Is Trump De­range­ment Syn­drome real?

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - Fr Michael Com­mane

IS there a chance that you might suf­fer from TDS? I never heard of it un­til the Satur­day of the All-Ire­land Kerry-Dublin foot­ball re­play game. Ir­ish-Amer­i­can Alice But­ler Short was in­ter­viewed by Mar­ian Fin­u­cane for ap­prox­i­mately 40 min­utes on the Satur­day morn­ing. She hails from Cahir, Co Tip­per­ary. My head is still spin­ning from the in­ter­view. It was one of those ra­dio mo­ments when it’s close to im­pos­si­ble not to lis­ten.

Ac­cord­ing to Alice I am one of those peo­ple who is af­flicted with Trump De­range­ment Syn­drome (TDS). More or less, any­one who dis­agrees with Trump suf­fers from this mal­ady. She cited peo­ple who dis­agree with his tweets or any words that flow from his mouth as TDS suf­fer­ers.

‘Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand or know about him be­cause of mis­in­for­ma­tion and lack of un­der­stand­ing.’ She was adamant that there is not a racist bone in his body. Alice re­ferred to ‘fake news’ and said that 85 per cent of the me­dia is against him. She said this: ‘If he walked on wa­ter the pa­pers would say he can’t swim’.

Alice sees how Trump has a good time at his ral­lies and it is at those ral­lies that peo­ple re­alise how bril­liant he is. It is there, she says, that he touches the hearts of peo­ple. She as­sures her lis­ten­ers that Trump was full of love. She ad­mires his strength, his de­ter­mi­na­tion and will­ing­ness ‘to give up the life of a bil­lion­aire to serve his coun­try’.

Her con­ver­sion hap­pened hav­ing at­tended a Con­ser­va­tive Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Con­fer­ence, where she heard Don­ald Trump speak. CPAC is an an­nual meet­ing of con­ser­va­tives from all over the United States. It was founded in 1974. Hav­ing heard Trump speak Alice went home, prayed about it. She quoted a line – ‘He arose from the ashes of his de­spair’ and it was that that told her Trump was her man.

She re­calls how the US was liv­ing in de­spair dur­ing the two terms of Barack Obama’s pres­i­dency and that the coun­try would be in great dan­ger had they elected Hi­lary Clin­ton as pres­i­dent be­cause Amer­ica would turn socialist. She was in­sis­tent that the United States could never be­come a socialist coun­try be­cause of its con­sti­tu­tion and that the coun­try be­lieves in small gov­ern­ment.

Alice kept re­peat­ing the United States is a gov­ern­ment of the peo­ple, by the peo­ple and for the peo­ple and that it is unique in that it is built on ideas. She spoke how Trump has built up the econ­omy and the mil­i­tary. When pressed about the cur­rent level of debt, there was a long pause be­fore she said: ‘We may have, but debt goes up and goes down’.

On the fol­low­ing Mon­day I read Mau­reen Dowd’s ‘New York Times’ col­umn where she talked about Trump be­ing ‘one of the phoni­est peo­ple ever to have walked the earth’. She de­scribes the Trump era as ‘a para­dox wrapped in an oxy­moron about a moron’. These days Trump is call­ing Joe Bi­den ‘Sleepy Joe’.

Can you imag­ine if an Ir­ish bishop, Catholic or Church of Ire­land, ex­pressed sim­i­lar-type views as Alice But­ler Short? I can only imag­ine that it would still be mak­ing news head­lines. The bishop would be con­sid­ered to be daft. A weird un­der­stand­ing of re­li­gion and wacky pol­i­tics can far too eas­ily bring out the worst in us.

On her web­site Ms Short says she is ‘highlighti­ng the in­ter­sec­tion of spir­i­tu­al­ity and pol­i­tics’. The big­gest of rogues try to pass them­selves off as mys­tics. Trump a mys­tic? Strange times in­deed.

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