Like millions of people in the US and around the world, I watch in horror as the results of a Donald Trump presidency become visible to all. Headlines in the Washington Post on January 7, 2021 caught our attention:
- How pro-Trump insurgents broke into the U.S. Capitol.
- Woman fatally shot when pro-Trump mob stormed the United States Capitol, identified as a veteran of the Air Force.
- Treating pro-Trump mobs with kid gloves is in contrast to police tactics against Black Lives Matter, activists say.
Donald Trump's presidency won't end until January 20, 2021, and the US and the world are still at risk from his madness. We will learn a lot more about the events on January 6, 2021. We will also learn more about who was involved. Obviously, not all of those who supported Donald Trump were men. However, it seemed clear that most of those who broke into the Capitol were men.
To understand what was going on, we need to talk about authoritarian men, starting with Donald Trump, the instigator of the violent attack on the US Congress and the American people. It will be a while before we know who the other leaders of the insurrection were, but we already know some of them:
- One of the most startling images quickly shared on social media is of a man with a painted face, fur hat and horns holding an American flag. He has been identified as Jake Angeli, a well-known proponent of the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory QAnon. He calls himself the QAnon shaman.
- Another group discovered during the storming of the Capitol were members of the far-right group Proud Boys. The organization was founded in 2016 and is anti-immigrant and exclusively male. In the first US presidential debate, when asked about white supremacists and militias, President Trump replied, "Proud boys – stand back and stand by." A proud boy member, Nick Ochs, tweeted a selfie in the building and said, "Hello from the capital (sic) lol. "
- Tim Gionet, better known as "Baked Alaska", streamed live from the Capitol on Wednesday. He has been described as a "white nationalist" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- MAGA activist Richard "Bigo" Barnett of Gravette, Arkansas, was shown in the office of Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and left the message: "We will not back down." He had announced on social media prior to the event that he was prepared for his life to end in bloody and violent ways.
Barnett's words are a key to understanding these men. These are the words of a hopeless, depressed man who wants to burst into anger after desecrating a powerful woman's office, taking a piece of her stationery, and leaving a note: "Nancy, Bigo was here, you b—-. You don't have to be a trained psychologist to guess the underlying problems men like Bigo are dealing with.
A trained psychologist who knows the leader of the pack very well is Mary L. Trump, Ph.D. In her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Made the Most Dangerous Man in the World, she says:
"Donald's father, Fred Trump, Sr., destroyed Donald by impairing his ability to develop and experience the full spectrum of human emotions. By restricting Donald's access to his own emotions and making many of them unacceptable, he distorted the perception of the world by his son and damaged his ability to live in it. "
In an interview on January 7, 2021, she told Business Insider reporter Haven Orecchio-Egresitz:
"Donald Trump is more desperate now and Americans should be both angry and scared. No one should be surprised by all of this, and that includes the terrible lack of not just unresponsiveness, but apparently polite help offered to this insurgent mob. "
The philosopher George Santayana wrote in 1905: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." We should look back on some of the warnings that too few people have taken seriously enough to possibly act differently in the future. I'll start with some of my own warnings.
On November 25, 2020, I said in an article: "Trumpism, trauma and the wounding of the male soul:
“The election is over. Donald Trump lost. Joe Biden won. However, Donald Trump is angry and struggling to admit defeat. Even after he leaves office, Trumpism will be alive in America and around the world. Our country will remain in turmoil until we understand and heal the underlying causes based on the wounding of the male soul. "
On November 7th, 2020 I thought in an article "After November 3rd: The next 3 days, 3 months and 3 years will determine our future" about past warnings and described the dangers ahead:
"On May 7, 2016, six months before the 2016 election, when Donald Trump became president, I wrote an article entitled" The Real Reason Donald Trump Will Be Our Next President. "I wrote at the time: A lot of people who identify as Democrats, Republicans and Independents don't want Donald Trump to be our next president. Despite unfavorable ratings that keep rising, millions of men and women will vote for him."
I went on to outline the underlying reasons why I believed he would be the next President of the United States and the dangers a Trump presidency would pose to the US and the world if prior to his election no action would be taken.
