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The Intersection of Politics and Health

I've been reading a lot of different things lately and NOT blogging about them, for a variety of reasons. Here's today's trigger for blogging:

Every election season, somebody, somewhere, feels compelled to diagnose one or more candidates with mental health issues. And it is SO EASY! Because if you are running for president, you probably have some combination of three things going on:

(1) You think you're right for the job. (Megalomania, delusional thinking, narcissism)
(2) You think the country needs you to do the job. (martyr complex, savior, codependency)
(3) You've never met any form of attention that you didn't just LOVE! (see (1), and probably plenty of other things)

Over time, our therapeutic framework has evolved, and so we call similar clusters of "stuff" by different names. This time around, Trump has a personality disorder that once would have been called narcissistic personality disorder, but is now lumped in with a bunch of other stuff. VF is inadequately respectful of this evolution -- I'll get to that in a minute. Or, you know, maybe never if I forget.

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/11/donald-trump-narcissism-therapists

As long as we're clear that I'm not endorsing _anything_ in that article, please feel free to enjoy it. It's very funny. Altho I've lost the last vestiges of respect I once had for Howard Gardner, who has apparently never encountered reality TV, and especially not WWE.

I would instead like to focus on one George Simon. I think the George Simon quoted in the article is this guy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_K._Simon

And let me just say, I'm not sure this is the guy I would go to for expertise on narcissism, unless, you know, you think someone with some experience at it from the inside is a good plan. He got his degree at Texas Tech, which brings me to another bit of reading (much more serious) that I ran across lately:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/26/health/texas-abortion-access-desert/

Really good article, very nuanced and balanced. Also, very sad. Texas Tech gets a mention in this article as an example of a place which is such a desert of information about reproduction that it has an STD with its own name: Raider Rash. Oh look! It's in Urban Dictionary!

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Raider+Rash

Urban Dictionary's understanding of the term is a little different than CNN's -- I think I believe Urban Dictionary's understanding more than the article, actually.

Texas is also home to the Castros, Julian, widely rumored as VP pick if HRC gets the nomination:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Castro

and his twin brother Joaquin:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaqu%C3%ADn_Castro

Their mother was a political activist in the past, including in a regional third political party in Texas.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/From-political-matriarch-the-sons-also-rise-3905913.php

Nice picture of her and her boys! And their father was involved in community organizing as well.

Texas is a big place, full of big egos (which the Castros show no real evidence of having), struggling with an enormous demographic change, and at the center of a major Supreme Court case involving what kinds of regulations with what kinds of intentions and what kinds of results can be applied to clinics which offer reproductive service. Once again, Kennedy is likely to be the swing vote, and he's taking an interesting perspective on the whole thing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/04/the-odd-thing-justice-kennedy-noticed-about-abortion-in-texas/

He doesn't seem too happy that an effect of this law is to move Texas in a direction opposite to the rest of the country: reducing medical abortion and increasing surgical abortion (presumably due to the delays and problems of access that the law creates).

“My reading indicated that medical abortions are up nationwide, but down significantly in Texas,” Kennedy said. “This may not be medically wise.”

Honestly, when you have a major candidate for the Republican nomination for POTUS, and everyone is going on and on and on about how big his ego is (or how narcissistic he is or whatever we call it these days when a guy is just way too full of himself, too much of a blowhard and too inclined to talk up the size and caliber of his Manly Parts -- and attack everyone else for the size and caliber of theirs) and he's NOT from Texas, in a year when Texas is so much at the center of the universe, well, that's kind of interesting, right?

Because door number two -- sure, he was born in Canada, whatever -- is FROM Texas! And he's on the ban abortion side of things. That's kind of more how we would expect this to go. And yet, he's the young guy on the side of an argument that is at some sort of tipping point.

It's a weird, weird election cycle. When the too big guy from NY is beating the young guy from Texas, and the guy from NY has a string of marriages and can't correctly verbally express second corinthians -- really, how hard is _that_? -- that guy is kicking ass and taking names. The opposing team is engaged in a brutal elimination battle, trying not to self-destruct and let that guy win it by default, the swing voters who incline to social liberalism and can't tolerate a blowhard are looking at Mayor Mike -- another NY billionaire -- and wondering if he might save them.

A lot of people are openly talking about what all this means for Mental Health in America. I mean, geez, if people are crazy enough to like Trump!?!

At least we're talking about it. If we took our 2016 eyes, and pointed them at previous election cycles, I'm pretty sure we'd be a lot more critical of them than people were at the time. It's not that we are that critical as a set of voters, or even in that critical of a mood, or at that terrified a point in the business cycle.

It's just that it's so _easy_ to share our criticism, our witty, clever, entertaining criticism, that makes us look _so, so smart_. And so we do. Which I don't see any particular problem with, altho I do hope that when the dust settles, we'll all pull back up out of the hyperbole and go back to some semblance of calm.