2016 November

The Protests

“I just received the following note from one of our Inner Circle members.  Below the note is my response.”

A colleague sent me this.  I don’t know where it’s from.

Can anyone help me here?  Is there something I haven’t read about this?  On what grounds are people protesting the election?  On what grounds are they saying Trump is not their president?  I always prefer understanding the other side, but I can’t get to the other side on this.  One of the few clear things to me about this election is that Trump won.


Mike’s response:


26 replies on “The Protests”

I’ve seen this. It’s satire pointing at the #NotMyPresident hashtags in use and the demonstrations. The grounds for saying he’s not their president, as best I can tell, is that they don’t feel aligned with his values, or more specifically, their understanding of his values based on the media inputs they’ve used to make that interpretation. There’s a sense that the interpreted values gap is just too wide to identify with Trump as their country’s leader. Some of the fear tactics used by the Clinton camp have been very effective in cementing support for Democrats and, more importantly, deep aversion toward anyone they might identify as a member of the Trump camp.

It’s that the satire is so perfectly aligned with what it satirizes. I don’t get what right those protesters believe they have that they believe has been violated.

I disagreed with and dislike almost everything Trump said and did. But unless I missed something in the news, he didn’t stop people from voting against him and he didn’t rig the voting machines.

I’d like to have some way of understanding the protesters other than considering them spoiled brats.


“I’d like to have some way of understanding the protesters other than considering them spoiled brats.”

Me too. I think maybe people are convinced that protesting is a moral position– one that is so important that it supersedes the integrity of the American political process. I respectfully disagree with that calculus, but I can imagine that others feel that way.

I respectfully disagree with that calculus, but I can imagine that others feel that way

I disagree with it but have a hard time doing it respectfully. I expect I’ll get there, but for now I have this uncomfortable experience of feeling more aligned with trump voters than with Hillary voters.


A thought regarding your (Herb’s) observation about feeling aligned and misaligned at the same time with a group. In a separate discussion with a different group, someone brought up the idea that we can decouple the ‘liking’ of someone from the belief she/he would serve as a sound leader. From that, it’s not a huge leap to recognize the experience of feeling aligned with some values/beliefs of a group and misaligned with other values/beliefs of the same group. It’s disorienting. It can also be freeing. To be honest, that’s how I’ve felt about both main political parties in the U.S. for as long as I’ve been old enough to vote.


This is so true.

Providing constructive venues for protest, even when most just don’t have anything else to do or are using it for social purposes strengthens our republic;)

However the metaphor is slightly off because u will never see losers celebrating;)

The key will be watching what happens with generation “V” vendetta, as antiestablishment memes grow they are NOT MORE COMPLEX…;)

Antiestablishment is a complex that can be fed from any angle and feeds on itself for its own sake and thus becomes the seeds of revolution, this is my fear, not nuclear war.

Tearing apart the social order that allows you to get your boarding pass online and put your phone on the card reader, or your passport at a global entry kiosk and virtually walk out the door is what worries me;)

High trust and technology are a marvel, not taking my shoes off, my belt off or my laptop out–for effect–I no longer carry a laptop is a modern marvel.

Walking up to a cash machine around the world and being able to draw funds in local currency…now that’s worth protecting;)

Our goal should be to help EVERY global citizen move in a direction of their dream even if small steps without making certain groups shoulder the burden–idealist that I am…where that journey sees us building rather than destroying.

Utopia first class, what a deal.

Or is it just too complex;)


I view these things like a pressure release valve on a kettle. A generally “open” society like the US needs outlets for a subset of people to relieve emotional pressure that can’t be contained.

Look what happens after a city wins a championship of a particular sport. Often, a small % of these incredibly joyous people riot and burn cop cars.

I would also say that most people who publicly protest or riot or doing the only work that they know how to do. Not trying to be pejorative, but explanatory.

Jim –

That makes a lot of sense to me. I was looking at the situation through a very narrow thinking lens, not considering feeling.


