Trump Derangement Syndrome
How Perceptual Manipulation Is Creating the Divided State of America
I want to preface this rather loaded article by saying that I am a Canadian citizen and thus had no "skin in the game" in the 2016 presidential election. However, I feel the pain of friends in the US and want to offer some observations and ways to bridge the chasm that has been created.
I intend to use the concept of "Trump Derangement Syndrome," abbreviated in this article as TDS for convenience, to highlight some interesting things about the human psyche and society as a whole.
The most recent example of TDS I can think of is when my social media feed was flooded with the claim that the president had referred to undocumented immigrants as "animals."
It didn't take much research to find out that he was referring to the violent criminal gang MS13 rather than undocumented immigrants in general. I leave readers to research that for themselves.
This instance of TDS was generated by a false portrayal of the incident by members of the media and perpetuated by people who did not bother to dig into the issue and the greater context for themselves.
This actually hurts any attempt to attack or smear the president. In the short term, it creates a wave of TDS that generates animosity, disbelief, and even hatred. In the long run, it ends up looking worse on the media than it does on Trump, and people are more apt to distrust similar stories.
The goal of any political smear campaign is simply to convince as many people as possible that the person in question is the "bad guy."
If the media that are doing the convincing end up getting caught in a lie themselves, it ends up having the opposite effect on readers and viewers.
People realize that their perceptions are being manipulated through sensationalism and emotion and they begin to wake up and start doing deeper research in order to clarify the issues for themselves.
I noticed a very interesting trend when this example of TDS first hit my news feed. Initially, I found people simply putting the "angry emoji" button and saying things like, "He has to go!" or, "Impeach now!"
A few days later, people were posting similar articles alleging that the president had called undocumented immigrants "animals."
This time, there was comment after comment clarifying that he was referring to the gang MS13. Enough people had researched the broader context of Trump's comment and had the courage to stand up against the seemingly authoritative statement in their news feed.
This isn't even about being pro-Trump, anti-Trump, or anything else. It is simply about understanding how reality is not always as it seems and that the media is more politically motivated than we might like to admit.
President Trump is simply a convenient figure to demonstrate how human perception can be so easily manipulated. TDS didn't exist until the mainstream media began generating it.
This wouldn't even be so much of a divisive problem if there was a better solution being proposed. Unfortunately, so much of TDS seems to be about negativity for its own sake.
What is needed now more than ever in the United States of America and the world at large is to wake up to a common solution beyond the media, beyond politics, and beyond polarized perception.
The grassroots level is where positive change will take place. It is the individual effort we make to love and empower ourselves that will make a difference in our communities and our greater society.
Rather than being absorbed in the news, why not create good news? We don't need anyone telling us what reality is because we all have the power and ability to create a better reality on the local level.