The Psychological Meaning Of The Trump Presidency 1

Social Media and Technology

The dissociation via social media and technology that allows and condones bullying, harassment and such human disconnection that it has become all too common to end relationships, romantic or otherwise, over texts, is both profoundly ironic and profoundly sad. The potential of technology to unite us is enormous and in many ways, it has united us. But there is also a sinister underbelly to technology. We’ve created toys that we are obviously not always mature enough to play with. With Twitter, as exhibited by our new president, one is able to make any unsubstantiated, false, cruel or hyperbolic statement without having to be physically present for reaction and feedback. In this way, Twitter can become the tool of cowards. It can also become a tool for heroes and liberation as witnessed by the Arab Spring. It depends on who is doing the tweeting and their level of maturity and consciousness.

The psychological impact of technology and social media is that it breaks down barriers. This is both the good and the bad news. We have, in the last 50 years, torn down many barriers that needed to come down. But we have also torn down barriers of decency, modesty, tastefulness, humility, kindness and civility that keep society in moderation and balance. A good deal of this has been accomplished because of technology and social media. We can hide behind our screens in the safety of our bedrooms or kitchens. Many tweets and Facebook posts have been unkind, simplistic and narcissistic long before Mr. Trump took to the form. Technological culture has made it possible for a president of the United States to communicate in 140 characters, information and opinions that at one time required a press conference, a presidential white paper or the fireside chat made famous by FDR. We have become psychologically accustomed and even brain washed into feeling that short, simplistic sound bites of opinions, slogans and the endless repetitions of them are OK and even preferable to longer, more well thought out discourses on important topics. True meaning can rarely be communicated in 140 characters. We set the table for Mr. Trump to run his presidency on Twitter and to “communicate” with his constituency in a manner that we have grown accustomed to. Propaganda can easily take hold in this type of communication style. Nothing has to be explained thoroughly, it just has to be repeated over and over again.

Another aspect of technology’s influence on our psyche comes from an older form; radio, TV and the print media. By allowing ourselves to be pandered to by advertisers on TV and the broadcast media, all trying to sell us something, consumption has become our god. Therefore, say the media, if it sells, it’s OK. We watched, progressive and conservative alike, the recent circus of our electoral process. The more outrageous it became, the more we watched. The more we watched, the higher the ratings. The higher the ratings, the more products sold. And what exactly was fueling all this selling? Hubris, outrageousness, fake news, alternative facts, hyperbole, a virtual war between the sexes and celebrity. We are mesmerized by celebrity, especially outrageous celebrity. Trump didn’t invent celebrity. We have been fascinated for decades, even millennia . He merely cashed in on our addiction.

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If This Time Has Taught Me Anything 

"Know that you are more than your scars. 

Know that every wound that you have healed along the way has taught you what it is to fight back. 

To start again from where you are and with what you've got. 

If this time has taught me anything, it is this: HOPE matters and we cannot live without it. 

The future can be better and can be brighter and we each have it within us to make it so." 

Kevin McCormack






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