Tag Archives: Trump

Ignorance and Depravity Goes to Washington

By Marvin Ross

Every week I think it can’t get any worse and it does. I’m talking about our southern neighbours of course. Just how low can it go? Well, it seems that there is no bottom to the ignorance and depravity of the Trump administration.

First, we have the attacks against the transgender community. If people are law abiding and civil, what they are or what they do is their business. And do normal, sensible people really care where others pee? I remember being in a hotel in the 1960’s in some small community in Guatemala. Down the hall were two doors – one marked damas and the other caballeros. They both lead into the same large room with cubicles and basins lining either side of the room. That would likely cause a stroke in South (or is it North) Carolina in 2017.

But then, to top off that bit of idiocy, we have the new communications director for the White House who has no idea how to communicate suggesting that another official is a fu@@@ paranoid schizophrenic. Words fail me at this total display of ignorance, indecency and lack of civility.

I’ve just finished reading White Trash The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America and I have to say that the author got it wrong. White trash extends into the White House.

Like most Canadians, I have friends and relatives in the US and they are intelligent decent people with whom, mostly, I share similar values. But those sensible, decent, civil people need to stand up and do whatever they can to get their country back and to help it move into the 21st Century. And lest we forget, that includes health care for your citizens. No one in civilized society anywhere can fathom how you can argue about the need to provide citizens with health.

Before you suggest that no one should throw stones, let me explain that other countries have grown. Racism and incivility exists everywhere and probably always will but most countries have gone beyond that being the norm and deal with it when it occurs. Canada’s record with Indigenous people is not very impressive but efforts are being made. The overt racism towards others and homophobia is no longer the norm. Just look at the minorities in the current Canadian cabinet or the Sikh with a full beard and turban running for the leadership of a national political party.

In Hamilton,  posters promoting Fringe Festival plays  about feminist and LGBQT topics were defaced with biblical anti-feminist and anti-gay graffiti. That was denounced in social media and by civic officials and festival officials have put rainbow coloured stickers over the graffiti saying “All for love. And love for all”.

I lived in England for a year during the Enoch Powell era when racism and anti-immigrant sentiment was very strong. Today, I marvel at the English cultural mosaic that is reflected in British TV mysteries and the BBC News. The vote for Brexit may have been a bit of a setback but gone are the days when BBC newsreaders and journalists had to be white and all talked with that upper class Oxbridge accent. Not anymore.

Countries evolve and also regress as liberal Germany did in the rise of Hitler. It is time for the decent Americans I know to actively work to take back their country and to evolve. I’m waiting for US organizations like NAMI, Mental Health America and others to speak up and and denounce the obscene insult to people with mental illness and  hopefully, they will by the time this gets released on Monday. I am writing it on Friday.

Donald Trump vs Lincoln, FDR, Eisenhower and JFK

By Dr David Laing Dawson

A depressing explanation for the existence of Donald Trump as a viable candidate for a position held by Lincoln, Eisenhower, F.D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

Disparate data supports this hypothesis:

  • I have some patients, teenagers, 20 somethings, who spend almost every waking hour in front of one or two or even three screens, absorbing Youtube Videos, Reality TV shows, and gaming. Some sleep at random times, and bathroom breaks and grabbing some food from the refrigerator are minimal, random, and treated as an interruption.
  • Some years ago mental health professionals were so influenced by film and television that “multiple personality disorder” migrated from being a theatrical device to a real syndrome.
  • One teenager I have seen told me she did not identify as specifically male or female. And then she went on to tell me that in fact she did not identify as human.

Two hundred years ago the average person lived within and experienced reality for 99% of his or her waking hours. Perhaps he or she listened to a storyteller once per week.

Books do transport us to imaginary places populated with imaginary people, but to make a book come alive, the writing must be clear and we must use our own imagination to visualize the pirate ship, the colony on Mars, the monster in the swamp. The boundaries between literary fiction and the reader’s reality remain reasonably intact at all times. At least after grade 6.

Perhaps our ancestors in the 18th and 19th century were transported to fictional experiences as often as once per week at a theater, and once per week at a church. But no more than that.

With radio in the 20th century this transportation increased, and the power of it is evident in the consequences of Orson Welles’ broadcast of War of the Worlds.

Still, absorption into a fictional universe occurred, at most, and for most, a few hours per week.

Then came television, and we couch potatoes expanded that to perhaps 20 hours per week.

And now new media, smart phones, tablets, internet, plus television and film, and a whole generation has grown up with their waking hours being divided evenly between a virtual reality (fiction and spectacle and gaming), and reality, and for some the balance has made a profound tilt toward fiction and virtual reality.

