Decoding Trump Derangement Syndrome

The monsoons in Mumbai are particularly punishing especially when you are the sole occupant of  open-air rickshaw, engulfed in traffic beyond your range of vision. After several minutes, the static traffic began to move, the collective noise of automobile engines to drown every sound in the vicinity.

Suddenly a shrill wail penetrated through, the sort of cry that would cause the most heartless of individuals to shudder. Quite soon, it was discovered that a puppy had surreptitiously crept under a taxi cab to avoid the heavy rains. Everybody stepped out of their cars fearing the worst. Then the taxi driver emerged with the puppy in his arms, fortunately, it was only a minor limb injury.

For devout Hindus, the dog is sacred, the cab driver pledged to nurse the puppy to recovery and even adopt it.  People around tried to console the man who was clearly distraught by the accident. Then a young man in his early twenties rushed through the crowd, pushed his way through to confront the driver.

He began by calling the driver a monster and went on to accuse him of not caring for lives, other than his. for. The taxi driver pleaded forgiveness, asserting that it was an honest mistake. But he didn’t stop, he accused him of trying to ‘murder’ a helpless animal. His voice turned louder as the accusations continued. The taxi driver stood there helplessly.

The young man by then tried to grab the taxi driver by his collar when he was restrained by the crowd, then cursed the driver wishing him a very painful death for ‘harm’ caused.  He then vowed to have the taxi driver ‘punished.’ The police arrived and order was restored.


Several weeks later, on a Friday night, I was at a crowded restaurant with friends discussing politics. As always the discussion devolved into an argument, but before we could even think of raising out decibels, a familiar voice drew everybody's attention. The voice drowned every sound in the noisy restaurant.

Lo and behold it was the same young man, the animal rights activist. This time the dispute was about the meal served. When the server asked him to calm down so they could resolve the matter amicably, he accused him of being ‘inconsiderate.’ Soon the manager arrived at the scene only to be viciously berated by the youth.

Within minutes, an elderly woman hurried toward the scene. She tried to pacify the unruly young man, but to no avail. When she tried to convince the young man that the food served was what she had ordered, and then stepped out for a phone call, his rage reached its peak.

“You never support me, always siding with the other. Enjoy your meal,” bellowed the youth as he darted out of the restaurant.

The elderly woman said she was his mother, profusely apologizing to all. She said her son had a ‘temper problem’ but was ‘a kind soul.’ She paid the bill and left.


It struck me how my perception of the youth with a ‘temper problem’ changed. When he viciously attacked the cab driver over the injured animal, I viewed him from the prism of an individual who had deep compassion for animals. An individual who couldn’t restrain himself because he saw an innocent puppy in pain. I thought his reaction was extreme, but on some level that it was from a good place. But the same behavior replicated at the restaurant showed that the outburst had very little to do with the injured puppy and everything to do with him. It just that he had found a cause to hide behind that gave him license to behave badly

It struck me that this is no different from ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome.. We have seen Trump supporters, sporting MAGA hats, regularly incur the wrath of haters. Trump family members have been verbally attacked in airplanes and spat at in restaurants, Trump cabinet members have been driven out of restaurants, and the list of abominable behavior is endless.

Social media often plays a vital role in unmasking pretenders. In the absence of a pre-approved script and a visible audience, the visceral hate oozes out like septic pus. We have seen many people of ‘eminence’ scoff, scorn and even turn viciously abusive against Trump and his supporters. They have called Donald Trump a traitor, a criminal, a Russian puppet and a con man. They have used expletives and vulgarities. Some have called for a coup, or even have called for Trump’s youngest child to be attacked. They actually wish for assassination. They want to blacklist all Trump supporters, rendering them jobless.

They resemble parasites who attach themselves to any host in order to sustain themselves. These deranged individuals have attached themselves to the host called  ‘The Resistance’ now. The purpose is to earn in their vile behavior a backbone of morality. When people call them out, they say" ‘We are angry because Trump is in office.’ They claim to be ‘custodians of empathy’ whose hearts go out for all the downtrodden whom they claim are being hurt by Trump.

Beyond the glaring limelight, they have been known to leave viciously abusive voice messages for Trump's daughter, threaten her assistant, and even physically attack people around them. The #MeToo movement has exposed many of them as sexual predators, destroying lives and careers and preying mercilessly on the innocent. Equally to blame are those who turned a blind eye toward the predators because they profited from them. So much for their morality and compassion.

Ironically Trump has implemented policies that they claim to stand for, such as criminal justice reform and pulling out of unnecessary wars. His strong economy means that everybody including people from minority groups, whom they claim to champion, are earning more and leading better lives.

The term ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ was coined to explain this irrational and inconsolable rage against Trump. But dig deeper and you find that much like the livid man at the restaurant, these are hateful individuals, and have serious anger management issues and personal problems. It’s just that Trump is the latest target suitable to vent out against with impunity.

If this were just a few loons, the behavior could be ignored. But at the bottom of this is a blatant attempt delegitimize a democratically elected president without any evidence of wrongdoing. A lot of other unstable individuals out there feel empowered to conduct themselves in the most despicable manner because the eminent and prominent are doing it. An example is the shooting of Republican members of Congress by an individual at a softball practice back in 2017. It just takes one individual to opt for an extreme move.

Since the media is largely anti-Trump, the perpetrators know they will get a pass. In fact, CNN did a very favorable interview of an individual who tried to attack Trump at a rally during the primaries in 2016. Most of the rioters who wrought havoc after Trump’s election were euphemistically termed 'protestors.'

In the end, their hate knows no bound. Before Trump came along, their targets were President Reagan, Presidents Bush, Republicans, conservatives, people of faith, pro-lifers and anybody else who disagrees with them. If nothing else, they probably feud viciously among themselves.

To call it ‘Trump derangement syndrome’ only serves to accept their premise that Trump is the cause of their hatred. Their hate is irrational and despicable though, and that is what it should be called.

Graphic credit: Max Pixel

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