The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Columnist
On Tuesday the political arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most influential environmentalist groups, made its first presidential endorsement ever, giving the nod to Hillary Clinton. This meant jumping the gun by a week on her inevitable designation as te presumptive Democratic nominee, but the NRDC Action Fund is obviously eager to get on with the general election.
And it’s not hard to see why: At this point Donald Trump’s personality endangers the whole planet.
Stephen Hawking, the great explainer of cosmic mysteries, is also known for sharing his wisdom on more earthly matters. He has weighed in on climate change (bold action is needed), boycotting Israel (he favored it), and the departure of Zayn Malik from the boy band One Direction (he could still be in the band in a parallel universe)
But on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” on Tuesday, Mr. Hawking, a theoretical physicist and best-selling author, acknowledged a mystery that he has found impenetrable.Asked to explain the political ascendance of Donald J. Trump, he said simply, “I can’t.”
So WTF is going on?
There is something base and toxic in America. It works in offense against our better selves - against our virtues. Better minds than mine and yours see that something is askew.
I was trained Freudian. I mostly rejected it, but I had a classmate who was a bit unbridled. When, one day, he stepped over a line, another classmate yelled, "You have no Superego!"
Freud says the Superego controls the Id. The Superego, he posits, develops between ages 3-5. It emerges due to social controls.
Trump seems, like my classmate, not to have a Superego. One wonders why, but that is not the emergency. The Id-run-wild that Krugman discusses and attracts disciples that leave Hawking aghast is only votes and months away from becoming the most powerful person on the planet. Think about that.
I have spent years here promoting a specific very rational person. She is beautiful, funny, warm, and cute as a button, but what attracted me and still does is her mind. Her brain can network in amazing ways that tie together many issues and make those connections clear to all of us in speeches and essays. Pretty amazing!
I am not saying that we all should bend because smart people say we should. Hawking and Krugman are certified smart people. But we should pay heed to their thoughts - and maybe especially to Hawkings's loss for an explanation.
We are a great nation. A great civilization. We lead the world. We do this by virtue of our flexibility, inclusiveness, and the continuity of our vision for the future. We are the people who look ahead, not behind. We are the people who embrace - "with malice toward none and charity for all."
I don't know what happened to the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt that this is the candidate that party proffers. As an American, I cannot explain that to Stephen Hawking. As a psychologist, neither can I explain why Paul Krugman is right about an Id out of control. What I do know is this. We are at a crossroad.
We have a choice to make, and it is crucial. Either we see ourselves as the leaders we are and bring the world forward, or we collapse onto ourselves and yield to global chaos. Yeah. It is that serious. It is that simple. And it means everything.