A Bad Moon Has Risen — A Sociopath in the White House

How I Intend to Survive This — And You Can Too.

One of the perils of being politically plugged-in is the personal price exacted for having that kind of knowledge constantly swirling around in one’s head, even while asleep.

A few months ago, a sense of foreboding over the fascist specter of Trump began to settle in on my spirit. Although I was still producing essays on politics and public policy, it became increasingly difficult to hit “publish.” Writing about municipal finance, fiscal and social policies, legislation, and campaign shenanigans seemed unimportant in the face of our looming national crisis.

Aficionados of the television show The West Wing may recall the episode in which press secretary C.J. Cregg upbraids her coworkers for obsessing on the minutia while they were teetering on the precipice of utter catastrophe — likening it to Butch and Sundance “peering over the edge of a cliff to the boulder-filled rapids below, thinking you better not jump because you might drown.” Cregg said:

“It’s the fall that’s gonna kill you.”

That’s the fear that had slithered its way into the very core of my being — it weighed like a cold, heavy stone on my chest. The electorate was falling for a sociopath, and nothing I said or wrote about was going to change that. Who cares about what PAC spent money on whatever issue, or whichever lawmaker was fighting the scourge or virtue of this public policy or that?  If a fascist was about to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — none of it mattered anymore.

The cold stone grew heavier. I was having palpitations.

Two weeks ago, I went to a walk-in clinic with a headache and over-sized heartbeats. My typically normal blood pressure (120/75) was now at 150/96. They sent me straight to the emergency room. Upon arrival I clocked-in at 199/106.

A visit to the special cardiac section of the ER involves many intense-looking people wielding numerous needles, vials, and enough monitors that the patient looks like they’ve just lost a desperate struggle with a tangle of Christmas tree lights.

It’s called a “hypertensive crisis.” Try not to have one. They are often associated with heart attacks and strokes. Mine though, seems to have been associated with the Republican’s toxic nominee.

So, now my worst fear has proven all too real. I was among the 60 million progressive American voters who were shoved over that cliff on Nov. 8, 2016.

But, we didn’t die on the rocks below.

We are hurting badly, yet we will survive to fix this.

I saw a good many of my fellow walking-wounded yesterday. They were at the bank, the restaurant where I had lunch, but the most shell-shocked among them were those middle-aged white women, like myself, that I encountered in the aisles of T.J.Maxx. (Okay, it’s a weird indulgence of mine — I go there often, really to just wander about looking at random and mindless things, particularly when I need to think. The 20-minute drive to-and-from is also spent reflecting — frequently about the politics of the day.) The home-dec section was bustling with dozens of women picking-up objects, considering them, and putting them back. Their carts were empty — just props to lean on in their confusion and despair. They, like me, were desperately grasping for an elusive sense of normalcy.

I did make a purchase. It’s a ceramic star-shaped knick knack — for me, a talisman intended to heal my broken spirit.

At the check-out, I was assisted by a kind man in his early twenties. He inquired of my plans for the sunny day. I replied that was the only good thing about the day — the sunshine, and he hinted with raised brow “Some retail therapy?” Yes.

Also on my daily rounds, I found myself more intensely scrutinizing those individuals who looked suspiciously like Trump voters. No, that’s not mean-spirited to imply someone might possess telltale signs of appearing to be of a particular political persuasion. In the past, while canvassing door-to-door, we used to play a game: Democrat or Republican? Beside the obvious signs like bumper stickers and flags, we’d look for other subtle tells — silk flower wreaths with kitschy placards = Republican, unchecked dandelions and uncoiled garden hoses = Democrat. We had a list that usefully proved accurate once the homeowner opened the door and expressed how they intended to vote.

I contemplated the older gentleman at the table across from mine at lunch — he was a toss-up, until he slung a backpack over his shoulder when he departed.

Surely, I’m not alone in casting an eye of suspicion at fellow citizens, as if in some sci-fi movie, trying to determine if they’re one of us, or the embodiment of evil in human flesh. Okay, with few exceptions, they are not truly sinister, but their poor judgment will assuredly visit a certain hell on this fine nation. And I blame them.

As for those third-party voters — sure, they fucked-up. But only millennials get a pass on this one. They’re entitled to a learning curve, and they will certainly do just that — the hard way. I am confident they will rise-up and make this a better nation just as every last stupid, angry old white male turns toes-up over the next decade.

However, for those Stein/Johnson voters in their middle years — they knowingly enabled the potential destruction of our country over their precious “conscience.” As it turns out, their vote really was one for Trump. Shame on them.

We survived the fall — now it’s time to swim.

