Is Trump Derangement Syndrome real?

Sure. Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. I know it is another weird thing that had Barack Obama’s name on it that is now just flipped to have Donald Trump’s name on it. If Obama did it, Trump either wants to reverse it or take credit for it. The last thing he will ever do is give credit to someone else for something they did.

I guess it makes sense that anyone who supports a president would use this tag to disqualify anyone who opposes the administration. It started in 2003 when Charles Krauthammer diagnosed George W. Bush’s detractors with Bush Derangement Syndrome. Less than two years into Obama’s first term, we had people calling out Obama Derangement Syndrome. Now anti-Trump sentiment attacks Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Honestly, with the number of scandals, stories and tweets to react to, it feels like our national train has left the tracks.

But the derangement syndrome trope is nothing more than a tired debate tactic trying to discredit those with whom you disagree.

Because Trump — or those who have access to his account — talks to the world everyday, I think some people are starting to feel the effects of news overload. If you hear hoofbeats outside the window to your office, you should think it is a horse and not a zebra. But once you know the circus is in town and a zebra escaped from its pen, suddenly every hoofbeat will make you wonder if it isn’t actually a zebra after all.

I can’t say with certainty that Trump or those in his administration are white nationalists. I do know that white nationalists feel more at home under the Republican tent than ever before and seem to be emboldened by some immigration and travel ban policies. People chanting “build the wall” are rarely concerned about economics, if you know what I mean.

I think the credible discussion that can be had about whether Trump and his supporters are racist or have white nationalist leanings loses credibility when conspiracy theories pop up from the other side of the aisle. A woman of Mexican and Jewish heritage was sitting behind Judge Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearings. When she crossed her arms, the fingers of her right hand made a circle like the “ok” symbol. This symbol is also used by white supremacists since the fingers make a “w” and the thumb and forefinger look like a “p” to make a “wp” sign for white power.

First, this is a rare hand signal. I’ve seen some of the kooks use it online. But I really think this is one time where people are trying to turn a normal horse into a zebra. The woman didn’t even know she would be on camera or what part of her body would be viewable. I think there may be some derangement showing through there.

More became visible when Kavanaugh was approached by a man whose daughter was a victim in a school shooting. He came up to the judge as the hearing wound down, introduced himself and tried to shake his hand. Kavanaugh is being criticized by many for turning away without a handshake.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough said the man deserved a handshake because his daughter had been a victim.

“He’s the one who had to go to his 14-year-old daughter’s funeral and go to the grave site and bury his 14-year-old daughter,” the host said. “And go there instead of going to her school events this year — in what should have been a joyous year, he has to go take flowers to her graveside and Brett Kavanaugh can’t shake the guy’s hand.”

If Trump appointed me to the Supreme Court and I am going through tense hearings, I don’t think I would be very cordial when someone I don’t know comes up to introduce himself as the father of a school shooting victim.

At what point in history has it become normal for that to happen at a Senate committee hearing? The last thing I would expect is for some random guy to come up and introduce himself to me like we were at a friend’s birthday party. I can’t imagine a scenario where someone thinks it is a good idea to give people in attendance access to meet and greet the nominee. It’s a hearing, not a VIP event before a concert.

Kavanaugh’s views on gun control probably don’t line up with a liberal agenda or this father’s. But not shaking a hand in that situation doesn’t prove anything about the nominee except that he is a bit skittish after a room full of protesters were removed and some arrests were made.

Is it fair to say that Trump Derangement Syndrome causes all disagreements? No. There is plenty to pick apart with this administration.

But are some people so affected by Trump that they are expecting zebras when horses walk by? I think there is at least a little of that creeping into the national debate.

— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at