“Man is not truly one, but truly two” – Robert Louis Stevenson in his 1886 “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.” And brilliant psychiatrist Carl Jung said in 1933, “Every good quality has its bad side, and nothing that is good can come into the world without directly producing a corresponding evil. This is a painful fact.”
This fact hit home for me as I was binge watching the series “Dexter” on Amazon Prime. As is my usual custom with pop culture, I got to it over a decade late. For those of you not familiar the show, ponder this: What if Batman was not a rich playboy during the day, but a normal middle class married with kids blood splatter expert with the Miami Police Department and went around killing bad guys by ritualistically dismembering them and dumping the evidence in the water. Faceless police bureaucrat by day, serial killer vigilance by night. This is a serious duality of nature.
Sir John Keegan also talked about duality in his book “The Mask of Command.” He chronicles the different public and private personas of great military leaders. Alexander the Great, Wellington, and Grant all had divergent, if not dual, personalities. As with Grant so with another American president, Donald Trump.
A quandary for some conservatives like me is separating the administration from the man. Can you logically do that? Because the administration was excellent. The economy was booming to rates never seen, national security was superb, border security was getting better, the DOJ was on the side of the good guys. But then somewhat during the administration and especially after November of 2020, Donald Trump went off the deep end. The one man who had engineered the successes above had a bitter, petty, vindictive, and frankly disturbed alter ago. It came to the forefront about this time last year. His duality was evident.
Aside from the middle of the night tweets, which were concerning but far less important than his policy wins, he generally kept it together while in office. But his sense of outraged id was set ablaze when he lost in November of last year. So he threw in with loony shysters like Sidney Powell, intervened in Georgia and lost control of the entire Senate, and made an infamous speech that motivated his devotees to stage a major riot.
How was this the man who moved our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Where was the president who reached out to minority voters and gained ground, a chief executive who was fair but firm in national security, and who directed a robust economy? How did that guy get replaced by a crass buffoon who embarrassed himself and the country after the election?
Maybe it was Covid-19 and the political fallout that got to him. Perhaps it was an election that he lost, but where there was evident massive discrepancies. It was probably just losing and what it did to his fragile ego. No matter what, Donald Trump seems to some Republicans and to many conservatives as a conflicted, dual personality. One whose inner demons sadly and wastefully disqualifies a very good policy president from continuing what he started.