Chickens Crossing Roads

Years ago, I received a humorous email containing made-up answers to the classic question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

My favorite was attributed to FBI Agent Fox Mulder of the X-Files: “You saw the chicken cross the road with your own eyes!  How many more chickens have to cross the road before you believe it?”

On that note. . .

This week CNN commentator Stephen Collinson published a description of Donald Trump’s behavior during a photo-op with the Prime Minister of Ireland.  Of that performance, Collinson said, “A historian 100 years hence could pull the tape of the 16-minute tour de force and learn everything they needed to know about the Trump presidency.”

The article, which you can read in its entirety here,  is a description of observed behavior and is complimentary about Trump’s “irrepressible energy of a force of nature personality, . . . refusal to accept a loss and . . . instinctive reflex to seek a new opening.”

But it also uses the following phrases to describe the current occupant of the White House:

  • “Willingness to trample the truth for his own benefit”
  • “A selfish streak for which friend[s] sometimes pay the price”
  • “A shockingly casual way of talking about. . . violence”
  • “Refusal to show weakness or humility”
  • “Relentless temperament”
  • “Indifference to shame”
  • “Indifference or rude disregard for [others]”
  • “Expert[ise] at trivializing and belittling opponents”
  • “A sense that he is being persecuted unfairly”

There it is.  “Everything you need to know about the Trump presidency.”

Collinson was not trying to make a case for Trump’s mental unfitness for office.  He was simply describing the behaviors that he observed.

And yet, what he produced is a stunningly accurate list of the traits of a person with psychopathic or sociopathic personality disorder

Go back and compare it to the actual list of traits associated with psychopathology.  I’m not asking you to make a medical diagnosis.  I’m just asking you to acknowledge that there’s a chicken crossing a road.  You can do that.  I have faith in you.

There is one trait on the list that Collinson did not mention but that Trump displays all the time – difficulty using abstract language.  He is a phenomenally effective speaker when he’s riffing in front of his base.  But when he attempts to speak on anything that requires knowledge and even a modest dab of gravitas, we get this:

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the most powerful person on earth.

And remember, that kind of speech isn’t just lazy or goofy.  It’s a telltale sign of psychopathology.

There is a psychopath in the White House.  You saw it with your own eyes.  You see it every day.  How many more chickens have to cross the road before you believe it?

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