So I am wondering if Donald Trump owes his current success to a demographic that can no longer make, can no longer see clearly, the distinction between entertainment and reality, between spectacle and thought, between the absence of real consequences to bad ideas and decisions in virtual reality and the tragedies that bad decisions cause in the real world.

The proposed high wall between the US and Mexico may be a specific symptom of this confluence of reality and virtual reality. In a computer game such a wall can be built quickly and easily, the cost assigned to one’s opponents. It fulfills its purpose or not. It is breached or not. It can be torn down as easily as it was put up. Even if we go bankrupt and our warrior is killed, we simply push the reset button. That ain’t reality.

Donald Trump is a spectacle, a fiction, a celebrity. He is entertaining. He appeals to the petulant child in all of us. We don’t worry about the consequences of his leadership, his stupid statements, his endless lies, because this is just a TV show, a Youtube video, a game. He is a harmless Avatar, and a guilty pleasure. Vicariously we can be The Donald for a while, enjoying his billions, his jets, his mansions, his trophy wife, his freedom to say whatever comes to mind, his freedom from guilt, from anxiety, from empathy. We needn’t think about the real consequences of his candidacy because the season isn’t over yet. And it is just a game show after all.

From the Twin Towers to Trump – A Canadian View of the US

By Dr David Laing Dawson

There are many Americas, some of them just ideas, dreams, impressions, some of them real people living in a country bounded by Canada, Mexico and two oceans.

We were in Chantilly just north of Paris when the Twin Towers came down. We actually did witness a couple of mid eastern males celebrating as they exited a bar that night. In the morning as we put suitcases back in our rental car our innkeeper offered his sympathies. They are ‘Veeruses’ he said, referring to Islamists. ‘Veeeruses’.

Over the next few days I found myself developing a warm place in my heart for America, the idea of America, and New York, that greatest of cities. As a Canadian I had always felt the usual Canadian ambivalence toward the U S of A, one part envy, one part disdain. But now I was suddenly American, a citizen of the new world, the place where we humans tried once again to create a vibrant, democratic, just society, a place where everybody could have a decent life, and most importantly, a place where tyrants, demigods and would be dictators could never find purchase. How dare these 13th century primitives attack my America?

Of course George Bush then invaded Iraq and I reverted to being Canadian, with less envy now, and more disdain and discouragement.

Twelve years later our news channels, talk shows, social media, magazines, and newspapers are full of Donald Trump, mass killings, the shattered politics of the USA. We see the unrest in American cities after yet another white cop shoots a black kid. We hear unfathomable, stupid opinions about gun ownership, massive armies at the ready, air power, drones, Jesus, angels, illegal immigrants and Muslims. Enormous prisons. The Failure of the mental illness treatment system. Executions. Walls being built. Trillions of debt at all levels of government. Open carry and concealed carry.

From north of the border it seems as if the U S of A has become a throbbing mass of uneducated discontent teetering dangerously close to self destruction.

Yet once again we are traveling in the USA, right at this moment on I 95, moving quickly toward Sebastian Inlet State Park, and once again we have seen this country as vast and rich and busy, organized for efficiency and pleasure. As I leave the gas station store a man enters. He says, “Howya doin’, Buddy?”. The older black man with a worn air force baseball cap and a well groomed white poodle in the parking lot of the highway motel tells me she’s a service dog. “I have PTSD”, he says, “From the Viet Nam war.” His candor is almost too much for my Canadian ears.

The gardens are splendid, the houses grand, and those houses that are not grand are clearly serviced and livable, the stop lights work, there is electricity available all day, drinkable water, abundant food, friendly, helpful people, black and white, selling, buying, playing with their toys, speaking their minds, driving their vehicles on well marked roads to shopping plazas to buy a vast number of products, gadgets, appliances, conveniences often invented by Americans.

Now it is true we drove past a sign on the highway stating that Georgia, to date, had 1331 traffic fatalities this year, and over 30,000 Americans kill themselves or another American with guns each year, and we are not visiting inner city Detroit.

But my point is that this vast, rich, democratic republic deserves better than Donald Trump and the rest of those republican candidates speaking in inferential half sentences and making school boy faces at one another while stoking fears of an imaginary invasion. In psychiatry this is called displacement.

Where are the Eisenhowers and Kennedys?

The world needs a just, stable, sane, thoughtful America. An inclusive America. An America that lives up to its ideals and its people. An America that can lead the world by example, not by threat.

And it needs leaders who are courageous enough to address the real needs and threats and not pander to our primitive instincts. Such real needs and threats as education, health care, income inequality, gun violence, mental illness treatment, CO2 emissions, racial and gender equality – and not some mostly imaginary invasion of illegals and Islamists.