In my life before law school, I was a licensed mental health counselor. One of the lessons we learned in our masters program was that anger is almost always a secondary emotion for sadness or fear. If a client came into my office and was fuming mad, it usually meant they were sad or scared.
Do you read Donald Trump’s tweets? Have you read them since he took office? He seems to be spewing anger, which I think is a sign of his own insecurities and fears. (It doesn’t surprise me that his actions and statements have led to accusations that he has a micropenis; he seems to be excessively compensating for something. It’s so over-the-top.) Looking at his tweets just since January 20, 2017, I produced a list of things he appears to be afraid of:
- New York Times
- Washington Post
- Barack Obama
- Chicago â€“ or being murdered
- Mexico â€“ or being labeled as someone who can’t keep their campaign promises
- Chelsea Manning â€“ or people who will expose his secrets
- Anyone who isn’t a U.S. citizen
- Anyone who voted against him
- Celebrities who oppose him
Looking at this list, I wonder if Donald Trump is afraid of the Constitutional rights to free speech, assembly, and religion â€“ all of which come down to freedom of thought and expression. I would not be surprised if he’s afraid of anyone he can’t control, especially anyone who might cast him in a bad light.
Reading Trump’s tweets reminded me of the documentary,Â Tough Guise, which examines how boys are socialized in the U.S. and what it means to be a â€œman.â€
This film also examines the impact of race on notions of masculinity and how white men have been in a place of privilege in society for much of American history over women and men with other skin colors. Some white men find moving towards social equality threatening because it means that they will be on equal footing as others whereas the fact that they were born with pale skin and a penis previously gave them an advantage. To them, equality means losing their status, which they find intimidating because it means they have to compete with a larger pool of people. It means losing their advantage.
I would not be surprised if Trump has this mindset â€“ not that I expect him to admit it or be self-aware enough to acknowledge it. I suspect he sees everyone who isn’t like him or does not agree with him as a threat. If he wasn’t in a position of power, I would feel sorry for him. Unfortunately for him, Trump was hired for a temp job and the American people are his boss. We have an obligation to continue to corral and correct him, regardless of how many tantrums his throws on social media.