I knew it was getting really bad when a mother disowned her son …. for voting for Trump. I was aware a number of children were disowning their parents for the same alleged misdeed, but the other way around? It had overtones of Euripides.
(The latter has overtones … well, maybe more than overtones … of disregard for the Ten Commandments, but who cares about that?)
Anyway, sure enough, driving to the gym while listening to Dennis Prager, an extremely depressed sounding man called in complaining that his mother had formally disowned him for that very malfeasance—voting for Trump and, worse, making the dumb mistake of telling his mother that he had. The roof caved in. She wouldn’t talk to her son again ever. He was in his forties and she in her sixties. He wanted to know what he could do, but Dennis, given the nature of it all, was flummoxed.
So was I, but I wasn’t surprised. What we have been witnessing since the election of Donald Trump is nothing short of a national nervous breakdown the likes of which I have never seen. This breakdown is happening almost exclusively on the left, the losing side, again in a manner never seen. I have lived through many elections in which the right lost and never saw anything roughly equivalent on their part—no endless protests in the streets, no hug-ins on campuses, no cancellations of tests and classes as if there had been an 8.2 earthquake followed by a tsunami, etc. Even on the left, the protests have been within bounds. This time, however, they are endless, egged on by many in the media and in our universities and schools, including, most abominable of all, K-12.
The rap is that this all stems from the nature of Donald Trump—the racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc., etc.
Nonsense. That is what the shrinks call “the presenting complaint”—and not just because calling Trump a sexist when he contested Hillary Clinton, who enabled, actually justified, her husband’s behavior inside the White House and out, or homophobic, even though Trump was pro-gay marriage back in 1998-99, almost fifteen years before Obama and Clinton “evolved” on the question, and was the first to have an “out” gay man (Peter Thiel) speak at a national convention won’t wash. (There’s more but I won’t bother.)
No, there’s something far more important going on than the usual racism, sexism, yaddayaddayadda. Consciously or not, the left— liberals, progressives, call them what you or they will—are afraid, even petrified, Trump will be a good, possibly great president. (He’s not doing badly right now.) That would call to question everything they had ever thought and result in personality disintegration and loss of self. They wouldn’t know who they were. It would be a wound to their (self-promotion alert) moral narcissism the likes of which they have never experienced.
So they are acting out on all fronts and this highly neurotic, intermittently violent behavior is apt to continue for a long time. (Just think how they’ll react if the lives of African-Americans actually improve under Trump.) The media too will be looking to justify their bias as never before. To do otherwise might make them face the “remote possibility” that there could, in reality, be something wrong with them and the way they go about their work.
For those reasons, an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago—”How to Reconcile with Family and Friends after the Election“—seems, alas, rather tepid. The advice proffered—by William Doherty, director of marriage and family therapy at the University of Minnesota—for holiday dinners is almost puerile under the circumstances.
- Don’t gloat if your candidate won, and don’t predict the end of the country if yours lost.
- Don’t continue an argument that will get you nowhere.
- If you need to vent, do so with people who share your view.
- At holiday gatherings, respond to a gloating Trump supporter that you weren’t for him but hope he is a good president. Then go get a glass of wine and find relatives who share your views.
- Put the presidential campaign in a box, leave it on the shelf and move on.
Sure, gloating is never a good idea. It’s bad manners. And arguing with people who can’t hear your argument (i.e. are willfully blind) is a pointless activity, and so forth.
But the truth of the matter is this all amounts to a wretched Thanksgiving. If my behavior at the holiday feast has to be dictated by Mr. Doherty, I’d just as soon not go. And yet many of us are trapped into such an occasion, maybe for years. We are kidding ourselves if we think this is all going to go away soon.
Unfortunately, those of us who voted for Trump find ourselves functioning in loco parentis, even if, as in the case above, it’s our parents that are off the wall. If it’s our children, grown or otherwise, we still have to suck it up. That comes with the job description. And if the nonsense going on in our streets and on our campuses tells us anything, it’s that someone—a lot of someones, really—didn’t do such hot jobs as parents in the first place. It also tells us our teachers and school administrators are worse yet than the parents.
But don’t despair. There is a way out.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already.