Last Hope? -OR- Lost Hope?

I have been doing some soul-searching regarding the candidates for president. I’ve tried to put my opinions regarding their personal choices to the side, in order to consider the issues.

Now, I’ve made it quite clear that I do consider Secretary Clinton ethically questionable. I’ve also been clear that she is a candidate who is firmly set in the status quo. She’s built her whole career on accumulating power.

But, the longer I spend looking at the issues the more I realize that my choices are very limited unless I also look at the public personality traits they both have. I may appreciate SOME positions of Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton, but the other part that must go into any decisions relating to my vote is evaluating how likely each candidate is to follow-through with their promises. (No, I’m not gullible. I’m very aware that few campaign promises are ever fulfilled the way we citizens interpret them — if at all.)

Let me make it very clear. I am neither a psychologist nor a lawyer. My interpretation of psychology is just that, my own interpretation. YMMV.

  1. Trump

    If you look at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) under Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you will find a more complete understanding of following criteria. I’ve paraphrased.

    1. Identity Issues: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
    2. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.
    3. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or under-estimate of own effect on others.
    4. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others‟ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain.
    5. Antagonism, characterized by Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.
    6. Antagonism, characterized by Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

    A and B above are an either/or grouping, as C and D are, but it is possible that a particular person can exhibit both of the qualities in each of those sets.

    How many of the above qualities do you rate Mr. Trump? By my count, he hits every single one.

    The very qualities that have garnered his wealth are exactly the same qualities that should frankly keep him OUT of the Oval Office. These same qualities that work for him as a businessman are exactly the ones we cannot allow in the leader of our country. Why? Look at the deals he has made. Look at the reasons for some of his rather obvious failures.

    I’m not just referring to the reports from people who have been on the other side of the negotiating table.

    One of the most popular “business” books is STILL Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Habits 4-7 (and the new #8) all call for something completely opposite Mr. Trump’s “slash & burn” type of choices.

  2. Clinton

    Secretary Clinton, on the other hand, may show some of the symptoms of a narcissist, but she fails to fulfill all of the criteria to be defined as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    The items she matches (in my opinion) are A-Identity Issues and E-Antagonism, characterized by Grandiosity. Sadly, many successful women have needed to match E as part of being the “Superwoman.” It’s totally exhausting having to somehow live up to that kind of standard.

    The other qualities? Let’s go through them, shall we?

    1. Self-direction: For almost all of her political career (as Mr. Trump referred to it at the debate, “the last 30 years”), Secretary Clinton has rarely gained approval across the board. In fact, her detractors (conservative OR liberal) have made it quite clear (myself included) that there are things about her and her choices which lead to a lack of trust. She has, again and again, succeeded in many different realms (and yes, have also failed or made poor decisions — really, she IS human and is allowed to be falliable).
    2. Empathy: I cannot deny that Secretary Clinton exhibits a great amount of empathy for her fellow man. Whether or not I consider those activities to be self-serving or not (no one is going to deny that being compassionate makes for some very good spin-doctoring), the fact is that she has repeatedly put her money where her mouth is in many cases.
    3. Intimacy: As much as people like to point at her marriage as being proof she does not have the character to be a president, I sincerely disagree. It is obvious to me that there is quite an emotionally intimate relationship between her and Bill. It is obvious to me that she is loyal and committed to her marriage — whether Bill is just as committed, I would personally have to say a big, fat NO to that. Would I make the decisions about my marriage the way she has? Some people in my life would say that I made exactly those same decisions. I grew up being taught that any relationship requires commitment. What I did not learn until 2 and a half years ago is that it requires equal commitment on both sides. I don’t know about you, but I am not privy to the discussions between the Clintons about their marriage. Without that knowledge, I cannot justify judging her ability to be a sitting president by the public information available about that marriage.
    4. Antagonism, characterized by Attention seeking: In many of her normal day-to-day work for the government over the last 30 years, she has not gone out of her way to look for attention. This does not mean that our media did not pay her a boatload of attention. The difference is who was the motivating force. Unless there was some scandal or controversy about some part of her jobs for America, she simply worked — just like the rest of us — without looking for that proverbial “pat on the back.” Is she using some of her work now in her campaign speeches? Of course, she is. So has every other politician. It is, in reality, part of the job.

So, what does all of this mean?

As a citizen, the choice I have made is to support Secretary Clinton. Each and every one of the Seven Habits that Mr. Trump fails at, she has excelled at. Sometimes, in order to make progress, one must make compromises. We’ve been experiencing exactly what refusing to compromise has brought our country to. And no, it is President Obama’s fault. He has tried, again and again, to make compromises without failing at his intent. He has been stonewalled at each and every turn. And no, I am NOT just blaming the Republicans for that. The Democrats in our government have been similarly lacking in the willingness to compromise.

We’ve survived the doom-sayers who tried to say that Bush Jr. or Obama would destroy our nation. We can survive Clinton. I am not confident that the same can be said of Trump.

Categories: Political Opinion | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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