Despite holding a degree in Political Science, I don’t always enjoy reading books about American political leaders. However, this particular book caught and held my attention. It was the perfect blend of the technicality of the field of psychiatry, and the emotional world of activism.
This book centers on the analysis of 27 psychiatrists who diagnose 45 with a range of illnesses including narcissism (of course we all knew this). However, they make a very interesting point. It does not take a psychiatrist to identify that 45 has multiple mental illnesses, diagnosed or undiagnosed. They do not argue that mental illnesses by default make a person unfit to be president, as indicated in the fact that previous U.S. presidents have struggled with mental illnesses and have completed terms. However, they note that the combination of mental health issues that plague 45 are problematic for the entire country. To name a handful: his continuous outlandish lying; his contradictory statements; his aggressive behavior; his sociopathic tendencies; and his inability to hold a thought. All of this, the American populous can easily identify through public platforms (e.g., television, social media). Given the public knowledge regarding the mental health of 45, it is a surprise that he was still voted into office.
Despite the knowledge of his shortcomings, the authors recognize that 45 is not their “patient” per se, rather, their “patients” are individuals who voted for him. It’s quite the plot twist. The authors aim to better understand, why people made the conscious decision to elect a man who executes irrational and unstable behaviors into the highest office in the nation. Thomas Singer asserts that this is due to the “woundedness at the core of the America group Self,” with 45 offering an avenue through which the wounds can begin to heal. This possibility, makes his supporters overlook his mental state, and many may even deem him as being normal despite the obvious red flags.
This book will certainly be a hot topic of debate in the coming months as people strive to better understand how in the world a man like 45 was elected.