He’s crazy. Out of his mind. A lunatic. A madman. These are the terms I often hear thrown around to describe Trump. I’m sure you’ve heard it too, if not said it yourself. Every ridiculous and hateful action taken on his part is met with bewilderment and a shake of the head, accompanying the claim that he’s just plain mentally ill. It must be as simple as that, he must just be nuts.
I happen to be a “crazy” person. I am mentally ill. I take a handful of pulls twice a day to control my severe depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. I’ve been hospitalized multiple times as a result of my illnesses. In addition to being mentally ill I am also smart, thoughtful, compassionate, funny, and I try every day to do the right thing. I don’t try to hurt people, I don’t try to strip them of their rights. I try to be a good friend, sister, daughter, and partner.
Why do broad actions of hatefulness and ridiculousness get labeled as Crazy? What has Trump done to earn that label? He is ignorant, hateful, racist, sexist, homophobic, ridiculous, and has no concept of actions having consequences. He is a bad, angry person. Why are these traits conflated with mental illness? Is that what people think of me?
I don’t believe any of my loved ones that call Trump crazy think I am anything like him. And yet the comparison continues without thought for those that are victims of Trump. I am not like him, I am one of the people he wants to stamp out. I am a target. He wants to take away my right to healthcare, my right to choose, my right to marry who I want. He would have me suffer greatly as a mentally ill person by taking away my ability to afford my prescriptions.
Do we just label actions we don’t understand as crazy? It is easier to label someone as crazy than it is to confront the systems that they uphold. It’s easier to talk about Trump in terms of mental illness than it is to talk about how white supremacy got him elected. It’s easier to say he is crazy than it is to ask what we can do to stop him. To say he is merely crazy is dangerous because it dismisses his actions and beliefs. It also dismisses the lives of actual mentally ill people. It’s too easy, too lazy, to shrug off what we don’t understand and say oh, that’s just crazy. We must ask questions. We must dig deeper. We must remember that mentally ill people are varied and complex. When we dismiss Trump as being crazy, we must stop and ask ourselves exactly what we mean. Do we think all mentally ill people are unstable, dangerous, hateful? Or do we simply think Trump is not worth listening to because his ideas are mad? If that is the case, does that reflect the way we view actual mentally ill people? To dismiss Trump as mentally ill and nothing more is to dismiss real people. I am not to be dismissed.