Adolescent Arrest Syndrome Rears Its Little Head
Remember what you were like back then?
As the days get longer and the times tougher it has become apparent that Donald Trump is sinking faster and faster into the swamp. His ignorance and selfishness have become more and more glaring, indisputable. To correct this daft, puerile behavior is difficult. We all experienced similar situations in dealing with our children when they were going through those difficult years between the ages of six and eleven.
Kids around that age often can create elaborate, wild and rowdy temper tantrums as a means of encouraging parents to change their ways. A well-meaning family counselor advised parents to first explain to their child why that behavior was faulty strategy in getting down the road. The child would ask in a sneering sort of way, “What do you mean ‘getting down the road’? ” The parent, seeing his duty clear, would explain “the road” to the child and send him to his room, one of the steps on the way to the road.
But Fred and Elizabeth, Donald’s parents, had a hard time pulling off that basic form of punishment. (That was before the euphemism “time out” came into universal usage.) After all, their home had 23 rooms; Donald’s bedroom was one of six. And that little squirt would run from room to room and hide. Once found, and found guilty, Donald denied everything. If one of his playmates was involved, Donald denied even knowing him. They tried everything but nothing worked very well. So they simply ignored him. But Donald became very skilled at getting their attention. Eventually they tried shunning and finally they sent him off to boarding school.
So now we are dealing with Donald, a man in his seventies who might be diagnosed with Adolescent Arrest, which means simply that the subject is stuck in adolescent behavior way beyond adolescence.
Rather than argue about treatment choices, let’s try that ignore this behavior. “Just” is the wrong word to use there, because ignoring a president is not going to be easy no matter who it is. But it must be done.
Since Donald won’t go to his room, we have to be willing to not go to those places he exploits for interviews. We can no longer show up and set up reporters and cameras in the Oval Office, the East room, the James S. Brady Room, the State Dining Room, or the Rose Garden. We just won’t go there. When he goes to that old familiar spot to stand on the lawn or behind a lectern, the press will not be there. There will be no one to lie to, no one to insult and embarrass, no reporters to listen to and note the nonsense, no one to boast and bluster to, no one. He will just be standing there, his hair glued to his head, wondering where everybody went.
When reporters are notified of an upcoming presser, they will no longer respond. There is a lesson embedded in this strategy, but don’t expect Donald to learn it. And that is very okay.
Television and radio networks might fear losing audience, losing viewers and listeners. Losing money? Tough monkeys. Sacrifice of a sort is needed. Changing behaviors is not an easy chore, and one can imagine in these (shall we call them?) dire straits that Trump’s base as well as Melania and the boys will be irate. But things will settle down very soon.
Summer days will shine through and shimmer in warmth. People will gratefully recognize a return to normal, a new normal. And not long after that the elections will give us a new team in the White House, and we will truly be able to make America great again.