Joseph Wyatt: Trump and mental illness kindred topics (Opinion)

Having diagnosed America’s murder problem as caused by mental illness, noted psychiatrist Donald Trump implies that the perpetrators ought to be found not guilty by reason of insanity. Whether his supporters are troubled by that is yet to be determined. Clearer, however, is that mental illness and Trumpian cerebrations are kindred topics.

Evidently, Donald Trump has convinced himself that he is a giant, immune to error. Which is to say, he is unable to see himself as human. Rather, he soars among the archangels and, not unlike a street schizophrenic, he recently looked to the skies and termed himself the “chosen one.”

When he flubs a line or clanks an effort at statecraft, he denies that any failing has occurred. He seems to live a delusional life, telling himself, for example, that he is a successful business man when, in fact, his father constantly bailed him out (to the tune of more than $400 million according to documents uncovered by writer Jane Meyer). When dad was unavailable, he survived by stiffing contractors and by undervaluing his properties at tax time only to later overvalue them as collateral when seeking bank loans. It’s the art of the devious.

After the Parkland school shooting, in which a sheriff’s deputy failed to confront the shooter, the Superman President told us that he would have charged into the school to confront the shooter, which most likely is a carload of kryptonite from reality.

A sense of having failed in life appears to gnaw at him, constantly roiling, threatening to expose his human weaknesses. It craves exposure although Mr. Trump keeps it at bay with his river of self-affirmations and by placing his name in 15-foot letters, when he isn’t pretending that he is a great dealmaker. His repertoire of self-delusional activity shoos the beast back into the darkness, briefly. Cornball puffery (”I am an extremely stable genius.”) provides Mr. Trump with a temporary balm against the realities of his mediocre abilities and accomplishments. His transparent self-aggrandizement serves mainly to fool himself.

To prevent stepping into the garish glare of real self-evaluation, Donald Trump’s thoughts trend along the lines of, “I am a brilliant superman who has accomplished more than most will ever dream of.” It is mad and pathetic in equivalent doses. Surely, his is a tortured life.

Maintenance of his sad charade requires that he keep an ear trained on that thing inside, to keep it away from conscious thinking. Its management has led to a lifetime of lying to himself, and us. Whether it is the trivial (the size of his inaugural crowd) or the significant (“total exoneration” by the Mueller Report), the lies exist to protect him from his smallness, to convince himself he is a winner. The result? With a straight face he is able to say, “I know nothing about Wikileaks,” in April of this year after proclaiming, “This Wikileaks is like a treasure trove,” during the campaign.

It matters because, by the vagaries of an outdated Electoral College system, he landed in the Oval Office and he has the nuclear codes in his pocket. And all the while, he sows division, promotes racism, appeals to neo-Nazis, fans the flames of discontent and drags America down with false promises while routinely engaging in mind-bending departures from rationality.

The demanding beast inside Donald Trump is there to stay, with the result that his performance as public servant will have to improve to merit even a participation trophy.

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail

contributing columnist and

emeritus professor at Marshall University.

Funerals for Sunday, October 13, 2019

Adams, Tammy - 2 p.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Averson, Louie - 2 p.m., Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville.

Durst, Betty - 3 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Elkins, Norwood - 2 p.m., Spencer Chapel, Hewett.

Farley, Richard - 2 p.m., Henson & Kitchen Mortuary, Huntington.

Hatten, Joseph - 1 p.m., Casdorph & Curry Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Light, David - 2 p.m., O’Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Samples, Romie - 2 p.m., The Family Cemetery, Procious.

Williamson, Hi - 11 a.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.