After a heated debate at dinner the other night with my in-laws over the merits of the potential Trump/Russia collusion, it hit me later that night… Why does Trump illicit such visceral hatred from those who oppose him? Similarly, why was I getting so heated supporting the claim that there is no Russian collusion? After all, whether you hate Trump or like him, the vast majority of us have never met him! How bizarre is it that political figure heads of the right and left trigger such passions in us that run so deep. Even though most of us have never met Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton they somehow have wounded us personally. Normal feelings of political disagreement have moved to outright hatred. Instead of yesteryears response, “I don’t care for their politics,” it has now soared into, “F%&k Trump!,” followed by “Trump makes me feel such rage that I must see a counselor,” or “Hillary makes me want to scream she is so corrupt and arrogant,” followed by “lock her up!” All this directed toward people we have never and will never meet. While there is indeed much legitimate blame to go around for both of these characters, they don’t deserve the colossal disdain that we have given them, well maybe Hillary does, i kid i kid. I personally can’t stand her but ill get into the reason for that in bit.

As much as each side does not want to admit it, they are both human beings. The very fact that I have had to remind people that Trump is still a human being several times in political “conversation” is telling. The very fact that I have had to rebuke someone for calling for the death of the entire Trump family is further example of this hatred. And this is the point of my post: we have dehumanized Trump and Hillary to such an extent that they are to blame for everything, somehow past, present and future wounds. They have become projections of our pain. Projections of our past wounds from the opposite sex perhaps. Projections of our negative or positive view on masculinity and femininity. Merriam-Webster’s defines projection asthe attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects especially the externalization of blame, guilt, or responsibility as a defense against anxiety. Projection has become a popular term as of late to describe an aspect of the political landscape. Some political pundits have pointed out this phenomena in the area of dealing with discrimination, the more you focus on racism and discrimination the more you see it everywhere and in everyone, real or imagined. People are somehow trying to exorcise any bit of discrimination left in themselves by calling other people racist, and as we have seen apparently everyone is racist now. 

But the area of projection that fascinates me is how it relates to Trump and Hillary and how it is connected with our past experiences. We are all living in reaction to our own stories. Good, bad or indifferent our experiences with different kinds of people over the years shapes how we will react in the future. For example, if you had a very domineering egotistical father, you will react negatively towards men that remind you of those characteristics and some times on the extreme end, men in general. If you had a very controlling domineering mother you will react negatively towards women who remind you of those same characteristics or women in general. This is what I am getting at when it comes to Trump and Hillary, they represent our negative experiences with certain personality types. That is why i believe they trigger such intense hatred. Trump reminds men and women of that egotistical father they had that was abusive or distant. Hillary reminds men of their mother that just never stopped trying to control and boss other people in the family around. In my view, It all comes back to the lack of respect that people received from a mother or father or authority figure. These negative experiences marked some of us for life. For example, I have told many people half-jokingly that Hillary reminds me of that awful librarian from high school that always seemed to be catching me doing something that she perceived as “insubordination.” What a word right? Was I insubordinate? Who knows, but I certainly never forgot that look of scorn she gave me and consequently from any other women since. These experiences I am willing to admit, somehow, have been a part of my disdain for Hillary Clinton. There are many things one could mention, from her unlawful servers in her basement to the Clinton Foundations stealing millions from the people of Haiti, yikes! But my dislike for her probably first started when she reminded me of that awful librarian. The same goes for Trump. From his un-presidential tweets to paying hush money to porn stars, he is triggering a few people out there for sure. But whoever you are, I believe you made up your mind about these two people long before the media told you what to believe about them. Hillary and Trump are a lot of things to be sure, but they are not a worthy place to project our pain. In a sense, they don’t deserve our hate, our pain needs to be channeled into a place of healing, not a place of projection. Lets forgive those pre Trump and Hillary people in our lives and then we might be able to see them for who they truly are. What that is i am not exactly sure, but at least we might be able to see straight next time a political conversation comes up at dinner.