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Gurlanik, O. (2017). Democrazy. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(3):363-364.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3):363-364



Orna Gurlanik, Psy.D.


People in my practice responded to Trump’s election as a personal tragedy. The rise of a new politics exposed a nest of hidden hatred within America’s heart, leaving patients shocked, derealized, insomniac, betrayed, and lost. Miriam, who had never shed a tear throughout eight years of treatment, now sobbed regularly: “… My entire upbringing centered around the core values of human rights. … I had no idea this even mattered to me so much. … I can’t quite believe these values are not shared by all of us. … I feel so betrayed by my people.” Before the elections, Suzanne was in the process of trying to get her family to understand the aftermath of having been raped in high school: “Knowing everything that happened to me and claiming that she cared, how could my mom still vote for Trump?! He boasts about being a sexual predator, does she deep down think that it is okay?!”

Soon after the initial shock lawlessness began to permeate patients’ stories, mirroring the waves of hate crimes across the country. Kurt came in horrified by a policeman taunting his black friend: “Obama will no longer be here to protect you”; Kay, a public school teacher, anguished over her middle school African American student asking, “Is slavery going to come back?”

A reactionary, Trump has been all about going back to something that was (i.e., making America great again). People were suffering a kind of whiplash, pulled back from important conversations about Black Lives and sexual fluidity to the reality of Trump’s White Supremacy.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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