“Democracy is based upon empathy and the recognition that some decisions are solely for the community’s benefit without regard to one’s own narrow self-interest.” – John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor (D) and Senate candidate
“To understand his [Donald Trump’s] actions, it is essential to keep in mind that sociopaths have only one goal: to enhance themselves, and that in pursuing their self-interest, they lack both normal human empathy for others and a normal human conscience. Cheating, conning, lying, stealing, threatening are all done with no remorse.” – Dr. Lance Dodes, Training and Supervising Analyst Emeritus with the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, recently retired as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
A Sociopathic Party
Donald Trump is a sociopath. We have that diagnosis from one of the world’s leading experts, as seen above—as well as from many others of similar qualifications. Dr. Dodes’ description of a sociopath includes this statement: “[Sociopaths] lack both normal human empathy for others and a normal human conscience.” Based on Dr. Dodes’ description, I’d say that the majority of avid Trump supporters also are sociopaths; they lack normal human empathy for others and normal human conscience. They cannot or will not identify with, for example, migrant families from South and Central America who are fleeing dangerous conditions and seeking a safer and better life here in the States. Nor will they identify with African Americans whose ancestors were brutally enslaved by Southern “heroes” whose statues those same African Americans want removed.
Chuck Woolery, former TV game show host and avid Trump supporter, is an example of that Trumpist sociopathic tendency. On July 12 of this year, Woolery tweeted, “The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most, that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.” Not surprisingly, Trump retweeted Woolery’s post the next day.
On the day of Woolery’s above Tweet, 3,291,969 Americans had been officially diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease. From that number of infections, 127,677 had died. Yet Woolery called news about COVID-19 “lies.” The very next day, Monday, the number of cases in the United States had reached 3,230,991, a 24-hour increase of nearly 61,000 U.S. infections. Had it not been for the identity of one young man among those 61,000, Mr. Woolery likely would not have changed his tune about this virus that, as of July 17, has claimed the lives of nearly 600,000 humans worldwide. But one of those 61,000 new American infections was to a young man named Woolery, Chuck Woolery’s son.
That one, single infection, prompted the senior Woolery’s final Tweet before deleting his Twitter account. That final Tweet said, “To further clarify and add perspective, COVID-19 is real and it is here. My son tested positive for the virus, and I feel for of those suffering and especially for those who have lost loved ones.”
On July 12, COVID-19 was a hoax perpetrated by the CDC, the media, and Democrats, aimed at punishing President Trump. On July 13, COVID-19 became real when it infected Woolery’s son. That’s typical of the Trumpist mindset; it’s also typical of the new conservative mindset which has become indistinguishable from the former.
No More Compassionate Conservatism
While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush called for a new “compassionate conservatism.”
According to a White House Fact Sheet published at that time, “The President’s vision of compassionate conservatism effectively tackles some of society’s toughest assignments—educating our children, fighting poverty at home and aiding poor countries around the world.” Whether the initiative really did effectively tackle those issues is up for debate. Not up for debate is the hard-right shift from attempts at compassionate conservatism under Bush to outright rapacious reactionaryism under Trump. Trump makes no effort to reach out to the poor and downtrodden. To him—as well as to most of his devout followers, like Chuck Woolery—the nation’s poor and marginalized are “different,” and different means deficient and potentially contaminative. For most Trumpists, I’m increasingly convinced, empathy is a foreign emotion—at least outside the circle of their family members and closest friends.
For Chuck Woolery, COVID-19 didn’t exist before July 13, when his son was diagnosed. The same mindset is true for Donald Trump; COVID-19 is not yet really real because it hasn’t hit him or Ivanka. (I’m not sure if he’s capable of mustering any real compassion for anyone else—even Melania or his other children.)
Sadly, it seems that some 30 percent our nation’s population have these empathy-lacking sociopathic tendencies. And four years ago, that 30 percent—aided by many more who simply believed Trump was the lessor of two evils—elected perhaps the most self-centered, narcissistic person ever to run for public office.
As thousands of Americans are newly infected with COVID-19 each day, we have a president who is more concerned with how the numbers make him look than with those COVID victims and their families. I’m hesitant to state this wish, but for the good of the nation, I find myself hoping Ivanka—or Donald himself—catches the virus. I suspect nothing short of that will reach our president and his sociopathic, cult-like followers.