Last Tuesday, I watched the debate, knowing it would push all my buttons, which it did.
Afterwards, people were shocked. They asked me what I thought.
I told them what I felt instead. What I feel is compassion, compassion for the people who work in the administration and for his family.
Tuesday night was but a taste of what they live every day.
If you have never experienced this, imagine living with that. Imagine coming to work and knowing that, at any moment, you could be exposed to such violence.
You tell yourself that if you keep your head down, you don’t speak at the table, you do your work, you stay in the private wing, away from the business. If you always dress flawlessly and do exactly what you think he wants you to do, that the violence won’t be directed at you.
You watch it happening to other people and you tell yourself that those people are stupid, that they didn’t know how to handle him, that you are wiser, that it won’t happen to you. The first time it does, you tell yourself it was an aberration, that you slipped up, that it won’t happen again. And then it does.
Or maybe you don’t come into direct contact with it but you watch it happening to those above you. You watch them return from meetings flustered, their hands trembling, shoulders bowed, head shaking, muttering to themselves. You wonder what happened. And then they give you a crazy order. You point out that it’s crazy, they sit a hopeless moment, then throw up their hands and tell you just to do it.
You tell yourself that you have to stay, that those you serve must be protected, that if you don’t stay, they will be exposed to this. So you stay. You learn to keep your head down, not to argue, to just do what you’re told. Getting ready for work in the morning on days you have to see him, you feel physically ill. But you pull on your armor and pick up your sword and ride back into battle again.
When he meets new people or people who have something he wants, you watch him turn on the charm. Tell funny stories, talk about illusory successes. This is what happens in public.
But you know what happens in private.
And one day you can’t do it anymore. You know, when you leave, you will become the scapegoat, the reason that all things have gone wrong. You feel like a traitor, leaving behind your team who will now have to deal with him, and you fear that now the people you serve will recognize that the emperor has no clothes and will despair. But you still have to choose relief.
So yes, what I feel is compassion. Compassion for all the lackeys, who think they’ve found the formula. Remember, Barr, that Cohen and Pascale and Sessions and others all thought the same thing. Remember.
It will happen to you.
For four years, people have speculated that he will change his behavior. That is illusory. He can’t change his behavior; he’s incapable of it. He doesn’t see it as wrong and never will.
He’s a psychopath. This is what they do. They don’t change, they can’t be managed. They can only be contained, isolated, moved to places where they can’t hurt people.
That’s our recourse.