How many of you are familiar with the term projection when it comes to psychology? If you are this post will be quick to digest and make a lot of sense at the end of it. For those of you who are not, I will start off with the definition and continue from there.
According to Wikipedia psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.
If you do a search on the subject you will find several articles from psychologists explaining it in further detail along with several examples, which may be relatable. Healthline.com has an article that gives some pretty good insight from Karen R. Koenig, M.ED, LCSW and Sara Lindberg. They write a common example is a cheating spouse who suspects their partner is being unfaithful. Instead of acknowledging their own infidelity, they transfer, or project, this behavior onto their partner. They go on to discuss why we do it, give some other examples of projection and the ways to recognize it in ourselves and how to stop doing it.
Here is their bottom line: It’s human nature to want to protect yourself from painful or negative feelings and experiences. But when this protection turns to projection, it may be time to take a look at why you’re doing it. Doing so can improve not only your self-esteem, but also your relationships with others, whether they be co-workers, a spouse, or close friends.
Now that we are all on the same page it’s time to tie it all into what my blog is all about (politics) and bring it home.
A major event in modern-day political history recently concluded, the Mueller investigation. After 22 months the final outcome was one that half the country knew to be true from the beginning and left the other half in disbelief: no collusion between the Russian government and the president or any members of his campaign and no obstruction. Everything Donald Trump said from the very beginning was confirmed thru an exhaustive, extensive and expensive special counsel investigation that was stacked with Democratic lawyers.
The most telling sign as to why there was projection occurring was the very nature of the investigation and the direction it took. The special counsel was mandated with seeing if there was Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Members of Congress, many in the media and a large portion of the American population could not believe that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton without the aid of foreign intrusion. In fact, the investigation started before the election was held in May 2016 right after the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s alleged improper use of a private email server concluded.
There are several best selling books that go into the Russian collusion theory and why it’s a fabrication in great detail. Feel free to pick the one you like the best and read it to go into the entire minutia. What you will find is that during the 2016 election campaign and for the entirety of Donald Trump’s presidency there were reporters who were uncovering evidence of Russian collusion, not with Trump, but with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Party. The Mueller investigation refused to look into those findings and solely focused on Trump, his family, and his campaign associates.
Perhaps it was pride that led many to believe there was collusion. The idea of a person with zero political experience defeating a former Senator who has been in Washington for decades and has held positions that would certainly deem her as qualified to run the country was unfathomable and shocked the conscience of many. Intellectuals and individuals from Wall Street to Main Street, politicians and constituents from coast to coast who voted against Donald Trump believed in their heart of hearts that something illegal transpired. As the weeks and months went by after the election members of the like-minded media fed them a daily dose of Russian collusion theory, which only further engrained that falsehood as truth. Regardless of the evidence exposed that pointed the collusion in the other direction along with sordid shoddy information from a spy paid by the Democratic party who later admitted the dossier he created was most likely untrue and could not be verified the Mueller investigation still focused on the president and his campaign.
That’s a lot to digest. Think about everything the country and the electorate endured over the past two years. Russian collusion theories dominated the headlines. College educated people who have lived thru many political scandals have just now lived thru what may be one of the biggest scandals of all. What’s worse is that people who consider themselves to be rationale were lied to by a political party who in a continued state of shock and disbelief behaved extremely irrational as well and in turn acted incredibly irresponsible.
Projection can be intentional and unintentional. For the politicians who intentionally promoted this false narrative because they were upset with the election results and wanted to enact revenge on Trump and find a way to change the public opinion and balance of power thru seemingly endless investigations, I say shame on you. Have some decency and prove your case to the American people based on how your ideas will make this country better. For everyone else who unfortunately believed the Russian collusion narrative you can take solace in the fact that you were not alone and you along with many fell victim to one of the oldest sayings in the book; tell a lie long enough and eventually, it will become the truth.