I worked with a few older, white, misogynistic, ill-informed, amoral, racist, conspiracy theory loving, less qualified, cruel surgeons when I trained. They were privileged, white males so they failed up and because they were a product of an older time their misogyny and racism was sadly not that different from the background. Their privilege was either from money, a 2nd or 3rd son who was not going to get the family business so being a doctor was a good option that brought respect and wealth which they deserved. Sometimes their privilege was a respected physician father, so basically if they spelled their name correctly on the application they got into medical school. Some of these men were competent surgeons (you can teach anyone with basic manual dexterity to physically operate) and others were not. The ones who were technically not proficient were covered by residents, medical students, nurses, and even other surgeons. There was a time that being a man was the only requirement for a job and this was not unique to medicine.
Some of these asshole (because that is the best summary of the litany of character flaws) surgeons may well have had mental health issues. I suspect some drank too much and others may have had anxiety or depression, but their mental health issues did not make them cruel or racist or drive them to pinch my ass. Their character, or lack thereof, and upbringing did that. Yes, they were grandiose, but every person who thinks they are better than they are is not manic. Delusions don’t make you racist, being a racist does.
I have also worked with a few older, white, male surgeons who clearly had mental health issues. One had PTSD from war service and a couple who seemed pretty clearly to have bipolar disease. These men were kind, and tolerant, and skilled surgeons who did not pinch bottoms. One of them specifically lectured us on treating every hospital employee, from cleaning person to Chief of Staff with the same level of respect.
Mental health disorders and character are very different things, something many people seem to forget in their desire to explain Trump’s behavior.
It is not possible to Diagnose a Mental Disorder Remotely
While somethings can be diagnosed with a degree of certainly by observation, mental health conditions cannot. The ethics of playing remote diagnostician aside, no one impaired medically enough to be disqualified from the Presidency by any health issue could get through televised debates and addressing congress so just let it go.
Don’t confuse ignorance and self-importance and racism with mental health conditions
Trump has false beliefs, but not because he is delusional because he is surrounded by sycophants and gets his information from Breitbart and Fox News. He’s wearing blinders on purpose because it is convenient. My dad is a hydro-electric engineer and doesn’t believe in global warming (sun cycles or something). My dad also doesn’t want to believe in global warming and so never reads anything except articles that support his bias. My dad is willfully misinformed, not delusional.
Trump is grandiose for sure, but he is not unrealistically powerful or important. He is also ostentatious with vulgar tastes. His brand is extreme. Nothing he does or says is out of character.
Trump has a long history of racism that predates his run for office. Brushing that off as a mental health condition is not only insulting and stigmatizing to those with mental health conditions,
What about a personality disorder?
“He’s a classic narcissistic personality disorder!” I hear that all the time. One has to be distressed and impaired and of course if one manages to get through debates and an election and get to be President one isn’t impaired in the way the criteria mean. Don’t believe me? That’s what the doctor who wrote the criteria says as well.
Lots of people are narcissists, but that doesn’t make them impaired it just means they have an elevated sense of self. I suspect that trait is common in Washington.
There is no DSM-V for privileged, asshole, ignorant, racist, cruel, misogynistic, short-tempered, self-centered, anti semitic, xenophobic, dictator aspiring, con man.
Explaining Trump’s behavior with a mental health diagnosis is insulting to those who truly have those conditions. It is also the ultimate in white male privilege. Imagine, people saying you can’t be as bad as you clearly are because of a health condition beyond your control! No one thought Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server was because she had a narcissistic personality disorder, it was because she was wrong, had poor judgement, or was #crooked.
Talking about Trump’s imagined mental health issues detracts from his policies, appointments, racism, fascism, and complete lack of preparation for office. Trump is our Barnum, so this distraction suits his agenda.
There are lots of people like Trump and they represent the Pandora’s box of humanity’s ills, but they are not psychiatrically unwell.
Yes, Trump is unqualified to be president. Not because of his mental health, he is simply unqualified.