Trump and the American Ego

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Our ego is not present on the surface. It seems to hide under our daily actions. It fuels our triumphs and opens the door to our mistakes.

We all, no matter the age, conscious or unconscious have active egos. Families, communities and countries all have collective egos. It is this inflated sense of self that makes countrymen stand and salute their flags even when that same nation is causing atrocities across the world. It’s the ability to defend ignorance, and celebrate things that make no sense at all. For many people and countries it is a means of survival. But when untapped or left to squander, the ego runs wild, causing mass destruction along the way.

One thing about ego is, it allows humans to celebrate and fight for things that are unworthy. It is violence against another because words were exchanged. It is people dressing themselves in the most expensive clothing to feel worthy. It is watching reality shows to see someone on the screen, “worse off” or “better off” than you. It is always responding to a “how you doing?” with “I’m great!”. It’s the need to always be under control, to never be vulnerable, to always strike first. Ego goes unnoticed when it is silent and subtle. But when it is loud, forceful and in your face, as in the case of Donald Trump, people have to take a stance. Some are offended while others love it. This is why Donald Trump is hated by many, yet, voted into office by millions.

Trump is 100%, unfiltered ego. Many are annoyed, while others are celebratory because their egos are filled up by his success. He is foolish and wealthy and has been able to amass a ridiculous amount of money “the American way.” By handouts, lying, stealing and cheating, Donald Trump is the poster child for white privilege and supremacy and the American ego absolutely loves it.

While the country is currently divided over feelings toward Donald Trump (as a leader), many of us are failing to reach back far enough in our memories, to a time not that long ago when we all celebrated him for his ability to amass unprecedented amounts of money. We forget the song lyrics that celebrated his opulence and capitalistic drive. We no longer visualize a nation of families sitting in the living room after dinner to watch him fire people on his reality television show. Our eyes no longer can see that he has pictures with almost every known celebratory and regular ole’ Joe who was “fortunate” enough to snap an image with him. Our egos were secretly fulfilled when we saw him exercise power over people. Because the majority of the Americans are oppressed, when we saw him, we saw us wanting to do the same. Wanting to be a boss, in charge, not taking orders but rather dishing them out.  It is why a smug billionaire can successfully build hotels, sell food and clothing, with his name on it, for years and go unchecked. When you stayed in a Trump hotel or wore his clothes manufactured in other countries, or tuned into his television show it was a fair exchange. Everyone wanted their egos stroked.

Donald Trump is the American ego flipped inside out.  The sexism towards women, the xenophobia towards people of color, the boss mentality toward disposable humans is as American as eating an apple pie while watching the super bowl.

When most men engage in sexist behaviors we do so around those who agree, just like Trump on the charter bus when bragging with his friend about committing acts of sexual violence against women. Though he actively engages in rape culture, he didn’t invent it. People were up in arms because our politicians are supposed to represent the “good” in people. No one wants the worst part of them represented. We much rather our politicians like our egos, without blemishes. Egos don’t show flaws.  

Trump wasn’t the first person to paint Muslims, Blacks and Latinos with a broad brush. Americans have been in that mindset for years. He just continued and perpetuated the ignorance that was already present. He walked through the door that was already open. Before Trump ran for office many Americans thought Latinos were taking people’s jobs, that Muslims were terrorists and that Blacks were inner-city criminals. Such baseless and foolish claims don’t need supporting evidence. It only needs to tap into the parts of the ego that makes one feel superior to the next. It only needs to massage the superiority and entitlement complex. And what makes matters worse, the ones being painted were also doing the painting. The oppressed make the best oppressors.

Most people hate their bosses but they all are waiting for the chance to take their positions.  No one wants to be told what to do but everyone wants to be in charge. It is why many can flaunt a “boss mentality” and people soak it up as if it’s amazing and worthy of praise.  Being in charge or in control fuels the ego daily. It can be overwhelming and downright addictive. Donald Trump is merely a representation of hundreds of years of American lies, privilege and patriarchy all wrapped up in one egotistical orange package that we all are responsible for.

We all created him and we all must destroy him together by first acknowledging and then destroying our own egos.

  • Maurice

    Great perspective. Our egos have been the downfall of men. A humble spirit will bring change.

  • Najah Muhammad

    Peace! I’m here for this perspective. Rather than using/wasting our individual and collective energy being completely distraught over everything this guy says and does, lets take an honest look at ourselves and grow. I hope this sparks some uplifting dialogue and silences the rest.