I am no expert on politics but this much I know −- a country that values tolerance, acceptance and appreciation for all, cannot afford to have a leader who is bigoted, chauvinistic and xenophobic or simply juvenile.
Regardless of party affiliations, Trump's behavior can be described as crass and belligerent at best. I must say that his conduct reminds me of a much-too predictable scene that has played out occasionally in my middle school classroom where the immature, attention-seeking, self-absorbent adolescent, fueled by the response he is able to elicit from a vulnerable audience, starts to spiral out of control. Mistaking his classmates' responses as genuine fan following and not what it actually is − viz. attention to cheap, distractible entertainment − the young miscreant reaches a veritable high, mocking others and defying authority just to get a reaction. His impressionable mates are initially fascinated by this young man's energy, albeit negative, because it is novel; after all he is bold enough to say the things that no one would dare say and do the things that takes away from the learning process. Unfortunately, the brat forgets that although his antics may temporarily make him king of the hill, he will never be an effective leader because he does not command genuine respect.
Trump's behavior has been progressively disgraceful and unfortunately, just like my 7th grade clown, he fails to comprehend that he is slowly but surely turning into a laughable punk and not a commanding frontrunner. Isn't a crucial trait of a leader the ability to read subtle cues and learn from past mistakes instead of barreling ahead, unstoppable, like a runaway freight train? (The inability and reluctance to reflect on one's shortcomings are attributes much needed to becoming a successful leader of a different kind a.k.a. a dictator/despot/tyrant). Trump seems to have completely lost sight of the position he is running for − the Office of the President of the United States of America, which is not the kind of reality show he is used to, one that is far removed from reality.
As women, would we ordinarily put up with condescending behavior from ill-behaved, bigoted men? Why then are we not turned off by Trump's character or the lack of it? Trump's focus should be educating the public on why he would make a good president without bringing women down when cornered by referring to their physical appearance or the way they conduct themselves, even though they are perfectly capable professionals.
A month after the tasteless confrontation with Fox News's Megyn Kelly, Trump, the quintessential juvenile, was busy retweeting derogatory comments made by his equally shallow Twitter followers; one such retweet called Kelly a "bimbo." The public has an indisputable right to know where a presidential candidate stands on various issues; a journalist's job is to ask tough questions to educate us just like it is the candidate's duty to respond without resorting to personal name-calling.
Am I out of line to expect patience, decency and discipline from the candidates that we are assessing to elect? Is "bimbo" a word that should even be part of the repertoire of someone seeking the world's highest office? The Kelly clash is not an isolated one; openly calling Republican Presidential contender Carly Fiorina unelectable is deplorable. His tasteless statement --
"Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?"
-- is disgraceful and certainly not fit for any man, let alone the future President of the United States. This, to me, is nothing short of disturbing and dangerous behavior − a window into what this man is capable of doing. And that's exactly why this misogynist needs to be stopped.
The other alarming signal is Trump's stand on immigration. Trump, a son of an immigrant mother and married to immigrants twice, appears to have forgotten these crucial facts about himself. It seems to me that there is a deeper underlying issue here that he abhors − skin color. A brown-skinned Latino does not blend in the America that he envisions unlike his Scottish mother or his lily-white Eastern European spouses.
The appalling comments Trump made about Mexicans are completely unfounded, racist and bigoted. The fact that two brothers in Boston inspired by Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, indiscriminately beat a homeless Hispanic man, is testimony to the impact he will continue to have on those who are looking for an excuse to hate others who are different on the outside. Ironically, the 58-year old helpless, harmless victim is not undocumented; his only crime was that he looked "Hispanic" and was "homeless". When confronted by this horrific incident, Trump's toxic response was:
"I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again."
Makes me wonder if Trump's pretentious words and nasty name-calling are a carefully crafted ploy to evade a missing strategic plan that targets America's real problems like homelessness and economic disparity. (Coincidentally, this is in line with my bashful, disruptive student who starts acting out in class to deflect attention from underlying issues of academic deficiencies).
The treatment meted out to Jorge Ramos, one of the most prominent and respected journalists of our times and a statement made to him by one of Trump's cronies -- "Get out of my country" -- reminds me of the rants of a Neo Nazi and the beginnings of a white supremacist cult following. Again, Ramos, although a US citizen, is Hispanic by birth, and 'looks' and 'sounds' Hispanic. No wonder Trump assumed that it was okay to pick on someone who, in his convoluted mind, does not belong here. Also, is it purely a coincidence that the notorious racist/neo-Nazi/anti-Semitic/white nationalist Craig Cobb wants to name a North Dakota town after Donald Trump? Of course not! There is no doubt that Trump's message of hate mongering is resonating with crazies like Cobb. If this is not a dangerous trend, I do not know what is. To dismiss Trump as a lunatic, would not do justice to him. Trump is a successful entrepreneur who knows exactly what he is doing and what he is doing is going after the weaknesses of those who are impressionable and vulnerable, just like my savvy student.
As adults, it is our job to put an end to the tough-talking, arrogant, disrespectful middle schooler's antics because, left unchecked, this fledgling wannabe will turn into a bully, capable of causing serious harm. I believe that it is high time that Trump's towering travesty needs to be stopped before it is too late. Let's remember that a clown whose job is to entertain belongs under the white tent and not inside the White House. A circus is mindless fun but the Office of the President of the United States is serious business. Let's pledge to keep it that way.