Me, I have an important piece to finish writing (and publish) on the looming municipal fiscal debt crisis in Michigan.

DSCN0444Amy Kerr Hardin

Update: I offer this article to the gentleman who is plaguing my comment box, and violating my no ad hominem attack rule.



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26 Responses to A Bad Moon Has Risen — A Sociopath in the White House

  1. Jeanie Confer says:

    Seems I was not alone in my experience. Thanks for expressing with pen what I felt.

  2. Thomas Fellows says:

    Thank you. I, like many others, are still hoping our dog will jump on our head and wake us from this nightmare to let us know they need to go out and pee. I am doing my best to hold it together. Keep writing, keep informing; America has survived much worse than this in our 240 year history.

  3. Susan Harvey says:

    My God! You nailed my very reaction, except for the vomiting.(no kidding). Somehow I feel comforted by this. Thanks for the encouraging tone, as well.

  4. Chris says:

    I couldn’t sleep last night. My thoughts were racing and and there seemed I just could not turn off the anger, angst, and sorrow that so many millions of people were willing to overlook trump’s deep, dangerous and highly disturbing chatter flaws. You cannot change someone who suffers from a character disorder. It is a shame his parents did not practice birth control.

    • Karyn McQuiggan says:

      I love your response and totally agree. The fact that so many were incapable of seeing him for what he truly is just defies logic. I’ve been sick to my stomach for two days and unable to focus my attention on much of anything. He is so mentally unstable that it scares the hell out of me. He is the ultimate Narcissist Sociopath who could care less about the people of this country. This was just the biggest prize he could win to stroke his ego. This goes against how I was raised and the morals I believe in but I will NEVER respect or accept him as the POTUS.

  5. DR says:

    Same here, as a middle aged female, I have never felt so raped as I have recently.

  6. Sherry langdon says:

    Thank you for bravely sharing your thoughts and response to a terrifying new reality we are about to embark on. Like you, I and many of my friends are walking around in a zombie like state of despair and disbelief. Our country is in peril and we need to grieve, and then work like hell to restablish our values and reputation as a compassionate and loving people, to honor our Constitution, and to ensure that he is a one term president.

  7. Sara says:

    I wandered in World Market yesterday. Still having trouble focusing. I work a while, then find a way to vent a little, then go get some fresh air. And repeat.

  8. Bk Hartley says:

    The sad thing is….Trump supporters would not listen….They kept their head in the toilet and just kept flushing with Fox Noise!! Just wait when we are in another war and the economy is in the toilet…..Will they keep flushing or will they finally….pull their heads out? Unfortunately, it will be too late!!

    • Maureen Reek says:

      They are the same people who voted in the extremist right wing congress. They will blame all of the problems Trump brings on Obama. They have no shame . We must encourage our Democrats in Congress and Senate to seek revenge such as they did on Obama.

  9. Suzanne Zwerling says:

    You are a younger me.If your mom is busy, I will fill in.It hurts.Today I had to sit on my tongue, as I rode with a dear old friend who is all about “him” until I said change the subject.

    A year ago we agreed not to broach this subject. What will happen,what will I do ?You with children at home have to prepare for having answers .

  10. Cathetine Hildebrand says:

    In Canada, I felt nothing but disbelief! I love travelling in the States; the theatre, galleries and sheer energy of New York City draws me back over and over again. Trump just doesn’t factor into this equation.

  11. patricia barrette says:

    Thank you for your writing. So truthful and helpful for me in this painful time.

  12. patricia barrette says:

    Thank you for your beautifully truthful words. It helps me to know you can write so well for us.

  13. Lee Poma says:

    Thank you! I spent all night of the election and all the next day sick to my stomach. I am now more than ready to bust my ass for the next election to take him out! I will do everything i can do to elect someone I can be proud of!

  14. Christine says:

    You are a wonderful writer. I also feel the heavy chest feeling and anxiety ridden body that I can’t seem to shake without proper meds. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this wonderful essay.

  15. Denise says:

    I want to thank you so much for this article you wrote. I was at the supermarket today and was basically doing the same thing. I was sizing people up and in a way I’ve never have before I felt really guilty about it but I couldn’t help it.

    I remember how it felt when Al gore lost to Bush I was annoyed and maybe for a day I was sort of pissed off but I got over it really quickly shrugged my shoulders and said to myself it’s okay we will get our turn in the next election. Now don’t get me wrong I felt at the time and still fill in Bush was really bad for our economy and it gave me much more appreciation that Obama got us as far as he did.

    But this feels so different the only comparison to the amount of grief I’m feeling is how I felt the day after the attacks on 9/11, only it’s worse because the attack on our democracy came from fellow Americans.