I think it’s good to protest in order to show those who are frightened that not all of their neighbors are aligned with the scary things Trump has espoused. And to show the world that not all of America agrees with Trump and what he says. If anyone was protesting here, I would go.

Other than that video? Since I’m not black, or gay, or Mexican, or Muslim, or countries on the brink of being drowned by sea rise, or an immigrant – the video, and his other comments about women, and his choice of Pence and now Bannon, do make me feel personally threatened and more-so, threatened for my daughters, especially since they tick two additional boxes in the “out” list.

I have a 16 year old Ethiopian student, Hermon, living here this year. She said, “Trump saw the hate in people and tapped into it to raise to power – that makes people scared.” I think it was fear, not hate, but the rise in hate crimes show that empowered fear has moved to entitled hatred. I think some people feel entitled to abuse other people now, and it’s because they have been empowered by societies’ acceptance of Trump.

What he says is in the nature of a sociopath, in my opinion, so it’s difficult to try and pick apart specific things he’s said, because I see everything he says as ways to get to an end. The end is attention on Trump, and possibly power. Just like Duarte said, “I don’t care about these people” when questioned about the human rights of those killed by his police, Trump doesn’t care about the people mowed down in his path toward attention. He seems to take absolutely no accountability for whipping up a frenzy against any particular group. And those people are scared. Within days of the election, I’ve talked to Mexican immigrants who want to know what happens to their American children if they are deported, to a Muslim friend who says her friends are scared to wear the hijab, but on the good side (in her opinion) “people in our congregation are really turning more to God now,” and I’ve fielded calls from refugees who’ve asked me if they will be able to stay since they are still waiting for their green cards.

I absolutely would be protesting to show marginalized neighbors, and the world, that not everyone buys into the idea that we must have enemies, that to be “great” we must put people down and blame them and scapegoat them. That we lump people in groups together – “the Mexicans,” “the Blacks,” “the Chinese,” “Muslims.”

Protesting long and loud may be what protects us. We already are in a bubble where we have no idea how many people in the world think we are hypocrites and would like to see us brought down a few pegs. We don’t get enough news about what is being said about us in Russia, in Pakistan, in China, in Iran. I think we have to show them that we are not all of this myopic mindset, and that we do have compassion and believe all humans have dignity.

I would not be protesting about the electoral college and it’s determination of the election’s outcome, though I’ve thought since technology has increased that it’s insane we have it. That is the system we’ve set up – it’s not democracy, but it’s our system, a system first designed so that white, male landowners could decide who would be in charge, and tweaked over the years to be more inclusive (and also less inclusive if you look at gerrymandering etc). I would be protesting what this sociopath has spewed out – words unlike any in the history I remember of our countries’ leaders – and saying I don’t agree.

Heidi Mehltretter

If the diagnosis is sociopathy, then that is scary. The question I see many asking is what alternative explanations there are for the behavior? There are many behaviors that get less press that are contrary to that explanation. Truthfully, I can’t know which is accurate. I’m not willing to jump to that conclusion because I see ‘facts’ presented by mass media to support that narrative and avoiding topics that detract from that narrative.

In my opinion, Trump really ought to take a strong stance against the ‘delorable’ behaviors by those emboldened by his victory. He can be clear about what he stands for. He needs to be more clear. Otherwise, the nefarious explanation is the default. I certainly hope that’s not how it plays out.

Alicia Parr

What other explanations are people putting forth? I’m more than willing to look at other reasons. I suggest sociopathy because is the only one that seems to fit the many traits I see that match up to that personality disorder, my visceral response to him after having a long and close personal experience with a sociopath, and what I saw in the primary debates, where people just could not debate him – he didn’t conform to the norms that make debate possible.

Here’s a link to traits:

I relate to what Elizabeth Warren said about why many people followed him, though I’m not sure I’d put evangelicals in the group of “people” she is talking about.

