We’ve all seen just how impulsive our current president seems to be, and concurrent to that, we’ve all mockingly laughed when he’s tried and failed to reassure us about his mental state. After the publication of an incendiary book from author Michael Wolff called Fire and Fury, Trump tweeted that he is a “stable genius,” and of course, he earned wide derision for that.
But what really is the best representation of his mental state? Reassuring someone—or an entire country—that you’re stable because you’ve been effectively backed into a corner and forced to do it isn’t the best way to actually get your message across.
So is he stable? Prominent psychiatrist Allen Frances says that he’s, at the very least, sane—he’s just a bad person. Instead, he insists that people need to stop focusing on the character of the president and keep working on the actual political side of the issues raised by his presidency.
There are numerous political issues, of course, that have been raised by Trump’s time in office, with him working to push non-whites to the edge of American politics if not completely out of it. Some of his most infamous proposals, both of which have proceeded towards actually being implemented in fits and starts, include a wall along our entire border with Mexico and a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
As France explains it, it’s important to not confuse the concepts of “mad” and “bad,” both in the case of Donald Trump and in other cases. Confusing the two keeps one from actually effectively addressing the “bad,” something that we must do going forward.
Trump has used his incendiary behavior that’s made many question his mental state as a distraction from the policies that he has managed to implement since taking office, including the tax reform plan he signed into law late last year that favors the upper class parts of society, even though Trump promised to do otherwise once taking office.
Frances quipped as follows:
‘Everyone’s talking about Trump’s psychological motivations and not doing the kinds of things [we need]… There should be much more attention to fighting his policies and much less attention on the person and the priorities of Trump… I’ve never been politically active in my whole life. I’ve been missing in action at just about every important political moment up until this one. I think people have to stop screaming at their TV sets, stop thinking about complaining about Trump, and get out to vote. I think the vast majority of Americans are decent people. The trouble is that a vocal minority is better at propagandizing.’
The nation has slowly but surely begun to come around to understanding the ideas that Frances is laying out here. There were Women’s Marches, for instance, across the country on Saturday, and on Sunday there will be a rally in Las Vegas meant as a public front of the movement’s efforts to boost voter participation.
Today marks exactly one year since the Women’s March.
We’re gathering in Las Vegas to show that women are not backing down; we are bringing the power of our movement to the polls.
— Women’s March (@womensmarch) January 21, 2018
There has begun to be a broad awareness of the impact of voter suppression on electoral outcomes. Some—although perhaps not enough—have paid a great deal of attention to draconian voting regulations that kept minority voters from the polls in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, all of which were crucial to Trump’s 2016 victory.
On top of all of these issues, there’s something else—Donald Trump didn’t elect himself. Millions of people were just fine with his racist policy proposals and cast their ballots for him happily. Addressing the issues in these people’s lives can’t always be done if we’re just focusing on Trump’s mental state.
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