Why we should pity, not hate, Donald Trump


#1

The BBC posted a good article on Tuesday, about what it’s like to be a narcissist. I often joke that the world revolves around me (and I even own a t-shirt to that effect, similar to the one above), but the reality is, I’m rather glad I’m not. It’s not a happy life that a narcissist lives.

The research published earlier this year showed that the higher participants scored on a questionnaire measure of narcissism, the less connective tissue they had between the medial prefrontal cortex – a brain region associated with thinking about the self – and the ventral striatum, which is a region tied to the experience of reward and pleasure. The researchers said this “internal deficit in self-reward connectivity” might make it difficult for narcissists to think positively about themselves and that it could explain why they are always trying so hard to get attention and shore up their self-confidence.

But there is still hope for the narcissists — even, dare I say it, for a certain Presidential candidate.

There’s even some evidence that with a little encouragement – asking them to take other people’s perspective – narcissists can be nudged into showing greater empathy.

I am not saying that having a narcissist as the President of the United States is a good idea. To the contrary, it’s probably a horrible idea. But after we make sure he loses in November, let’s let the hate drain away, and remember to treat him with pity. After all, to quote Tolkien:

[Frodo:] “What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature when he had a chance!”
[Gandalf:] “Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.”
“I am sorry,” said Frodo. “But I am frightened, and I do not feel any pity for Gollum.”
“You have not seen him,” Gandalf broke in.
“No, and I don’t want to,” said Frodo. “I can’t understand you. Do you mean to save that you, and the Elves, have let him live on after all those horrible deeds? Now at any rate, he is as bad as an orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.”
“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be so eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it.”

Donald Trump, like Gollum, isn’t some faceless, inhuman monster. He’s a person, albeit a foully-twisted, hateful, and repugnant one. He has risen nearly to the very top, and thus his fall is going to be a mighty one.

Remember, when he is at our feet come November, that he is still a person, and not to be kicked when he is down. The difference between us and the assholes is that we can show Pity and Mercy to our enemies, because we recognize them as people: badly damaged, but still people. And maybe that Pity and Mercy could redeem him.

I have not much hope that Donald Trump can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it.


#2

Cory Booker’s response to Trump’s vague threats after his DNC speech:

I don’t want to answer his hate with hate. I’m going to answer it with love. I’m not going to answer his darkness with darkness… I love you, I just don’t want you to be my president. I don’t want to you have the White House to be spewing that kind of mean-spirited hate that doesn’t even belong on a playground sandbox.


#3

Regardless of how I feel about Trump himself, his political success says something fearful about a sizable faction of the US body politic.


#4

I’ve known some who steadfastly refuse to see things from the perspective of others and it always seems to be because they fear it will leave them vulnerable to being treated the way they’ve treated others.

Reading this makes me think Trump is running for president because he sees the shallowness of what he’s done, his lack of any lasting impact and he wants to do something that will be remembered. I don’t think he has any ambitions of improving the world; he’s only doing it for himself, but I think he is afraid and that makes me feel sorry for him.

@chromakey Yes, and perhaps the article above is useful in suggesting that we’re suffering a kind of cultural narcissism.


#5

Someone who has been handed every opportunity in life doesn’t deserve our pity. This jumped-up rug rack doesn’t warrant hatred, either—but certainly dread and disgust.

Narcissism can’t be cured. To overcome it, its sufferer must want to change. The toupéed turmeric tumor won’t realize his behavior is wrong unless he hits bottom. If no one would pay attention anymore, maybe we’d see a new Trump.


#6

I wish every person I’ve encountered with a personality disorder, NPD, BPD the best in recovery… the fuck away from me. I don’t want them around, I don’t want to hear about them, I don’t want any interaction with them. (I did date someone for many years, went to recovery and group therapy programs to support them, and they did better after I left, but kept trying to contact me. Nope!)

Trump, give us space to love you. Encase yourself in concrete and drop into the ocean.


#7

Even Fred Phelps apparently in his last days had a change of heart. Enough to get him kicked out of the church of hate he started.


#8

Yeah no… not gonna feel sorry for a millionaire. Nope.


#9

Eh, that was a power struggle when they felt he had lost the ability to focus hatred as efficiently (as there were so many family defections), I wouldn’t consider that any victory of humanity, was there something more to it?


#10

I don’t like the idea that we shouldn’t feel sorry for someone because they have money. It seems to imply that money is the only thing of value in this world. Suppose a man lost a family member, or a beloved pet. If he were a millionaire, would I feel any less pity for how the loss of that pet hurt him? If he were homeless, would I feel more pity for that loss?

If you’ve read the article I linked, it says that, if Trump is a narcissist (as seems to be the case), he spends his life in constant self-hatred. How is that not pitiable, regardless of what his socio-economic status is?

I’m not, by any means, saying that we need to like him. But, even though he may treat his enemies as subhuman, we cannot do the same to him, or we will start to sink to his level.

By all means, do whatever is necessary to prevent him from getting elected, and celebrate your victory. But don’t cry “Ding-dong, the Witch is dead” because you’re proud of the harm that defeat has done to Donald Trump. He may very well be the worst presidential candidate ever, but he’s still a human being in pain, and deserves pity for that reason alone.


#11

I disagree, I don’t believe he’s in any pain at all and I’m Canadian, he’s not my president. :wink:


#12


#13

I will be happy that he will be in less of a place to hurt others. He will continue self sabotaging and there is nothing I can do about that.

Why go through such efforts to chastise others for feeling pleased at another’s failure to harm the world? We will never meet, and he loathes my existence, I don’t see how any cheerfulness at his slithering away would make me a worse person because he hates himself nearly as much as he hates me and wishes to see my country harm.

Tone trolling doesn’t make any of us better people. I’m not happy that he hates himself, but disempowering him would make the world objectively better.


#14

#15

Fair point, but in your example, the millionaire deserves compassion for events beyond his control. Trump owns his personality.

You’re absolutely right that hatred is too strong, and considering him subhuman too far.


#16

I don’t remember doing that at all. In fact, the sentence before the one you quote is:

I’m saying that while you should take joy in the fact that he isn’t in a position to hurt the world, you shouldn’t take joy in the fact that this is going to hurt him. I’m sure that there are going to be people the next day posting pictures of him that say “Loser!” and such.

Going back to the Lord of the Rings example: there was a great celebration of Frodo’s victory at the end of the book, but they were not celebrating Sméagol’s death, or even Sauron’s. They were celebrating the return of hope, the banishing of fear, and the crowning of a new ruler. I hope that BB will be as magnanimous in victory as Gondor was.


#17

Precisely! What Micro-Metacarpals needs most is not to be celebrated or excoriated, but ignored and forgotten.


#18

I don’t enjoy most political memes anyway, and wish people would ignore him now.

Honestly I don’t know what would make him disappear and support humiliations that would enable the media to fuck off with his visage, but I can’t even see that working as he is pure profit to them.

It’s just massively frustrating to know that this cancer is being welcomed by “the liberal media” and we’re being bombarded with terribleness, and even after him we’ll see new Trumps popping up in his wake.

People are more angry than cruel. They know that persons in his position will still have every benefit afforded, he was born up, and his failures haven’t hurt him. But we are utterly impotent to affect him. People laugh at the absurd idea that he gives a fuck about the little people, but we also know better.

Hopefully his true wealth through tax records or other means finally gets released so he can be laid bare, a fraud and a vulgar fool.


#19

Anyone who wants to hate him, you have my approval. Have at it. Edit: If that makes me a terrible person, I’m ok with that.


#20

You owe me like…a tenth or so of a chocolate malt milkshake, and a cleaning rag, thanks.