I saw a documentary today that opened my eyes to a lot of things. I’ll say more about the documentary later, but the most significant impact it had on me was to give me a greater understanding of the meaning of insanity. At some point in that seven part documentary I found myself pondering when normal behavior ends and insanity begins. Most of us would say that insanity is simply abnormal behavior. But that begs the question what is normal and what is abnormal? If I had to define insanity from the perspective of the insane, I would say it is just normal behavior, because an insane person may simply be doing what feels natural for them. They may be too close to the condition to know he/she is insane. From the perspective of the observer of the insanity or an insane person who recognizes his/her own insanity, I define it, as when the normal expectations and conventions based on the laws of biology, physics and chemistry appear suspended or nonexistent. An example of the physical equivalent of the actual psychological occurrence is an attack of vertigo. A few years ago I had an inner ear problem that caused an acute attack of vertigo. Most people think vertigo is just dizziness but it’s much, much more than that. It’s as though you were flung into outer space, spinning in all directions, unable determine where you were relative to anything else in the universe. The experience was so frightening I just knew I was about to die. Psychologically speaking, imagine how you would feel if all of a sudden, it appeared to you that everyone was walking around with their head cut off and tucked under their arms. I think you would find it quite frightening and unnerving.
Collectively, our society has been living in an acute state of insanity for the past two years. The social equivalent of madness is when all of the conventions and rules you’ve taken for granted your entire life have been suddenly suspended or become nonexistent. As a result, we’ve all been thrust into a state of fear and panic. Life has lost its sense of predictability. The insanity began with the collapse of the real estate market in 2007. The US real estate market was the most stable and predictable in the world since World War II. Its collapse resulted in the collapse of the economy worldwide. It happened because the Republican congress and White House decided to exploit that predictability (and dissolve the very safeguards that made it so predictable) in favor of Wall Street brokers and investment bankers. In response to the catastrophe, America elected the most competent, honorable and mentally grounded man they could find President of the United States and a Democratic congress to assist him. The only problem was, this man happened to be black. At that time in our history, it was still sacrosanct that a black man could never be president of the United States. We had only just accepted the idea of black quarterbacks and coaches in the NFL. The fact that this black man was elected sent 30% of the American public into a downward spiral of madness that is affecting everything it touches, like something in a Stephan King movie. Since then, the madness has spread to all facets of our society. We’ve seen more and more outrageous behavior from public officials. Murders perpetrated by police officers on camera, a complete breakdown of time tested rules of decorum, protocol and servility in the US congress and state governments and the escalation of mass shootings all over America have become common occurrences. This culminated with the election of a man who is the exact opposite of the black president – amoral, incompetent, and hateful and himself mad as a hatter. He has completely dismantled or ignored all legalities and rules that are there to maintain order and keep us out of chaos. We are now at the point of the government itself beginning to shutdown. Now, we all are experiencing the mental and physical breakdown that is commensurate with living in a state of madness.
Since Trump’s election was primarily made possible by the efforts of white people, I couldn’t understand how the people who voted for him could be so gullible and blind to this man’s shortcomings and so willing to tolerate his lies and blunders no matter how many hardships they have to endure as a result. As a black man, I’ve seen white society do some pretty dumb things over my 70 years of life. But being conditioned from birth to believe that white people always eventually get it right, especially in my country, with each act of madness Trump commits, I keep saying to myself, “OK, now is where they’ll come to their senses and get rid of this maniac before he kills us all”. Yet, so far, it hasn’t happened. After watching the documentary I mentioned at the beginning of this post, now I understand the psychosis of my white brethren and why they seemingly remain unable to resist ending Trump’s toxic effects, in the same way the human immune system can’t recognize a cancer cell for the pathogen it is. I couldn’t understand their devotion to Trump because until the documentary, I didn’t really understand what Trump represents to the hardcore 30% of white people who support him no matter what he does. I knew it intellectually but I didn’t understand it on a visceral level, like the distinction between knowing didactically and intellectually how to ride a bicycle without actually physically knowing how to ride the bike. Sometimes, you have to see something unique to your own existence that parallels something unique to someone else’s existence before you can understand why that person is behaving the way he/she is.
