Everyone Wants To Be Me
Speaking at a campaign event in Colorado two days ago, President Obama, in the course of prattling on about all the things America's the best at (weirdly, he didn't mention income equality, social mobility, health care, poverty, basic education, longevity, or literacy, but never mind), also said this:
On the other hand, Obama did remind his listeners that America is still a young nation, and maybe this is what he meant: "In children, inflated self-views and grandiose feelings, which are characteristics of narcissism, are part of the normal self-development. Children typically cannot understand the difference between their actual and their ideal self, which causes an unrealistic perception of the self."
"And so no matter what the naysayers tell us, no matter how dark the other side tries to make things look, the fact is there is not another country on Earth that would not gladly trade places with the United States of America." He concluded by saying that all the best things we're going to do will "remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth."
This reminded me of something. It's called Narcissistic personality disorder. Symptoms include:
• Reacting to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation
• Taking advantage of others to reach their own goals
• Exaggerating their own importance, achievements, and talents
• Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
• Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
• Becoming jealous easily
• Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others
• Being obsessed with oneself
• Pursuing mainly selfish goals
• Trouble keeping healthy relationships
• Becoming easily hurt and rejected
• Setting goals that are unrealistic
• Wanting "the best" of everything
Given a choice, would you spend time with someone who not only believed he was the best and the greatest, who not only believed that you and everyone else wanted to trade places with him, but who also loudly and frequently insisted on sharing such views with you? Would you find such a person a good neighbor? Trustworthy? Psychologically stable?
I think America would be better off on every measure if we could focus more on being a good nation and less on being a great one.