous and incurable. He’s a 70-year-old con man who relishes violence, abuse of power and deception. He will never, ever change.
The silence was broken last week by several renowned psychiatrists at a Duty to Warn conference organized by Dr. Bandy Lee. She has formed a coalition of more than 800 mental health professionals who believe that Donald Trump is dangerous to the health and safety of their patients.
There are some professionals who genuinely don’t think the president is mentally ill, but as a lawyer, I know that professional associations exist to protect their members, often at public expense. We wouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater if the American Psychiatric Association weren’t so concerned about its members’ liability. Don’t tell me that the Cheeto Emperor is streaking down Fifth Avenue but that because he put on matching socks this morning, we can’t notice that he’s naked.
I wanted to weep when the New York Times shushed Ruth Bader Ginsburg for warning us about Trump’s existential threat. When the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board wrote recently that it could never have anticipated the train wreck of the Trump administration, I screamed in frustration. Those of us who have had our lives derailed by abusers like Trump know exactly how much damage they can do.
There are those who will say that this discussion further stigmatizes the mentally ill. Not all mental illness is created equal. . . . . The vast majority of mentally ill people, like the homeless veterans who populate our streets, are peaceful people who go about their lives internalizing their pain rather than projecting it onto others. These people deserve compassion and care, not mistreatment.
We cannot say the same for Trump. He makes every disturbed feeling our problem. He’s like the guy in a gangster movie who sits down for a poker game, the tension escalating until a throwaway joke about his tiny fingers causes him to stab someone’s hand to the table.
As a serial predator, Trump looks at people like a lion eyes a herd of antelope. Does the lion care which antelope he eats for dinner? No. He’s an equal opportunity abuser, as Ivanka would say. But he’s lazy. Why challenge himself with the head of the pack when there are a few lagging behind who can’t put up much of a fight? . . . His administration reeks of social Darwinism. Who can forget Donald Trump Jr. dehumanizing refugees as Skittles?
Now that we’ve put Trump at the top of the figurative human food chain, let’s not allow the ignorance surrounding mental illness to flatten an urgently needed discussion. . . . . It’s not that Trump doesn’t want to behave — he simply cannot. Like Lear wandering in the storm, we have blinded ourselves to the obvious, and the results could be catastrophic.

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