Without naming any names, it seems unfathomable what is transpiring in our nation today. Hatred, bigotry, and vitriol abounds. I am currently obsessed with the musical Hamilton and as I listen to the story of our founding fathers, I can’t help but think of the irony…is this what they fought so hard for, is this what they died for, is this what they envisioned as our future…is this what we are doing with our “shot”?

A narcissist is someone who has an exaggerated sense of self, feelings of entitlement, lack of empathy or guilt, and an obsession with power, vanity, and approval. So what gives, how are people drawn to such individuals?

In times of uncertainty and fear, people are drawn to charismatic leaders who promise greatness. They see these individuals, who do not compromise, who hold rigidly to their beliefs, and who respond vehemently to criticism, as strong, independent, and successful.

The extreme focus of a narcissist on themselves and their appearance means they look “the part” and can make a great impression on others, at least at first. And then when their supporters are “hooked” these supporters overlook or excuse the transgressions of the narcissist. Narcissists are able to spin their arrogance as confidence, their bigotry as beliefs, and their rage as self-defense.

Narcissists take credit for achievements, even those not their own, and they are quick to shift blame to others without any guilt. In this manner, they portray themselves as infallible and God-like. They want to be worshipped and the humble masses oblige.

Unfortunately these characteristics may help narcissists emerge as leaders yet once they reach the top these same characteristics, unchecked, can lead to great destruction…fraud, racism, sexism, even genocide.

Research has shown that when a group is without a leader, a narcissist is often the one to step into that role. Maybe that is why “he who shall not be named” is scarily still around. Maybe if that party would have stopped focusing on how to undermine Obama’s every move and rather focused on finding within their ranks rational potential leaders, a void would not have existed that allowed this debacle to occur.

Or maybe if we focused on healing our country, we would have less fear and therefore less reason to turn to racism and sexism and all the other “isms” as ways to lessen our fears, blame others, and comfort ourselves. Maybe we have to unite instead of divide. Or we can all move to Canada…just make sure you vote first.

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire