Academics and WaPo: Trump’s Election Causing Disease!
Harvard and the Washington Post say so.
An award-winning writer for the Washington Post thinks if you support Donald Trump you suffer from a “reality discernment malfunction.” She suggests you might have “been ingesting mushrooms plucked from bull dung” or “drinking water spiked with credulity-enhancing chemicals” and that you are one of Trump’s “starry-eyed minions.”
This same woman quotes devout Catholic Walker Percy but pronounces herself frozen in fear of religion because “Reince Priebus said it was a ‘blessing’ to serve the president.”
And then she tells us of the upcoming book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump which is written by “more than two dozen top psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental-health experts.”
This writer says these expert minds “don’t diagnose Trump, which ethically they can’t do without examining the patient.” But then they go ahead and diagnose him as a “complex, if dangerously mad, man.” These mental health experts also discern that Trump’s “mental illness is affecting the nation’s mental health as well.”
Science Says So
Two other mental health experts from Harvard agree with this grim (non) diagnosis.
Writing in the in the New England Journal of Medicine, David R. Williams and Morgan M. Medlock’s “Health Effects of Dramatic Societal Events — Ramifications of the Recent Presidential Election” tells the tale of a nation near its bitter end all because of Trump’s election.
All manner of mental horrors might be wreaked on a sensitive nation, they warn. Like “increased racial hostility.”
How do they know? Williams and Medlock found some black folks “whose ancestors have been in the United States for centuries expressed concerns about a return to slavery or being sent back to Africa.”
President Trump has, so far, mentioned nothing about this. But keep your ears tuned to CNN just in case.
The Harvard pair did discover that “Democrats were more likely than Republicans … to report that the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was a significant source of stress.” Who knew?
We also have to watch for “community-level prejudice.” A study Williams and Medlock noticed revealed “an elevated risk of death from heart disease among both black and white residents of high-prejudice counties.”
But they also admit that these kinds of studies “limit making inferences about causality.” In other words, no one knows why “both black and white residents” have more heart disease in “high-prejudice counties.” It could be a coincidence — or it could be elections of Republicans.
Williams and Medlock also warn of “hostility in the larger environment.” Here, the Harvard duo were right on the money. The election of President Trump led to James T. Hodgkinson gunning for Republicans at a baseball field. Getting shot is, of course, an adverse health event.
For reasons which must have seemed clear to them, but which are a mystery for us, Williams and Medlock bring up the Duke Lacrosse scandal. That was when “sex worker” Crystal Gail Mangum (who was later convicted of murder) falsely accused several white members of the Duke Lacrosse scandal of rape. The media storm was a farce of immense proportion.
Williams and Medlock reveal the real victims were not the men (and their families) who lives were nearly ruined. The victims were the black women who had heard about the scandal. Yes. Something about their having lowered cortisol after hearing of the false charges.
And, as I said, how this ties to Trump’s election is a complete mystery.
Another possibility is “hostility toward immigrants.” Our pair noted a “2010 Arizona law empowered local police to stop anyone suspected of being undocumented and detain anyone who lacked proof of citizenship.”
Since it’s against the law to come to this country illegally, it’s not certain how this commonsense law will affect the nation’s mental health.
Democracy Causes Stress
Lastly, there are also “worries about reductions in health and social services and health.” See, “rumination, vigilance, and worry” about political matters might be unhealthy.
But then living in a democracy — and here they might be on to something — must be the least healthy thing of all! Because, of course, matters affecting the public are discussed daily. Schools from first grade on encourage at least careful thought and vigilance. And the media never shut up.
Our stalwart researchers do make one other prediction. “Increases in psychological well-being, pride, and hope for the future,” they say, “are likely to be evident among Donald Trump supporters.”
I am feeling especially vigorous.