Guns, Republicans and “manliness”: We are all suffering from the psychological crisis of the right

In the face of the seemingly endless gun slaughter in the US, Republican politicians are calling for more funding for mental health, although they are holding back. Not only is there now more guns than people in this country, many Republicans and right-wing media continue to thrive on driving people, especially younger men, to despair.

They project their own unexplained psychological problems onto others. As Salon’s Amanda Marcotte has often pointed out, to Republicans, every accusation seems like a confession.

When Donald Trump and his allies claim that the Democrats are cheating on elections, it’s called a “tell,” because cheating on elections is exactly what they try their best (or worst) to do.

When Ivy League educated Republicans attack the liberal “elite.” When Trump’s Republicans express their outrage at the “Biden crime family.” When the malignant narcissist who used to sit in the White House claims that liberals (whom he calls “socialists,” “radicals,” or “Marxists”) are bent on destroying the country. Every accusation is a confession.

So Republican politicians and their media allies are calling for more mental health spending as a supposed solution to the gun violence crisis. This is suspected to be a reflection of their own mental strain, advocating an absurd interpretation of the Second Amendment and steadfastly ignoring the fact that people in other major Western nations also have mental health issues, but for some reason don’t shoot themselves almost as often each other or themselves.

So many conservatives live in a perpetual state of fear — of books and pundits and science and liberals and immigrants and independent women and people of color and people with different sexual preferences or gender identities — that it’s no wonder they’re mentally and emotionally appear unhealthy.

It seems that many men who vote Republican focus too much on that Supports her fragile masculinity definitely seek help. (It might make them look like “Betas.”) Far too often, a right-wing man gets so upset about a perceived threat to his manhood that he goes on a killing spree with offensive weapons that the Supreme Court has at its disposal, which is helpfully explained to everyone Americans God-given right based on the twisted logic that there was no “history or tradition” in the 18th century to ban high powered firearms that had not been invented.

So many American conservatives live in a seemingly perpetual state of fear – of books and pundits and science and liberals and immigrants and independent women and people of color and people of different sexual preferences or gender identities – that it’s no wonder they’re intellectually and appear emotionally unhealthy. Then there are the evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who form the most reliable base of MAGA Republicans: their supposed belief in Jesus Christ is so distorted that they now see their savior in the person of our twice-impeached and four-times impeached ex-president. None of this suggests a group of well-adjusted people. The HBO series The Righteous Gemstones, a dark comedy about shallow, underhand TV preachers stunted and spoiled by wealth, has to work hard to surpass what we see at Trump rallies.

Come on, it’s not like we weren’t warned about any of this. Remember Trump’s infamous response to Hillary Clinton in 2016: “No puppet, no puppet… You are the puppet!“Did that sound like a mentally balanced adult? Or an adult of some sort? How about it? The Happy Mother’s Day greeting, earlier this year. Who defends himself against accusations of criminal activity with the statement: “I am a legitimate person”? Who frequently posts in all caps on social media, hurling incomprehensible accusations at political opponents?

As for anti-Woke warrior Ron DeSantis, his campaign against Trump appears to be a spectacular failure, even if he appears to be mimicking Trump’s fragile ego, accompanying vengeance and bizarre obsession with masculinity. Like “Personality” Tucker Carlson’s 2022 special on “The end of the people,” DeSantis’ Anti Pride Video was damn homoerotic.

While the right-wing cable news machine thrives on actively dulling the mental acuity of its viewers, “manfluencer” crooks like Andrew Tate, who sell “alpha male” misogyny to lonely, insecure young men, have made fortunes encouraging them to embrace misogynistic whites become nationalists – essentially mini-Trumps, but with real muscle tone (not just in ridiculous fantasy). It’s nice to see some sane young people fighting back satire.