Heidi Mehltretter


An expression or declaration of objection, disapproval, or dissent, often in opposition to something a person is powerless to prevent or avoid.

Heidi –

You’ve got me wondering whether I knew what’s actually going on in the protests and what it is that is being protested.

· The policies trump has suggested he would implement

· The language he used

· The actions some are now taking, feeling permission to attack people from groups they don’t like

· The outcome of the election

If the protests are about the first three items, I’m with you. But my sense is that they are also about the outcome of the election. Most clearly, this is the person declaring that Trump “is not my president”. Sorry, but he is our president.

What would you be protesting, Heidi?


All but the last one – but more about the language. Most from a need to show others that just because someone wins, that person not speak for all of us, and, more importantly to me, to help mitigate the danger people feel.

I do know some are protesting the electoral college, I just see no effectiveness in doing that. The few times the electoral college has swayed the election, it’s been in favor or Republicans, as far as I know. The Republican majority in power isn’t going to change that. That, and gerrymandering, and Citizen’s United, and the gutting of the voting rights act should have been protested non-stop BEFORE the election.

Sorry, wrong link on Senator Warren:

Heidi Mehltretter

Interesting that you say that, Mike. A few years ago I read a book called the Sociopath Next Door. This book was panned by the NYT reviewer, so you can take this with salt. But, the gist of the argument the author was making was that we have times in society that we call upon sociopaths to lead us. She placed Bill Clinton on that spectrum. Then, there is a pendulum swing away from sociopaths as leaders, a reaction to their lack of empathy, perhaps. If I remember the book accurately, she put forth that we are in a time period that would see a rise in sociopaths.

Heidi Mehltretter

I had a partner that was one a few years back. Good to have him as your pitbull, but as things go that pitbull is always ready to turn on you too.

My point is that our values can blind us to the good, and the bad and the ugly of those who are different than us.

It’s funny that you are not afraid of Hillary Clinton, who many I know consider the most dangerous kind of sociopath, those who exist in shadows who people never would think are…

Most of the things you believe about TRUMP are partially contrived by the media…he never called all mexicans coming here murderers and rapists, he said he would ban muslims temporarily until we could figure out what was going on–both logical facts, along with the rest…and I’m very sorry to say I have been privy to conversations by men and WOMEN When it comes to discussing what parts are going to be grabbed.

So your pathology is a norm…for others, and how you might act or talk is a pathology for others, so these are very difficult things to value and decide in our culture–as to who is what and the utility of such, and that is more a fear for me than either Trump or Hillary.


Hmm. I looked up sociopath and I think that my wife is married to one.
At least that’s what she tells me.
And like mike said “one persons sociopath is another’s hero.” I am definitely mine.
And we often go to lengths to defend the sociopath whom we deem a hero.

Perhaps anyone who wants to throw their hat into the “president of the free world” ring, especially these mediascopic times, is a bit narcissist and maybe narcissus and his profile is given to a bit of a sociopathology.


Was pointed to this article. It’s long, but an interesting assessment by an anti-Trump person.

“Listen. Trump is going to be approximately as racist as every other American president. Maybe I’m wrong and he’ll be a bit more. Maybe he’ll surprise us and be a bit less. But most likely he’ll be about as racist as Ronald Reagan, who employed Holocaust denier Pat Buchanan as a senior advisor. Or about as racist as George Bush with his famous Willie Horton ad. Or about as racist as Bill “superpredator” Clinton, who took a photo op in front of a group of chained black men in the birthplace of the KKK. Or about as racist as Bush “doesn’t care about black people!” 43. He’ll have some scandals, people who want to see them as racist will see them as racist, people who don’t will dismiss them as meaningless, and nobody will end up in death camps.”

