The past few weeks have delivered The Regime some setbacks. Two defeats over the Muslim Ban, The hot potato of Trumpcare, Ryancare, or McConnellcare not even needing to be opposed by those on the Left. Imaginary wiretaps and microwave cameras. It’s not going well, which, of course, means that The Regime must say the exact opposite. Up is down, left is right. And 2 + 2 = 5.
You’d think this would motivate those who put this catastrophe in office to get out into the streets to demonstrate their passion for Trump’s policies, and to champion having the Holy Grail of Repealing Obamacare within reach of their tiny fingers. And, there were rallies in the streets. All across America, technically.
Of course the were debates over crowd size. And, the numbers estimated by opposing camps were off by a factor of 4 to 5 times. Like 400 people vs. 2000. Hard not to sarcastically say “sad” or “pathetic”. But, over in the bubble of right-wing media, the emphasis was on the violence against Trump’s supporters.
And, it’s true. There were some fights, and definitely people yelling at one another. But, the numbers matter. For some reason, instead of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousand of people taking to the streets, in the middle of Winter, no less, there were tiny groups here and there, and even less people giving them a hard time. I’d even argue those counter-protesting should probably have just stayed home, or maybe sat on the perimeter giggling.
Then, less than 2 weeks later, Trump heads out again in campaign mode, and we then see thousands of people coming out to see him – in closed rallies where you should, at this point, expect to get your ass beat if you dare to even appear to protest. Or even give them a cross look.
So, I’ve noticed that this seems to be a textbook case of Freudian Projection (or Psychological Projection, attributed conceptually to Freud).
According to Wikipedia:
“Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.”
According to some research, the projection of one’s unconscious qualities onto others is a common process in everyday life.
I have noticed this pattern, which I do agree is a common process in everyday life, all around me. People tend to complain about the thing they are. Frequently.
This, of course, brings me to the topic of the new use of the word Snowflake. It’s supposed to be an insult about a generation of people who don’t seem to be able to handle adversity or criticism, and seek safe spaces. They avoid interacting to have their points of view judged, and this, of course, makes them weak. You are supposed to laugh at Snowflakes for being so week. Ha ha ha. Ha. Ha.
Here’s the thing: When you actually look at the response of Trump supporters since the election, and frankly before the election, it fits their favorite epithet. They avoid the engagement out of fear of being judged. They only gather in places where they can be assured that purity tests will be applied at the gate, or they will be subjected to public peer pressure to pledge allegiance to the leader and his policies. And, the have a hyperbolic paranoid fear that those opposed to them are violent, and they literally think they need high-powered weaponry in order to gather in public.
It’s a classic case of Projection. Trumpian Projection.
And, it’s nothing new. The Babylon Talmud in the year 500 AD (or CE for those offended), they had it all figured out:
“And he who [continually] declares [others] unfit is [himself] unfit and never speaks in praise [of people]. And Samuel said: All who defame others, with their own blemish they stigmatize [these others].”
So, while it’s easy to throw the insult back at Trump supports as quickly as Towlie would declare himself not a Towel, and no, you’re a Towel, I think we all need to try to figure out not just way people have been made to be so afraid of one another, but to hold their hands, and truly empathize with these fears.
I know my history, and I can remember being afraid of the others. I remember being taught to be afraid of Deadhead Hippies who were all on drugs, messed up, and of course, crazy violent. It kept me from going to my first show (technically second) till way too late in my life, leaving me to only catch the tail end of one of the most beautiful scenes in humanity. But, I am blessed to have overcome that fear to find out I actually had great love.
Once we can find that common ground, and I’m quite serious about the human touch hand-holding, because it does help with fear in ways that words simply cannot, to then walk with those for whom we have empathy with (and not for) over to the others that they fear. To meet them, hug them, look them in the eye, and learn to have the same empathy they were once shown.
When we realize that we aren’t being called names, but in fact, we are simply being given the clue to what’s going on in the name-caller’s head, we no longer have to have our own emotional reactions that can lead to escalations. We don’t have to yell. We don’t have to overcome with words, and reason, and articles, and proof. We just need to understand that Freudian Projection is a common and normal psychological condition and clue, and be just a little smarter in our choices once we recognize the pattern.
Trumpian Projection is just a specific form of a common psychology that has existed for ages.
So, go ahead and call me a Snowflake. I care about you, and want you to feel safe too, so we can talk, and walk through this fire together. Both the real and imagined.
Because sometimes there are real dangers, it’s just sometimes they are just out of proportion in our heads because probability hasn’t been factored into the equation. That video is real, it’s just lotto level unlikely to happen to you.
We’ll get there, I swear, if we just let go of our fears.
Photo Credit: Michael Le Roi, Psychedelic Snowflake