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If a serial liar and hate-monger like Trump remains the choice of a vast majority of Republican voters even after two impeachments, an ever-growing tally of criminal charges, and an ongoing coup attempt; when voters send deeply untrustworthy, dysfunctional, or delusional individuals to Congress their representatives; when fascist fanboy governors like DeSantis and Greg Abbott model and deploy their states after authoritarian regimes Stochastic Terrorism Is it any wonder, then, that when putting marginalized communities at risk of violence, ordinary citizens feel perpetually on edge and find themselves in a state of chronic existential anxiety?

But the right will not give up – I mean not on issues of principle or politics, since it has none, but in its crusade to “own the liberties”, to take away rights from people who are not like them and to enforce theocratic minority rule. In fact, this mean crusade is the basis of the tribal identity of the right. As Adam Serwer of Atlantic famously noted some time ago: The cruelty is the point:

Rejoicing in suffering is more human than most would like to admit. Somewhere in the broad spectrum between teasing youth and the smiling white men in the lynched photographs are the Trump supporters, whose community is built through a delight in the torment of those they see as dissimilar and who, in their shared cruelty, have found an answer to loneliness and atomization of modern life.

Re-reading these lines brings back memories of the cheers and laughter of Trump supporters during CNN’s pathetic “City Hall” rally for Trump in May, as he delivered his typically shameless display of lies, bluster, bullying, and whining delivered. Here’s a proposed campaign slogan: “Trump 2024: Come on lying, stay on crying.” As Salon contributor Mike Lofgren has observed, Republicans’ “heart of darkness” has gone beyond mere whining; They want retribution, revenge for all the real or perceived insults they have suffered, and they believe that only their cult leader can deliver it.

The right just won’t back down – I mean not on issues of principle or politics, since they don’t have any, but in their crusade to “own the liberties” to take away rights from people who aren’t like them and enforce theocratic minority rule.

Brian Klaas, Professor of Global Politics at University College London, writes that we so often have bad people in power for three main reasons: power acts as a magnet for corruptible people (often “Machiavellian narcissists, maybe with a pinch of psychopathy”); Holding power tends to corrupt people; We tend to give power to people for the wrong reasons.

“Corrupt people have a disproportionate attraction to power, are disproportionately capable of wriggling into power, and disproportionately clinging to power once they have it,” Klaas observes. We can fix this, he argues, by improving our political system, recruiting better candidates, and establishing real accountability for wrongdoing. Good systems, he says, attract good people. Fighting corruption is an integral part of Democratic playbook published by the Brookings Institution. A money-dominated political system, “dark” or not, does not work.

Most politicians would not consider the thought that they are mentally unwell. You just play the game; I try to gain an advantage in any way that works and isn’t blatantly illegal (with a few notable exceptions). But is this kind of Machiavellian behavior part of the “dark triad,” indicate a well-functioning mind and spirit? Too often we shrug our shoulders when it comes to politics and accept the narrative that it’s just a game. But that’s not it; it is about freedom or tyranny, dignity or submission, life or death.

Those who dehumanize their political opponents by labeling them enemies, and those who label teachers, librarians and parents “groomers,” have far greater mental health problems than young people struggling with issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. Men who work to limit women’s autonomy over their own bodies, or even conservative women who crack down on their fragile status, have serious issues to work on and should stop showing them off to the rest of us to expect us.

In fairness, many of us in America face our own mental health issues across the political spectrum. Almost certainly, more of us should seek the advice of friends and professionals. We are chronically depressed and lonely. The political polarization has separated friends and family members from each other. The religious right has embraced a gospel of intolerance towards others whose mental and emotional problems they do not understand. While playing the role of defenders of the working class, Republicans work tirelessly to push working people deeper into a life of endless work and debt bondage.

As the late great American writer Kurt Vonnegut would have said about it and about it his currently banned books: “That is how it goes.” I don’t think he meant to express cynical acceptance, but rather an acknowledgment of mankind’s long history of stupidity and intolerance — and the need to move on anyway. So we work diligently to maintain our own confidence, our fragile balance, our purpose and our will – even in a country where far too often the inmates run the institution.

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by Kirk Swearingen

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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