Narcissism Is Dominating American Politics

America, Please Stop Entertaining Narcissism

Taylor Swift never trusts a narcissist and neither should you.

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With the results of the 2018 mid-term elections in, the future of American politics is hopeful for some and apprehensive for others. The past few years marked a particularly heated time in American history, climaxing with Donald Trump's election into the presidential office. Maybe it was his Republican status, sexual harassment allegations, racist/ableist jibes, or another one of his faults that sparked outrage among the vast majority of the public. There was one key factor, however, that hit too close to home for me.

Donald Trump is a narcissist.

No, I don't just mean that he's full of himself, because he is, but that's only the surface of my accusation.

Narcissism is an epidemic sweeping our nation. It's an epidemic that has been allowed to grow because so many people misunderstand or belittle its influence. Most would associate it with the likes of the Kardashian-Jenners and selfie-crazed Instagrammers. This isn't wrong, but it's a thin layer of what this illness truly consists of. What I am referring to goes deeper than a natural tendency towards self-centeredness. We're dealing with a full-on mental disorder.


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According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and fantasies of power and importance along with a need for admiration. Michael Maccoby of the Harvard Business Review notes that while narcissists make extraordinary, compelling, and charismatic leaders, the weaknesses within this personality type are close to endless. Narcissists are sensitive to criticism, attacking those who threaten their self-image. Narcissists also tend to be poor listeners, explaining their lack of empathy, and have an intense desire for competition. Of course this description does not fit the personality of every narcissist, but it does manifest primarily in people who hold a leadership role, be it in politics, business, religion, etc.

My family history is a series of consequences and division created from the choices made by selfish individuals. Growing up surrounded by narcissists (Christians, to make it worse) opened my eyes to a new world of manipulation and overwhelming hypocrisy. This exposure to the devastating effects of narcissism and toxic conservatism made the 2016 election uncomfortably personal for me.

I used to go to school with a narcissist. When this person spoke, the entire room went quiet to hear what they had to say. Everything was about them, and no matter the conversation they always managed to squeeze a few "I's" or "my's" in. This person knew how to make people feel good, knew exactly what to say to get someone to do things their way (which was often). It was as if they had the students and teachers under a spell and let me tell you: it was scary.

This person, however, did not like me at all. Thanks to the influence the mental disorder has on my family, I know a narcissist when I see one and I know what they want: attention. It's the one thing you never give them because it gives them power. This person noticed that I didn't give them attention so, in return, they ignored me and belittled me and made me feel small. A small price to pay for sanity.

To my conservative and liberal friends, I hope you are reading this knowing I have nothing but love in my heart for you. I believe it is your American duty to vote for political candidates who best represent your values. However, you also have a duty to humanity to elect candidates who respect and uphold the rights of every individual, no matter who they are or where they may come from. There were several policies Donald Trump claimed to support that aligned with my personal views but, had I been 18 in November 2016, Trump's complete and utter lack of respect for certain human beings would have told me all I needed to know: this is a man whose mind is in the wrong place. This is a man unfit for the title of President.

Perhaps it's not that simple to you. I politely disagree. Humans are good at complicating things, usually to avoid the overarching issue. At the end of it all, I believe a person's character should *ahem* trump everything else. I implore you all to deeply consider the people you trust with your vote. I don't care how well a politician represents your values. I don't care if they're the "lesser evil". The ends do not always justify the means. By listening to and entertaining the mindless babble that pours from the mouths of Donald Trump and Kanye West, we're enabling them. They talk to get people talking—about them. As the country begins switching gears for the 2020 election, let's move forward with this in mind. It's time we focused on politicians and influencers who are shaping our nation for the better because, believe it or not, they're out there. Retweet their words, share their stories, discuss their ideology.

Pay your attention to those who actually deserve it.


Additional reading:

https://hbr.org/2004/01/narcissistic-leaders-the-i...

https://observer.com/2016/01/how-to-deal-with-a-na...

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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