The Madness of King Donald

There is something becoming very apparent that should be very, very alarming to the populace of the US. The king is mad. 

Madness in US leaders is not uncommon. 

What is madness? It can be loosely defined as a mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior and outbursts of rage. Hhhmmmmm!

Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, who runs the Mood Disorders Program at Tufts Medical Center in BostonGhaemi came to that conclusion after studying the lives and medical records of many great leaders and found that quite a few US leaders had some form of mental illness.

Abraham Lincoln was often described as suffering from melancholy, a condition which modern mental health professionals would characterize as clinical depression. Perhaps the most striking evidence of mental trouble in Abraham Lincoln’s family comes from the paternal side of his family. His great-uncle once told a court of law that he had “a deranged mind.” His uncle Mordecai Lincoln had broad mood swings, which were probably intensified by his heavy drinking. And Mordecai’s family was thick with mental disease. 

Andrew Jackson was an aggressive wielder of the president’s hitherto unused veto power. He stopped Congress from spending money on new roads or canals, prevented the re-charter of the Bank of the United States,  and whatever political challenge he faced, his language was hyperbolic. “You are a den of vipers and thieves,” he wrote to the directors of the Bank of the US, “I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out”. When he left office, the country was plunged into the deepest recession anyone could remember. John Adams saw Jackson as a profane, unprincipled demagogue; a would-be tyrant in the Napoleonic mode; a man with no respect for the checks and balances of the Constitution or the rule of law. Again:  Hhhmmmm! 

Warren G Harding has a historical reputation marred by the scandals that beset his administration. Not even Harding’s biggest supporters would have called him intelligent or knowledgeable about the world. But what marked Harding as a failure and ensured his place at or near the bottom of almost every modern scholars’ survey of ‘best’ and ‘worst’ presidents was the abiding sense that he was simply out of his depth in the White House.

Richard Nixon was an unusually hated politician long before Watergate, and the basic problem was his insecure, narcissistic, paranoid personality. As the gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson once put it, Nixon “represents that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise”.

James Buchanan posed as the man who could heal the wounds and steady the ship of state. In fact, almost every decision he took made things worse. He colluded with the Supreme Court’s horrific Dred Scott decision in 1857, which ruled that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from any US territory since it would be tantamount to seizing the legitimate ‘property’ of slaveholders. His decision making was so bad and so dramatic that it helped to destroy the main political party, the Whigs, and create another: the antislavery Republican Party.

General William Sherman was removed from command because of concerns that he was insane.  He experienced a manic episode with paranoid delusions. Episodes of severe depression dominated his life along with occasional suicidal thoughts.

 Martin Luther King Jr knew what it meant to be maladjusted, psychologically, because he was not normal, psychiatrically. He had multiple periods of severe depression, and twice made suicide attempts as a child. Near the end of his life, some of his staff tried to get him into psychiatric treatment, but he refused. But, King was a great leader of men!

General George Patton had dyslexia; a reading and writing disorder that made academics difficult for him. A common trait of dyslexics is low self-esteem, which Patton suffered from his entire life. He had a bipolar disorder, though the condition wasn¹t recognized at the time. He had a reputation for bullying and bad-mouthing superiors or anyone who was critical of his decisions.

Mental illness is not a modern problem. Throughout history, there have been leaders suffering from various forms of this insidious disease. Mental illness does not make a bad leader. However, mental illness can make a bad leader a horrible leader. 

Got any comments or conflicting opinions? I would love to hear from you. Contact me through Pippies or through my website.

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I grew up in New Zealand and up until I left, a genuine Kiwi. I moved to the Land of OZ (Australia) when I was 22 where I worked until moving to New Guinea. A year and a half of working in sweltering tropical heat was enough for me and I moved back to NZ. Suffering from wandering feet, I emigrated to Canada in 1969, living and working in Vancouver with some time spent working in a mine in Northern BC. After a short spell in Vancouver, I moved to California where I enjoyed surfing and the CA lifestyle.  After 6 months of the good times, I moved back to Vancouver where I ended up getting married,  settled down, fathered 3 great kids who  in turn have provided me with two wonderful grandchildren. In my working life, I have been a mechanic, a welder, an auto dealership owner, a TV producer, production manager,  marketing and sales management, an insurance specialist, owned my own insurance agency, and ran my own business consulting agency for the last 8 years. Combined with this trade, I have been writing short stories, a half dozen children's books, two film scripts, numerous business, and marketing plans, blogging and writing online articles, and generally having fun. I love writing and love feedback, good or bad - or indifferent. I love researching, learning, reading, good conversation, debating, and challenges. My hobbies are sailing, playing the guitar, reading, green travel and genealogy. What is the most important thing in my life?  Family and the environment.     
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