“Enjoy the #SuperBowl and then we continue: MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
So tweeted Trump innocuously on Sunday afternoon, giving me some vague anxiety that I think I’ve finally put my finger on.
Haven’t you ever had a boss who eventually, over the course of long workweeks, late-night emails and eventually working weekends, frames the industry you’re working in as the whole universe and the organization you’re working for as the only inhabitable planet?
And everything else—your family and friends, your intellectual interests and hobbies, art and music and food and sleep and God Himself—these are portrayed as irritating distractions that some of your colleagues do a better job of shutting out than you do.
Those are the kinds of bosses who make a noisy show of buying you and your spouse a nice dinner to thank you for working eight weeks without a day off. And who command you not to check your email during that dinner, or anytime that night! No, you must “enjoy yourself.” You must “relax.” You MUST. Or else! Hahahahahaha!
And suddenly you realize that your boss has you coming and going. Which is right where he or she wants you.
I think Trump is starting to feel that way, about American citizens. (And actually, citizens all over the world.) And I think citizens, across the political spectrum, are starting to feel that way about Trump.
A psychologist friend says his patients are straight-up asking his advice on what to do about Trump, and anxiety he causes. He gives them two essential strategies:
1.Do, rather than stew. He finds himself recommending specific political action groups that give their followers actual marching orders every day.
2. Use your crazy to your advantage. Compartmentalization, for instance, is something shrinks normally work to reduce. But if it helps keep Trump in his place, it's healthy. "Use your tools," my psychologist friend tells his patients.
Whatever we do: Whether you’re a Trump lover or a Trump hater or a truly deranged agnostic soul in between, let’s don’t underestimate the ability of a leader to warp our reality, to actually worm his way into our inner lives and make us question our own sanity.
Because once he’s in there, it’s too late for us.
It's not like we can quit, and look for a new country.