Questioning Donald Trump: Is the world allowed to diagnose 45?

Previously published in The Campus

Although it is unendingly tempting to become a politically dissociate actor as of late, it is imperative that faith not be lost, and opportune actions not be disregarded. Humanity is fortunate enough to live in a world that provides outlets for the interconnection of ideas, regardless of one’s educational or socioeconomic background.

Such is the case with current psychological research publishings and discussions surrounding mental health. In today’s current global sphere, psychological diagnoses could be at the tap of a finger. But are they allowed to be?

Due to antiquated statutes, there is currently a law in place called the Goldwater Rule. This states that it is, according to the American Psychiatric Association, “unethical for psychiatrists to give a professional opinion about public figures they have not examined in person, and from whom they have not obtained consent to discuss their mental health in public statements.”

The rule was put in place in 1973 following a 1964 article in Fact magazine about presidential nominee Barry Goldwater which stated, “1,189 Psychiatrists say Goldwater is Psychologically Unfit to be President!” Barry Goldwater eventually lost the presidency to Lyndon B. Johnson, the incumbent, and won a lawsuit against the magazine for claiming libel, or publishing a false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. The APA subsequently put the rule in place to avoid future legal inconveniences.

The Goldwater Rule has come into light as of late due to the seemingly questionable mental stability of Donald Trump. Several psychologists, including Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman, see the rule as outdated and therefore have been acting outside of its jurisdiction.

She is not alone.

Psychotherapist Dr. John Gartner has founded a group entitled “Duty to Warn,” dedicated to the removal of Donald Trump from office due to “serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States.” The group, as of August 7th, has gathered approximately 60,000 signatures from mental health professionals. The petition sets forth the following:

We, the undersigned mental health professionals (please state your degree), believe in our professional judgment that Donald Trump manifests a serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States. And we respectfully request he be removed from office, according to article 4 of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which states that the president will be replaced if he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

They aspire to reach 75,000 signatures before several city town hall meetings planned to take place on October 14.

This is not to suggest a world in which the already defamed sphere of mental health becomes more stigmatized, but, instead, to insist on a social situation that notices when an individual has the capability to cause severe or fatal damage to unimposing global actors. Furthermore, doing such should highlight capable mental health practices that can be used, only when necessary, as preventative measures.

Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals across the nation are choosing to stand up against an imposing societal normality which mistakes Trump’s narcissistic traits for a lack of “political correctness.” With that being said, these individuals note that you do not need intensive educational experience to clearly see a personality distortion in DT.

Herman finds that, “the signs of Trump’s mental instability are so visible professional expertise is not even needed to recognize them.”

Why not test this theory? Can you diagnose the Commander in Chief of his most commonly diagnosed affliction, narcissism? Below are the signs of someone suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, according to “Refining the Construct of Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Diagnostic Criteria and Subtypes,” a study conducted by numerous Doctors, including Jonathan Shedler, an internationally known author, consultant, master clinician, and teacher. Accompanying the characteristics will be direct quotes from Donald Trump.

Has an exaggerated sense of self importance (e.g., feels special, superior, grand, or envied):
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

Appears to feel privileged and entitled; expects preferential treatment:
“It has not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.”

Has little empathy; seems unable or unwilling to understand or respond to others’ needs or feelings:
“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan…And now it’s the tallest.”
(Statement was received post 9/11)

Tends to blame own failures or shortcomings on other people or circumstances; attributes his or her difficulties to external factors rather than accepting responsibility for own conduct or choices:
“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system.”

Tends to be critical of others:
“Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.” Referring to Colin Powell, “I was never a fan” and “weak understanding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

During a conference attended by concerned mental health professions at Yale university, James Gilligan, New York University professor, ended his remarks by quoting poet Theodore Roethke, “in a dark time, the eye begins to see.”

Can you see?

Design by Carmen Quang

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