    At the grocery store the only faces I felt I could trust were the ones that looked sad and/or in shock like me.

  16. Marie says:

    I felt like it was a death. I went for groceries and walked aimlessly around the store. Didn’t want to go home and watch any news. But I did watch her concession speech and bawled my eyes out! Your article lets me know there were so many of us feeling the same despair!

  17. Christy says:

    I’ve been in shock. I even blamed my husband for voting McMullen in a solid red state where it would make absolutely zero difference. I cried and screamed. And I’m sure I’ll cry some more. But I do know one thing for sure I do know that I will be doing something when mid terms roll around. In the meantime, I will not allow the news to be on a 24/7 feed in my house. And I will be donating to the ACLU.

  18. Mary Simmons says:

    I went to sleep with the TV on to the election coverage. I woke up when they said President Trump. The only way to describe my feelings were a death of someone or something I loved. The next day I did the only thing that helped. I cried. God give us the strength to get up and fight.

  19. Bob Moras says:

    My response this article I just read, by the author, that suffered a “hypertensive crisis” that required a trip to the emergency room, after election results made Donald Trump our next President.

    “I read this article yesterday and had to let it sink in before commenting on it, as well as some other articles relative to liberal reactions to the election of Donald Trump.
    Let us begin with some of the protests ongoing in several of our major cities. Here are some of the things going on there. A man that voted for Trump was beaten by 5 individuals for exercising his constitutional right to vote for the candidate of his choice. Colleges across the land are offering students, of the liberal persuasion, time off to recover from the shock of the last election result. Liberal Protesters are vandalizing and destroying the property of others as a means of expression for having someone elected other than their choice. Others have chronicled by means of a video, defecating in a public place, surrounded by their fellow protesters, using their bare hands to pick up the feces and smearing it on Trump Signs. And you now chronicle your own “hypertensive crisis”. And all the while, you are vilifying those that voted for Donald Trump and wondering how they could be so obtuse because they do not share the values of the Liberal Establishment of America.

    Jesus, Mary & Joseph woman, can you not see by what I have just illustrated, why? If that is not enough, let me give you a few more reasons. Some of us still believe in the sovereignty of the United States. Many of us served our country to ensure this sovereignty. We do not want open borders, nor do we believe in globalism. You may differ in those opinions, but in America, we each have a right to how we feel our country should continue its history.
    There are also those of us that object to the toppling of regimes far from our shores, in a futile effort to force Democracy on nations that have been fighting tribal and religious wars for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Remember Viet Nam? It is now, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. True, Liberal politicians are not solely responsible for that mess, but surely so, for the expansion of it.
    We have fond memories of days when jobs were plentiful and before the Trade Agreements that, to us, may have ben the cause of the loss of that abundant employment. Here again, Liberal policies are not solely responsible for those agreements. But, global policies have been championed by them.
    There are those of us that are weary of being forced to respect religious beliefs different than our own and in having to subjugate our beliefs to do so. We wonder at the mindset that puts an individual in jail for fighting chickens and that allows partial birth abortions. And we wonder how such well educated people can suffer such naivety, as to think we can cure or abolish evil threats to our way of life by a hug or concessions.
    And finally, I wonder how anyone can wonder at the desperation of a part of our society to grasp at any form of change to the direction in which our country is headed, let alone belittle both that desire and the right of those people to seek that out, just because they don’t see the world as you do. To me, that is the height of hypocrisy to what these liberals preach about freedom, choice and democracy. To me, the discovery that intelligence and education can be mutually exclusive, is apparent.
    In closing I want to suggest to you that all will be well. Relax, take a Librium or smoke a doobie. Let this unfold a little and try not to prejudge events into your own heart attack. Try to separate your thinking process from the dogma of political rhetoric, put upon us by the media. And remember, just as with Nixon, impeachment or recall awaits any President that would tend to outrage its society. Try to be as open minded and tolerant of our new president as you are of a religion that believes in honor killing of women or beheads gay individuals. Try to be as accepting of him as you would be of a Liberal candidate that lied to America and sacrificed the lives of its diplomats in Benghazi. Our country and its people will continue to find its way and correct its path, as has been proven over the last 241 years. All it takes is belief in the system that may, at times, allow for a differing view than your own.”

    • Amy Kerr Hardin says:

      There has been talk (mostly among Republicans) of having a “reset” button on Mr. Trump, as if wiping away all the horrible things he has said and done during the course of this campaign and in his ignoble life prior to his latest selfish ambition is a wise and moral choice.

      It’s not.

