NOTE: Dave Letterman nicknamed him Trumpy. I won’t use it, but I think it is fitting for a guy I’ve titled the King of Addiction. “Trumpy, the King of Addiction.” Sounds like a best-selling t-shirt to me. But can we wear it with compassion for the man who made it necessary?
When an addict of any kind tells you the time of day, only an ignorant or careless person doesn’t check their watch to confirm. The implications of this principle may be the most important thing to know about the King of Addiction.
The reason we check our timepiece isn’t that an addict is necessarily deceitful. It’s that their judgment is untrustable because it is primarily focused on serving their addiction. Primarily. That means everything else is secondary. Everything else. Everything. Spouse, children, the fate of the world. Whatever. Secondary.
When we address the kind and quality of Trump’s ideas as if they were ideas one could have a reasonable conversation about because they are grounded in a reliable paradigm able to be tested by whatever sane measure one chooses (common sense, say)––I feel we are missing the point.
There is nothing reliable about a single word Trump utters other than it reliably reflects his addiction to making himself look good to himself.
I had to smile when, after Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, there were reports that he had looked more presidential than usual. Looking presidential for a few minutes is one thing, but Trump couldn’t muster being presidential if you threatened to shave his head.
Two factors are in dramatic play for us all:
- The consequences of presidential action unguided by a moral compass. The implications of that simple sentence threaten the world to the point that an effective response must include an enormous force of fair-minded warriors of the heart inspired to bring about not just Trump’s exit, but also the long and arduous clean-up of the wreckage he is spearheading. This effort will require the cultivation of a fresh understanding and articulation of who we will be or die trying. One that honors everyone on earth, and will not happen without a lifetime commitment.
- The opportunity to grow compassion for ourselves and anyone else afflicted by humankind’s most dangerous addiction––beliefs. Crazy at it seems, very few of us are fundamentally different from Trump. We are prisoners of the beliefs we clutch with white knuckles; unpleasant consequences the only sure thing. Trump is merely an extreme case, since the unpleasant consequences of what he believes takes a knife to the dreams of people around the world and the vision of America at her best. Then there’s nuclear war. But Trump is different in another way, as well. For most of us, any number of fear-born beliefs fuel our propensity for anger, blame, resentment, hatred and other abusiveness. Trump, on the other hand, has only one belief. It is fueled by his consuming, relentless addiction to self-puffery. It is the belief that he knows what he’s doing: If he thinks something, it must be right. And that is why he is the King of Addiction.
My heart is tender as I attempt to put myself in the space of all those who are being assaulted by Trump’s reality. To me, he is the equivalent of an abused child. He tells whatever story is necessary, however fantastical and blaming, to keep the world, always so dangerous, at bay.
Imagine the level of interior wounding that leaves a person’s every choice propelled by nothing but self-protection.
The heartless, vicious, crazy-wacky things he pontificates. And worse––sets into motion with no sense of their impact on countless human beings, most of whom harbor the most honorable of aspirations: to be a decent person, to live a decent life. It’s one thing to manage the flow of immigrants, and quite another to treat anyone unkindly, especially for no reason other than their skin, name, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, nationality, etc.—all characteristics that have nothing to do with integrity.
The seemingly bottomless pain of those abused by Trump’s oblivion is, for me, equalled by the horror I experience when I attempt to inhabit Trump’s consciousness. Einstein said the fundamental question facing humankind is whether the universe is a friendly place. Every cell in Trump’s body screams no. As a result, he cannot hear his deepest Self, the Lord of Love, who resides in the hearts of us all.
A lifetime of fear has all but completely destroyed whatever he had at birth in the way of empathy, reflection, curiosity, humor––among the qualities vital to a healthy person.
And to have that intellectual and emotional emptiness revealed daily, leaving him naked on the world stage, with no way to respond other than to double-down on one absurdity after another, must be the most terrifying place imaginable for the King of Addiction.
I can just hear at least one of his inner voices the day after the election: “Oh fuck, this isn’t how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to lose, blame crooked Hillary, rally my followers, and make millions.”
Maybe this is why I have compassion for Trump. Along with wishing he’d be abducted by aliens, I sometimes feel the urge to take him in my arms and hold him until this nightmare passes. Which means until we warriors of the heart can create a more suitable, less harmful, career track for Trumpy, the King of Addiction.