The Goldwater Rule Psychiatrists who belong to the American Psychiatric Association are constrained in their public comments by the Goldwater rule, which guides them to speak mostly of diagnostic categories and people in general. (Psychology Today)
Recently, while watching a number of news shows discussing the “mental fitness” of Donald Trump, I was reminded of a couple of things when the news hosts, always qualified what they were saying by invoking the Goldwater Rule, as did other pundits.
Here’s what struck me about people saying, “we can’t diagnose without an examination and an assessment without an examination, is based upon our perceptions of the observations” (or words to that effect). They also acknowledged they were just “lay persons” having the discussion–no expertise in the matter.
Here’s my issue and it’s more “civil responsibilities” in jury selection. To my knowledge–very few people selected for jury duty have any expertise in the matter before them, yet they are expected to listen to attorneys arguing their points, witness testimony, judge’s instructions and make a decision regarding a person’s life or a company’s continued existence. More often than, the people serving on a jury may or may not have a high school diploma, maybe a college degree, but most don’t have medical or legal expertise in matter they’re asked to judge.
If jurors are expected to render a decision in a trial situation without expertise, why can’t news commentators and hosts, render a conclusion about a situation they observe up close and personal on a daily basis? This is extremely curious to me. Most of the journalists who accompany trump or are in the White House on a consistent basis, know exactly what is behavior is and whether or not–he should be deemed, “mentally fit” to be in the Oval Office. After all, none of them are psychiatrists who have to worry about being removed or humiliated by the field of psychiatry.
From my perch–usually from sitting in my recliner (arm-chair psychiatry, I guess), I observe what trump says and does on a fairly regular basis since March 2016. As an educator with a background of special education knowledge, I noticed from the beginning there was something wrong and I stated it on more than one occasion through my blogs here and on Medium. I listened to the speech pattern and knew there was a disconnect between neurotransmitters in his brain. “Through research, we know that mental disorders are brain disorders. Evidence shows that they can be related to changes in the anatomy, physiology, and chemistry of the nervous system. When the brain cannot effectively coordinate the billions of cells in the body, the results can affect many aspects of life” (The National Institute of Mental Health).
What I’ve observed is that his limited vocabulary, inability to clearly enunciate certain words or pronounce them correctly is a clear indication of something not functioning properly. His inability to demonstrate empathy and appropriate responses in specific situations was another indicator that a disconnect exists which is resultant of a malignant narcissistic personality disorder (again, chemical development or lack thereof in the brain). His recent bouts of forgetting where he is (documented on video on at least three different occasions) and struggling for words along with his incessant gestures while “reading a speech” speak volumes about his lack of confidence in his ability.
Now, for those who have read most of my blogs you might think I’m being nasty since I have no respect for him. I’m not being nasty, I’m simply stating my observations which have been discussed by many others. Am I offering a psychiatric opinion? No. I’m concerned that the opinions that have been offered are being ignored simply because he won’t submit to a neurological examination to determine what’s going on inside his brain and those psychiatrists who have offered opinions, haven’t examined him.
My point to all this is–why should jurors determine the conclusion of a matter when they have no expertise when we won’t allow the experts to weigh in on a situation that could be detrimental to our entire society or the world (nuclear codes access)? That seems to be an oxymoronic dichotomy that should be rectified. Will we ever see it? I don’t know, but I’m going to continue to observe and write my conclusions so that if there comes a time that something horrible happens, I’ll have to find a media outlet and scream about the conclusions drawn when no one else–would.
I’m standing my ground as I prepare to make a difference in our society (if we survive a nuclear attack).