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“Trump Anxiety Disorder”

This Week in the Narrative 101

Nigel Clarke

Canada is officially legalizing marijuana nationwide. Cue confetti.

To be fair, Canada only has ten provinces; recreational pot use is already legal in nine US states … so they aren’t that far ahead. Still, federal legalization is a pretty big deal.

It is almost enough to make you wonder when Trump will want to start building a wall on that border. And in that case, you might also wonder if said wall would be made to include, or exclude I suppose, parts of Oregon and Washington state.  

Leaving the pacific northwest, as I am doing now,  feels a bit like leaving a quasi-Canada — in that, it’s filled with stoners wearing semi-ironic plaid jackets and kayaking after work.

The pacific northwest is a fine place, but perhaps it is a good time to be leaving.

I read an article this week detailing something called “Trump Anxiety Disorder” — the idea that President Trump’s “distinctive brand of provocation, brinkmanship, and self-drama” is leading to “increased worry, obsessive thought patterns, muscle tension and obsessive preoccupation with the news” amongst the population.

It seems like a disorder with symptoms related to anxiety, paranoia, and obsessive thoughts could be exacerbated in a place where pot is legal. Maybe this says something about all the chill west-coasters who have managed such impressive vitriol towards Trump.

But in all seriousness, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or unaffiliated, whether you support the President or oppose him, whether you are higher than a Wiz Khalifa gif or sober as a church on Sunday morning, it is difficult not to feel at least some mental unease, some anxiety, from the endless avalanche of absurdity and horrors that is the Trump administration.

Earlier this week, I was walking past a coffee shop and caught sight of a television when I glanced inside. On the screen was what appeared to be a meeting in the Oval Office between President Trump and … Kanye West.

Something like this can give a person anxiety simply because for a second, you get that feeling in your stomach where you are unsure whether you are awake or dreaming. It’s momentarily unsettling.

I stopped to watch Kanye, wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, in the midst of a spectacular trip to the soapbox, an epic run of free-streaming consciousness.

He spoke about alternate universes, his father, feeling like Superman, the murder rate in Chicago, which he called ‘Chiraq,’ the “Yeezy effect,” falling through a metaphorical trap door and becoming the Unabomber, Ford having the “dopest” cars, Trump needing to be “the freshest; the flyest,” and much, much more.

Trump, sitting across the table and not even receiving Kanye’s gaze, alternated between nodding approval with pursed lips, throwing in ‘peanut gallery’ style comments, and looking generally befuddled.

Most curious to me was that beside Kanye as he spoke, Jim Brown sat quietly. Jim Brown is a legend of the game — ‘the game’ being both football, and more importantly, activism. Such a serious and well-respected man seemed out of place.

Say you wanted to talk to one of your friends about Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, that you wanted to really get into a discussion on privilege and class, on legality and the legal system.

Except, maybe you’d had a busy stretch at work and hadn’t seen them in a week or so. By the time you do see them, a Saudi journalist has disappeared, apparently murdered and potentially by the Saudi state, and Trump is getting raked over the coals for refusing to move away from hugely lucrative arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Oh, and Trump and Kanye West had one of the most bizarre meetings since Teddy Roosevelt waded naked into the Potomac with the French ambassador.

Where is Kavanaugh now on the conversational to-do list?

On one side, we have mainstream media relentlessly pushing the corporate agenda, telling us to unsee things we are seeing or have seen.

But on the other side, we have such a constant procession of skulduggery from the Trump administration that the engaged gaze can’t linger.

No shit, people are feeling anxiety.


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Written by Nigel Clarke

Writer and notorious vagabond. From the frozen north. Follow Nigel on Twitter @Nig_Clarke.

Nigel Clarke is a Writer for Progressive Army.

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On the Road Again

“Trump Anxiety Disorder”