Yesterday, I watched a seven-hour documentary on Lifetime TV entitled, “Surviving R Kelly”. In case you don’t know, R Kelly is one of the most accomplished R&B writers and performers of the past 30 years. He has written and produced some of the most iconic music of our culture, “I Believe I Can Fly”, being the most famous and the one most likely to be recognized by all members of our society, be they black, white or in between. The documentary went into great depth and detail about a sex tap of him having sex with a 14 year-old minor, committing the most despicable acts of debauchery imaginable including urinating in the child’s mouth. He claimed it was not he in the tapes, but some doppelganger impersonating him. I can remember myself being unwilling to believe this man could actually do something like that even though I was not a big fan. The documentary went on to demonstrate that not only was it true, but also was part of a lifestyle that included harems underage girls as sex slaves all over the country. These facts were documented by the testimony of dozens of women attesting to events that took place over a period of three decades. They included victims, mothers, siblings and even fathers. There were friends and relatives of the victims and employees of R Kelly, all attesting to the truth of every allegation ever raised about R Kelly and his sexual deviance. The most poignant fact that the documentary brought to light is that he was able to get away with all his transgressions and acquitted of the smoking gun child pornography charges against him, primarily because of the unwavering support he received from the very black community he was victimizing, including the parents of the child he allegedly victimized, and because all of his victims were black females, which American culture is inclined to believe are more promiscuous and likely deserving of whatever happened to them.
There were several psychologist interviewed in the program who attempted to explain both how the victims were such easy prey and why the public, especially the black community, was so loathed to believe that R Kelly could be guilty of such crimes. The victims themselves were impressionable teenaged girls overwhelmed by his fame and financial power, many of whom were lured into R Kelly’s world by the promise of assistance in launching careers in music and entertainment and by the fact that children of that age are not capable of making rational decisions in matters of the heart. Those traits are universal to girls their age – it had nothing to do with race. With respect to the black community’s reluctance to hold him accountable, they explained that his music was so powerful as to evoked the essence of the most cherished memories of our lives. In my case, my favorite song of his was “Step In The Name Of Love”. That song evoked some of the sweetest memories of my life. It brought to mind the days of high school puppy love and sweet dances with girls I thought were fun and beautiful in my days of Hirsch High School in Chicago, and dances like the “The Walk” and “The Gaulster Bop”. (Gaulster was Chicago slang for black gangster). To indict R Kelly would require I reject the sweetest memories of my life, which itself speaks to the musical genius of this man who wasn’t even born when I was in high school and yet able to connect with me on such a deep level.
To reject R Kelly would in some way be tantamount to nullifying the best years of the lives of many in the black community, especially his most ardent fans. They don’t understand that it’s not R Kelly but the myth of R Kelly that they fear losing. As human beings we tend to link certain icons with the best moments of our lives and blind us to the human frailties and flaws of the icons. Which brings me back to Donald Trump. As I watched that documentary, it was clear to me that R Kelly and Donald Trump are kindred spirits. Almost everything said and every accusation made against R. Kelly has been said and made against Donald Trump. They are both self-centered psychopaths, who have no regard for any human beings other than themselves. Trump is iconic of the days when white people ruled the world and all people of color were kept their place – white people (white men in particular) owned everything worth having. The problem is, the damage that R Kelly can inflict on the black community, though horrible, is miniscule compared to the damage Donald Trump can inflict on all of American society and the world, as President of the United States. So to that hardcore 30% of white people who continue to blindly support Donald Trump I say, I get it. I understand why it’s hard to let go of the things he says and the acts he commits which seem to validate everything you believe to be true of this great nation of ours. Never the less, you must let go of all that. Not only have the world changed, but also the R Kellies’ and Donald Trumps of the world will inevitably self-destruct. The problem is people like them are prepared and would actually prefer to take all of us down with them. Donald Trump, R Kelly, Vladimir Putin and MBA of Saudi Arabia are all cut from the same mold of sexual deviance and delusions of grandeur and sense of entitlement that will eventually push the human race to extinction if left unchecked for too long. Please, wake up before it’s too late.