Trump IS the liberal shadow
Colin E. Davis
With all due respect to my progressive minded friends who see through the destructive narrative of "establishment" liberal values, who are not falling victim to the current political plague.
When I say Trump "is" the liberal shadow, I'm generalizing of course, but my point is this:
The very characteristics that establishment liberals hold against Donald Trump as evidence of his evil, are in fact projections of those very same elements they hold secretly within themselves.
My accusations do not include all with a progressive mindset, many of whom realized early on that Clinton was not in fact a true liberal or progressive and that she was a great threat to their own principles. I myself resonate with some progressive values. But it is the most vocal and hysterical establishment critics of Trump who are acting as a lightning rod for the collective shadow of liberals everywhere who in turn resonate with them.
As evidence of his evil, they site Trump's impulsiveness and lack of tact, his narcissism, his political inexperience, the unpresidential image of his supermodel wives, and of course his openly displayed massive wealth. Every one of these supposed deficits in Trump is actually a powerful shadow element within the unconscious his most vocal critics. They themselves have not publicly come to terms with their own power strivings, greed and lustful drives.
What I am speaking of here is a well accepted psychological phenomenon known as shadow projection, and it applies generally to everyone. Those thoughts, feelings and impulses that we have not accepted about ourselves, we project onto others who carry them for us. We often "scapegoat" onto others our own feelings of aggression, greed, lust and other primal instincts as a personal defense mechanism. To honestly face up to them would endanger our view of ourselves and our collective agreements with others. So we bury them in our shadows.
The shadow is the equal opposite of our persona - our outward face we show the world. Communal groups, just like individuals have a persona. The post-modern liberal persona is usually associated with efforts towards peace, justice, equality and consensus. These are high values in and of themselves, but they also have an equal and opposite polarity charge. The dark side of our social face is our shadow, and when we don't come to know it intimately and work on integrating it into our lives, it takes on an autonomous life of its own. We deny our shadows, project them onto others, and then finally displace their energetics out in the world, often in destructive ways.
When an entire demographic collectively denies its own shadow, a sweeping plague ensues.
“It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism…The individual seldom knows anything of this…but let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature.”
- Carl Jung “On the Psychology of the Unconscious” (1912)
One of the most famous examples of collective shadow projection and scapegoating is the politics of Hitler's Third Reich but all political wars are partially formed out of, and enlivened by, shadow projection. Our enemy is always a part of ourselves.
Establishment liberals believe themselves to be educated, sophisticated, objective and fair, but in this political season we have discovered that these traits are so often just skin deep. Below them is the same dominant monkey dynamics that Trump's most vocal critics despise about him - only he wears his "King Monkey" traits on his sleeve, while establishment liberals often deny theirs, or offload them in unhealthy ways.
Just think about all of the banal Madison Avenue and celebrity values the mainstream media and the left leaning political establishment has pushed like a religion onto America for the past century. The focus on superficial looks, wealth and "bling" that Hollywood liberals have consciously pushed onto young and impressionable minds. Look at the overreach of power overseas that establishment liberals have secretly condoned and benefitted from. The list goes on.
Now they claim that Trump is a threat to "democracy", whatever that means, because he represents those very same values? And of course to be fair to Trump, each of these superficial or negative values that he actually does possess also has a light side that they are unable to see. Many of Trump's deficits, as they appear to liberals, are strengths to millions of Americans who are more in touch with those "King Monkey" qualities that establishment liberals push back into their own shadows.
The image of Trump that establishment liberals hate is the America that lives in them and that they themselves helped to create. The current outrage is just shadow projection, plain and simple. His political and media opponents are also harboring grief over their own lack of courage to stand up against these abusive and banal values that have deepened in America and massive anger at their own inability to be sovereign individuals and break away from the diseased collective. This is another reason why they hate Trump so much, he is doing what they cannot do for themselves.
This is harsh medicine. Owning your own shadow is very dirty business. There is an equally destructive conservative shadow which we saw unfold during the Bush years when Republicans allowed the administration to bring America to war on transparent lies, establish the Patriot Act and similar unconstitutional moves. They blew up Saddam Hussain and a few scraggly jihadists to be the universal bogie men they needed to act out their own rage and further avoid getting in touch with their underdeveloped empathy. This critique of liberals could be flipped to conservatves very easily.
Nobody gets a pass when it comes to shadow projection, but today the biggest lesson is for liberals. It's time to own your shadow.