– Very personal snippets of a complex matter –
Usually, I don’t take a stand when it comes to politics. Why? Because working with language and listening to people for so many years, I know how easy it is to manipulate through language. We use words, metaphors, and exaggerations to get our point across. Whatever we believe it to be.
The other reason that I do not participate in political debate is that two of my children (in-law included) studied “film”. Both of them tell me again and again how easy it is to project images and combine them with events and information that are not connected in the slightest.
Do I read about and see Trump in the media? Sure. Do I know what to believe? No. Depending on what channel I am on, I hear different stories. For example, I am shown comparison pictures from both Trump’s and Obama’s inauguration days. Many more people appear to be present at Obama’s inauguration than at Trump’s, yet we find out that the pictures were taken at different times of the day; Obama’s at the moment of inauguration, whereas Trump’s were taken in the morning when people started to gather. So, what do I believe?
The fact that I feel I cannot believe anything is in itself worrisome.
Who is in charge of politics? Who manipulates me?
One of the important psychological theories that I fully understand is the idea of projecting. We like to project onto others the traits that we do not like in ourselves. I believe that every person I meet is a mirror of me and give me an occasion to be more aware of who I am. Even though I have not met Trump, he is in my life, whether I like it or not. So, what does this man stand for?
First of all, he is not a good-looking guy, at least not in my eyes. Are his looks a result of his thinking, or are they due to genetics (because of his German ancestors)?
Obama looks much smarter (to me!). Does this play a role in my judgment? Yes, it does. It is known that people – for example in court – have an advantage when they are balanced looking, which means they have a face that is symmetrical. People in politics and sales are also more believable when they look smart. But that’s another story and for another blog…
Coming back to Trump – as I said before, he is not good looking, and his manners seem artificial, not authentic. When he waves he comes across as an actor who is playing the role of a president. To me he doesn’t play his role convincingly.
Psychiatrists and psychotherapists in the USA have come up with personality evaluations and called Trump narcissistic. So my point is, again, on what truth do they base their judgment? Have they evaluated him in person? Who are these people and what do they project onto him?
And what do we as a people project onto Trump? We compare him to Hitler; call him stupid, evil, demagogic, a dictator, a despiser of women, and plenty of other demeaning names.
His presence, and his opinion about women, activates so many women all over the globe, to stand together, united. I find this very positive and moving. When I saw those crowds, knowing that he does not think highly of women, I was reminded of the 70s, when I was on the street fighting for women’s rights. It felt good to see my sisters now again, united, going out onto the street, and demonstrating. Since the 70s, women in the Western world have taken their right to vote, their right to study, and their right to proceed with a pregnancy or not for granted. Isn’t it good to be reminded that we have to stay vigilant and maintain our rights?
Another Trump story is that he seems not to believe in climate change, even though it is evident and more than 99% of scientists working in that field have stated that the change is already happening and that it is man-made! (My son is one of those scientists, and is carrying out research on climate, its changes and the consequences).
Isn’t Trump’s (apparent) opinion a good opportunity for us to make sure that we don’t ruin our planet even more? It appears that the information in his genes is not up-to-date enough to foresee the destruction of nature if we continue with the way we live. It requires going beyond the known and into the imagination to understand that the destruction of the surface of our planet is driven by greed and ignorance. The planet itself will continue moving through space. It is just us – the human species – who will disappear.
Yet, when I saw Trump’s body language on the day when he accepted his place of power, I felt compassion for him. I saw how he was walking; letting his shoulders droop, alone and lonely, to a place where he knows that he cannot succeed. I asked myself; does he have somebody to cuddle up with at night? Does he feel loved by anybody?
Does he love himself?
As always, life is complex, and so are we by being part of life. Let’s stay alert and do what we can. My intention for this year is to be more open, be clearer in times of confusion, stand up for myself, continue listening between the lines, continue doubting what is presented to me and keep loving humankind. I cannot do things any differently.
(image: courtesy of Fran Rodrigez, Barcelona)