According to the WHO definition of health, which is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity,” several million Americans became unhealthy on Tuesday November 8th, 2016 as Florida folded to Trump. As Hillary’s prospects became bleaker many more millions, particularly those on Twitter, lost their health. The WHO sets a high bar for health. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a person on social media to be in “complete mental and social well-being.”
Whilst WHO has set a high bar for health, modern medicine casts a wide net for disease, and the duo have led to mass over medicalization, overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Yet despite the wide net, Trump has thus far managed to evade the psychiatrists, medicine’s version of the FBI, who have tried imposing upon him a range of psychiatric disorders including “extreme present hedonism”, which sounds like “hyperbolic discounting,” which basically means someone who doesn’t give a rat’s tail about the future. Base jumpers suffer from this condition. I once suffered a milder version – and then I became a father and grew up.
Trump doesn’t look like a base jumper. And you’re going to need more than hyperbolic discounting to nail him on the 25th Amendment. Some tried diagnosing Trump with “mild cognitive impairment” (MCI) – a condition which heralds the more persuasive cognitive decline of dementia. MCI reminds me of an old medical school friend who went around administering the mini mental test to elderly patients on medical wards. One of the questions was: what are the dates of the 2nd World War (WW2)? No patient got that question right because my friend thought WW2 started in 1940. It started in 1939.
Another question in that test was the name of the prime minister. One patient told my friend – “it’s not that evil milk snatcher” (alluding to Mrs. Thatcher). He lost a point – not for civil disobedience, Tony Blair was the prime minister back then, but for his cheek. The mini mental test did not give bonus points for cheekiness, which arguably draws more mental resources than trying to recall the date of WW2.
Trump isn’t cheeky, certainly not in the conventional sense. But he’s not short of ripostes. His response to the North Korean dictator, with unsubtly flavored biometric one-upmanship, is the stuff of immediate post-pubertal boys in school playgrounds.
Don: “Mine is longer than yours.”
Bill: “Well so what, mine gets put to work, yours doesn’t.”
This is not normal. And here is the key point. When someone says Trump isn’t “normal”, you have to specify the context of “normal.” There are various types of “normal.” There’s “normal for Norfolk” (a euphemism in Britain for “slightly dim”), “normal for France” (a euphemism for “arrogant cheese-eating surrender monkey,” or just a self-conceited public intellectual) and there’s “not normal for Punjab” (I’ll leave that for another day). There’s also “normal for Brooklyn”, which Trump seems to be. But Trump isn’t “normal for the White House.” It is not normal for the President of the most powerful country the world has ever seen to be responding to every little jibe on Twitter, and every little snide in the New York Times.
To be fair, these are not normal times, and the Republic, which comprises an unprecedented number of snowflakes, might have met its match in the White House – Trump may be the first snowflake POTUS, with dermis papyracea, a consummate troll, who must respond in kind to every taunt, who loves pig wrestling, mud fighting with the press, a Youtube commentator who must have the last word in an internet argument at 2 a.m. He is modern media’s president – a populist with an ego of Henry the 8th.