Thursday, July 21, 2016

Why Trump Should NEVER Become President

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's a broiling day (by local standards) here in Minnesota. My life here the last several years seems to have so thickened my blood that the heat associated with a typical summer day in Texas (where I grew up) now leaves me feeling positively wilted. Heat is a good analogue when talking about the human experience of anger. And this nation, the United States of America, appears to be virtually marinating in anger these days. Who serves as a good example of a lightning rod for American anger? Why Donald Trump of course.

I have watched the Trump phenomenon with growing horror over the last several months. Like many Americans I thought it was a big stretch for him to realistically compete in the 2016 American presidential election. But I suppose I underestimated the seething anger filling so many people in the American populace. I believe it correct to say that Trump has made it possible for racists, homophobes, misogynists and simply deeply hateful people to feel very safe exposing their darkness for all the world to see. It isn't a pretty sight. Parallels have been made in many media regarding the similarities between Trump and Adolf Hitler of Nazi era Germany. And though the parallels aren't exact I do find some of them very compelling. The United States seems to be going through its collective version of a dark night of the soul.

Some of my closest friends know that I took part in a leadership training within the last twelve months. This training was known as the Neighborhood Leadership Program. This program is offered by the very respected Wilder Foundation based in St. Paul, Minnesota. I have been reflecting on leadership these last many months. Among other things I have been reflecting on how much it appears we need genuine leadership throughout our government here in the United States. To me the ascendancy of one Donald Trump speaks volumes about the appalling leadership vacuum that exists here in this country. How else can you explain how someone so obviously unfit for the Office of the President has become the nominee of the Republican Party? There are naturally many people seeking to explain the Trump phenomenon to themselves and the American public. I won't enumerate all those explanations here. I want to focus on just one attribute that I believe is the litmus test for good leadership. That quality is humility. And I honestly cannot detect that Donald Trump has a shred of humility in his person.

As I browsed online sources of definitions of humility I noticed that the definitions provided do not quite encompass what I believe humility genuinely is. I believe that a person described as truly humble is, among other things, aware of the finiteness of human knowledge. A humble person is willing to admit that he (or she) doesn't possess complete knowledge of any one subject in particular or of the world in general. Though many people are aptly described as experts in their professional fields it is nonetheless correct (and wise I think) to acknowledge that we humans can always learn more - because there is always more to learn! If you want to appreciate how much knowledge has been developed by the human race you need only go to some of the largest libraries of the world. Or spend an entire day surfing the Internet and googling different terms. In my opinion humans can and never will have total knowledge...of anything.

When I see Donald Trump on stage I cannot detect a shred of humility in the man. Instead I see a prodigious quantity of what I understand is the antithesis of humility, namely arrogance. So why are so many Americans drawn to such a boorish, arrogant man? I believe it has to be the immense fear that is consuming so many Americans in this day and age. People want reassurances that their lives are going to improve or at least remain viable. And so they buy into a slogan as hollow as "Make America Great Again".

This blog entry is not meant to serve as an exhaustive review of the literature on the topic of leadership and the quality of humility. I will reference just one source here. Consider a 2014 article in the Harvard Business Review. I encourage you to read this article and then contemplate your own observations regarding Donald Trump. How do you think we as a nation will be able to survive let alone thrive if a man as belligerent, deceitful and arrogant as Donald Trump becomes President?

From what I have seen arrogance never ends well. Can you seriously identify a single person in your life whose arrogance didn't eventually cost that person something significant? Consider the example of George W. Bush. Do you recall his arrogance? Do you recall when he virtually encouraged an inflammation of terrorism in the world by saying "Bring it on!"? Consider the cost the United States is still burdened with by Bush's unwise choice to lead the nation into an unnecessary war in the Middle East. Consider all the dead and wounded soldiers. Consider the medical costs, their suffering and the suffering of their families in your own assessment of the wisdom of Bush's choice. Consider also how the war contributed to the destabilization of the Middle East.

It's my impression that arrogance often serves as the mask for a terrible wound. Arrogance, it seems, often masks a feeling of inadequacy...a feeling of being less than. People who first bully others when they themselves are children are, it seems, not uncommonly arrogant. When a person goes looking for a fight you have to wonder what is going on inside that person. A person determined to prove himself to the world through incessant displays of bravado as well as voluminous threats and so on is, I would wager, likely carrying some deep darkness inside.

So no, dear reader, I wouldn't vote for Trump to become President. I wouldn't vote for do anything. Make your own list as to why you might not vote for him. But I clearly know what is at the top of my list.

It's the lack of humility!!!!

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!