On November 3, 2020, the morning of Election Day, I wrote on Facebook:
“Today is election day … well, really, the elections and votes have been going on for some time and we may not know the results and get all the votes tabulated and counted for some time. These are times of challenge and uncertainty. What we know is this:
Regardless of whether Joe Biden and Kamala Harris or Donald Trump and Mike Pence win the election, about half the country will be overjoyed and about half the country will feel angry, anxious, stressed, and depressed.
Some will feel the election has been stolen and others will want to harm others.
Some will feel like the America they knew died and they will feel such hopelessness and anger that they want to destroy the remains of our country.
Others will feel that although something has ended, something new and even better can emerge from the ashes.
The United States of America is a young country ruled by young male energy (no coincidence that all of our presidents were male) with a certain macho, youthful, insecure, competitive, pubescent spirit. "
Many wounded men like Donald Trump never grow up. They age but always feel like scared little boys. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump feels a kinship with the Proud Boys. According to Wikipedia:
"The group was formed in 2016 in right-wing Taki & # 39; s Magazine under the direction of co-founder and former commentator of Vice Media, Gavin McInnes. The name comes from the song" Proud of Your Boy "from the 2011 Disney musical Aladdin. "
The problem with angry, wounded boys who never grow up is that many of them are driven by "the manliness of the monster boys," a term coined by psychologist Robert Moore who says we are of "healthy manhood "Went over to the" masculinity of the monster boys ".
A few years ago Moore said:
“Our planet is currently in a new form of chaos, a kind that has never been seen before. It is a form of chaos, not when the culture has the wrong leaders in their places of elders, not when the leaders need to be changed, but when the entire system of elders has collapsed and the culture falls apart and dissolves chaos. "
We are seeing clear expressions of masculinity in monster boys in the final days of the Trump presidency. But Donald Trump is not the only "monster boy" trying to maintain power in the world. In her recent book StrongMen: Mussolini to the Present, internationally recognized historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat describes other world leaders, including those of the Pas – such as Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler – as well as those living today, including Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian Presidents Victor Orban, Hungarian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and Donald Trump, the current President of the United States.
In Strongmen, she exposes the blueprint these leaders have followed for the past 100 years and calls on us to recognize, resist, and prevent their catastrophic rule in the future.
“For us, the age is authoritarian rulers: self-appointed saviors of the nation who evade accountability and rob their people of the truth, the treasure and protection of democracy. They promise law and order and then legitimize violations of the law by financial, sexual and other predators. "
She goes on to say:
"Trump had considered running for president for years, but the stars voted for the 2016 election cycle when the surge in global migration and the affront to eight years of Obama's rule generated the right level of resentment against people of color." "I am your vote," he said to Americans who felt economically vulnerable and uncomfortable in an increasingly multiracial society. His "protector" persona echoed on previous rulers who swore to bear the burdens of the nations. "
Trump was also made possible by a shift in the Republican Party. "By the time Trump launched his campaign in 2015," Ben-Ghiat reminds us, "the Republican Party had largely abandoned democratic notions of mutual tolerance and its commitment to bipartisan governance had waned." A robust right-wing media universe, from talk radio to Fox News and beyond, has fueled this shift. "
At the end she says:
“Donald Trump's relentless misinformation shows how authoritarian rule, far from ensuring stability, is marked by destructive chaos. No other type of leadership is so transparent when it comes to prioritizing self-interest over the common good. As one country after another has found, the strong are worst when their country is most in need of real leadership. "
As a clinician who has worked with wounded men for over fifty years, I can tell you that these "strong men" are actually very frightened and weak little boys in the bodies of adult men. Without the support of enablers, they could not come to power or stay in power. This is certainly true of Donald Trump, whose enablers, both men and women, many within the Republican Party who currently hold positions of power in our administration. There are many more people who voted for Donald Trump and continue to support him. All have much to explain and to heal when our country comes together and lets go of our attachment to Manhood of a monster boy and strong man authoritarian leaders.
We need more than a new President and Vice-Presidents and a revitalized Congress. We need a truth and reconciliation commission like the one that was assembled in South Africa after the end of apartheid and that may be led by mature grandmothers in the spirit of Maya Angelou and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. We need to tell the truth about racism, sexism and authoritarianism that are at the root of our country in order to truly heal and come together as a functioning democracy.
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Photo credit: Getty
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