      No mulligans for this petty actor — posterboy for misogyny, voyeurism, dissemblage, racism, sexism, harassment, xenophobia, narcissism, sociopathy, fascism, incitation to violence, immaturity — all this, among additional loathsome characteristics mixed with a gross ignorance of our nation’s constitution, its laws and history, the functions and contraints of government, and the critical importance of statesman-like behavior in a deeply troubled world.

      He’s an inexperienced braggart and bully, who has nothing of merit to show on his professional resume but a multi-car trainwreck of failures covered-up by blatant obfuscation, all intentionally designed to fool those most vulnerable — those with moral and with mental deficits, or by appealing to the baser insecurities of others who should certainly know better.

      Any person who cast a vote for this fallow semblance of man will soon discover that he will do little more than perhaps initially window dress his legion of corrupt and illegal campaign promises made to those simpletons worshipping at the temple of this lowly charlatan who masks his shortcomings and failures through idiotic “reality” television programming.

      The Republican congress has only just recently embraced him because they now have him at their mercy. They have the power to block any and all promises made to the “working man”, and since Trump has displayed a remarkable intolerance for being revealed as the miserable failure he truly is, he will do as they say, and swallow the crumbs. Last night’s hastily retracted and reworded Tweet is just a harbinger of the puppet he is destined to become while in office. The bit, bridle, blinders are being fitted as I write this.

      They are going to eat his lunch, while he keeps up the illusion of control.

      Trump has no clue about basic checks and balances, and the limits on executive authority. Sure, they will throw him a bone or two during the first 100 days, while the GOP secures it’s appointments and agenda, then the jig is mostly up.

      His supporters will be saying: “Hey where are all the new jobs?” “What happened to my healthcare?” And, “Why are there still brown people here?”

      Naturally, they will blame President Obama. And they will lash-out at fellow citizens — likely with an escalation of the Trump-animated abuse that’s already been widely reported since Tuesday.

      Trump is no patriot, and neither are his supporters. They voted for a man that promised them things which he doesn’t intend to deliver, and couldn’t do so even if he cared. He just wanted to be president, like a big boy.

      At most, his handlers will indulge him in a show of false strength through his continued hate-mongering mixed-in with some conciliatory language. But, they will teach him the code language spoken among so many of his supporters until a few days ago, after which they started to openly display their bigotry towards those not like them. Trump’s election empowered the most base and vile segment of our society.

      And at very least, the GOP will allow impeachment to proceed — welcoming President Pence as one of their own.

      The press, which for the most part, gave him free advertising for a solid year and a half, and took nothing but abuse, including lone-wolf calls against reporters he didn’t like, will simply love watching and reporting on him twisting in the wind.

      Our nation is so much better than this horrible retrograde clownish excuse for a leader.

      Any person who invokes the high moral ground of religion in the advancement of this craven embodiment of earthly evil, is sick of mind and heart.

      We aspire to improve upon where we are today — not go backward. So says a majority of the electorate — as of just this past Tuesday.

  20. Pat Hettinger says:

    I have several friends and acquaintances who voted for Trump, and were for him from the start! We had a few discussions as to why they felt the way they do! They had excuses for every wrong doing of his, and even said they didn’t care what he did, he was going to make America great again! Now, I cringe meeting these people for the first time after the election! They will be gloating, and saying, we told you so! And these are all intelligent women, or I thought they were! Well, I’m not going to say a word about the election, until they bring it up! And when and if they do, I will just say that their wish came true, but now they and all of us have to suffer the consequences of the biggest mistake in history! And when what he creates starts to take away their liberties, then I will speak, and say, “I Told You So” !

  21. Leo Regulus says:

    People who voted for The Donald are not fully to blame. You nailed it in your article title, ‘A Sociopath in the White House’.
    (IMHO) Professionals in the field (Psychologists, Sociologists, Police, Lawyers, and Personnel Managers etc.) are continuously ‘snowed’ by sociopaths. Significant diagnostic testing used to be the only real way to unmask these severely damaged human beings. In my time, it was the Minneapolis Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
    Since before and reinforced by the Presidential Debates, my gut reaction is that (1)I want all of these people drug tested BEFORE the debate – just like Olympic Athletes; and (2) I want to hear Dr. Phil’s interpretation of their MMPI.
    These folks are vying for the most important job in the world. We NEED this.
    Thank you.

    • Dooley Jones says:

      The fault lies not in our stars, or in a bad moon rising; but lies in a meddling Right Wing
      bureaucrat who heads Hoover’s FBI.
      May his nights be one unending nightmare, until his final day, when they slam shut the lid on his box.

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