Some years ago, members from the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left wing group in America espousing terror, drove to a private home in Berkeley, California, took heiress Patty Hearst—who was 19—threw her in the trunk of their car and drove off with her. As she remained kidnapped for a few days, her kidnappers released a recording of their ransom demands. They didn’t want money, but millions of dollars in food distributed to food pantries in exchange for her release. Then an odd thing happened.
As she later said, Hearst came to see her kidnappers as comrades, and that she loved one of them, Willie Wolfe. Less than two months later, photos from a surveillance camera showed Patty carrying a machine gun with the others in the lobby of a bank in San Francisco, as she and the others held up that place and made off with the money.
Later on, she got released or escaped—I forget which—and was eventually arrested and put on trial. Part of her defense was that after her kidnapping, she suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, an illness discovered by psychiatrists the year before that results in hostages developing positive feelings toward their captors. I think she spent time in jail. But then she was released and has lived a relatively normal life since.
As for the SLA, as it was called, it came to an end over time. They’d tried to move to Los Angeles, but when the police surrounded many of the members in a house in L.A., a gunfight ensued and the house burned to the ground, killing many inside, and the surviving members moved back to the Bay Area. But that’s another story.
I think it is fair to say that as a longtime liberal, I am now suffering under the Stockholm Syndrome as it pertains to our President-elect. I have been finding good in Donald Trump. Maybe he’s not so bad. He’s all we’ve got, after all. We elected him.
I must say that I am not the first to be suffering from this. Barack Obama was the first. He’s come near to even heaping praise on Mr. Trump. Since then, more liberals have expressed similar feelings. Other liberals, still mourning the loss of the election, call these traitors “Normalizers,” as in, well, now, everything returns to normal.
Frankly, it’s not so bad. I spent the better part of a year terrified that Donald Trump would become President, rip up the Constitution, end our remarkable checks-and-balances system by discharging judges, declaring a State of Emergency, burning down the Capital so the Congress couldn’t convene, attending KKK rallies and essentially turning America into a police state.
It is now clear to me this is not going to happen. Trump is clearly working within the Presidential framework. American democracy will survive and we will now have an era of firm Republican conservatism for a while, balancing the liberal era that came before.
Trump has personality flaws. Gail Collins in her column a few days ago in The New York Times said one of these flaws could be that he can’t remember something after he’s said it. He’ll even deny what he said. As a result, he can begin to be seen as a well-meaning but crazy uncle who needs guidance to get through life.
Interestingly, foreign leaders are beginning to help. Trump took a phone call from the president of Taiwan, congratulating him on his election last week. Mistake. We do not recognize Taiwan. No American President has talked to a President of Taiwan since 1979, when we ceased recognition of that, uh, country, to smooth a way for good relations with China.
American diplomats expressed serious alarm that Trump had taken that call, but then the head of China sent a message saying that Taiwan’s President was taking advantage of Trump’s naiveté. Things are tricky, but are being worked out with China. Trump will figure it out. So forget that phone call.
I predict that the rest of the leaders of the world will also see the worth in helping Donald Trump along. This is a good country. This is a bad country. You’ll learn. As a result, the leaders of the world might join hands and just forget about fighting wars with one another for a while, while they embark on this project.
So welcome to the Stockholm Syndrome. It could save us all.