Actions like separating children from their immigrant parents, with no records kept by which the children and parents might be reunited, certainly could be characterized as attacking the relational bonds, the more so as the children’s suffering and decompensation are well documented. Other executive orders leading to withdrawing funding for remedying the situations of people who are vulnerable, certainly are not impeded by concern for that vulnerability. If anything, 45 seems easily willing to characterize these vulnerable people as having brought their situations on themselves—by being poor, by living in the vicinity of environmental hazards, by working while studying at universities, by being born with disabilities—or at the least being deserving of mockery.
I believe also that many of 45’s well-known practices can be characterized as attacks on linking. Consider his pattern of hiring contractors and stiffing them on the agreed payment after the work has been completed. He has reneged on contracts with everyone from plumbers to lawyers to venues for events. He is so well-known for this pattern that he has encountered increasing difficulty hiring lawyers to represent him. Isn’t a contract a sort of relationship, even if a transactional one? Isn’t our entire capitalistic system predicated on payment received for work performed? To claim many many times that the work is always substandard makes me think of the (grown) enraged child finding a caretaker disappointing, inadequate. (There is also the issue of feeling entitled to receive anything and everything for free, but that is not my focus here.)
Fred Trump kept 45 afloat financially to flaunt as a puppet, albeit an implausibly successful one. Mary Trump’s examination of her family’s finances establishes that 45 has never made money in any of his ventures, and that Fred’s ‘loans’ were outright gifts. In this light, The Art of the Deal seems more like The Art of Being Born Into a Mob Family. Could 45 ever become a real boy? Becoming a reality TV success was not enough to reassure him. A ghost-written autobiography, whose author has been vocal about his profound regret for legitimizing Trump, was not enough. Literal golden walls and toilets were not enough. Becoming President would strike some people as a high success, but 45 has found his fantasies often thwarted. No military parade to coopt July 4—no invulnerable wall to keep out dangers—no Nobel Peace Prize—not even the cover of Time. Only what I imagine to be an indefinable unease, a haunting suspicion that he is getting stroked to be put to use by cold and powerful men. Still. Again.