“Stop fearmongering. Somewhere in America, there are still like three or four people who believe the media, and those people are cowering in their houses waiting for the death squads.
Stop crying wolf. God forbid, one day we might have somebody who doesn’t give speeches about how diversity makes this country great and how he wants to fight for minorities, who doesn’t pose holding a rainbow flag and state that he proudly supports transgender people, who doesn’t outperform his party among minority voters, who wasn’t the leader of the Salute to Israel Parade, and who doesn’t offer minorities major cabinet positions. And we won’t be able to call that guy an “openly white supremacist Nazi homophobe”, because we already wasted all those terms this year.

Stop talking about dog whistles. The kabbalistic similarities between “dog-whistling” and “wolf-crying” are too obvious to ignore.

Stop writing articles breathlessly following everything the KKK says. Stop writing several times more articles about the KKK than there are actual Klansmen. Remember that thing where Trump started out as a random joke, and then the media covered him way more than any other candidate because he was so outrageous, and gave him what was essentially free advertising, and then he became President-elect of the United States? Is the lesson you learned from this experience that you need 24-7 coverage of the Ku Klux Klan?

Stop using the words “white nationalist” to describe Trump. When you describe someone as a white nationalist, and then they win, people start thinking white nationalism won. People like winners. This was entirely an own-goal and the perception that white nationalism is now the winning team has 1% to do with Trump and 99% to do with his critics.”


Yes, us humans are messy people.

It’s still so simple to see that there are major differences of values between “4” basic social motives (McClelland)–> SGD

Power –> CP-RED

Avoidance –> DQ-BLUE

Achievement –> ER-ORANGE

Affiliation –> FS-GREEN

Of course there are 24 variations (4!), but you can begin to boil things down into those in the west.

You have to note Survival –> AN-BEIGE

And Kinship –> BO-PURPLE, but not in the “west.”

Since flavors reside you get (6!) = 720, and that’s why so much noise!

However those core motives sitting in those 4 buckets in the west tell a story.

In the east, it’s much simpler because density and frequency have not gained enough weight to displace the 2 core systems (2!) – 1 (survival) + 1 entering (DQ-BLUE… or 3! = 6 variations in the east.

Just figurative perspectives, but it’s interesting to watch mismatches such as USA and Russia (which got a lot of its heritage from other places than the west).

These values mismatches and their motive precursors + the nurturing environment lead to all the noise and variation but the closer you are to the core motive density, the greater pathology you sense in values of another core which tends to be opposing.

That’s what we have now between FSG and CPR, this is not merely ERO AND FSG, TRUMP et al are a POWER core and Obama et al is an AFFILIATION core.

That’s why so many are hurting because the difference in reality for those core motives are polar in a lot of cases.

Of course, this is my idea of the model and it’s only possibly partially explanatory but being able to simply explain a lot of things has value even with the risk of oversimplification. The other 719 models are still out there;)


“Of course there are 24 variations (4!), but you can begin to boil things down into those in the west.”

What do you mean by “variations” here? 24 would be the number of permutations of those 4 social motives e.g. 4 choices for the strongest/densest, 3 choices for second strongest/densest etc. Is that what you mean?

Also “”4″ basic social motives (McClelland)–”. I’ve only seen 3 motives in McClelland (looked through his Human Motivation for “avoidance” and could not find it), and didn’t identify with any of them. It was sane making 10 years ago or so when you told me about avoidance. Are these 4 McClelland’s or is the fourth, avoidance, Jay’s?


Yes, there are 24 ways that 4 things can be combined and that doesn’t account for hybrids, but if I can explain even 30-40% of what’s going on with some statistical probability, then “I” will and so does all of psychology!

Of course it’s nice to get into Reiss land with 80s and 90s;)

And I’ll have to check my copy sometime, I reported for the past 2 decades that he never said it was a social motive but he wrote about it, I’ll have to find out where.

And yes I also reported that I was the one that named it as a social motive system although I remember reading him write about.

But he was different than I, as he would never name something obvious if he couldn’t prove it…I don’t have that affliction and believe that in reality we often identify things far in advance of actual proof that are helpful, and no QUESTION, avoidance fits the bill;)


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