Washington Post Political and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Eugene Robinson, began the week on Monday with his column, "Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?
At first thought, you may believe this is a sensational headline. In fact, as you read into the first two paragraphs, you may even come to the conclusion that Mr. Robinson is simply trying to make a point. But, the point may not be that simple afterall. He is attempting to make sense out of how a candidate for the Presidentcy of the United States, and leadership of the Free World could possibly be tolerating such wacky behavior and disrespectful rants from Donald Trump. We are increasingly in a media and entertainment environment that has been overtaken by sensationalism, and many times rewarded for it. However, are we now seeing worlds collide? Over-reaction, and emotional out-bursts that are not methodical, nor educated in timing or thought are a regular occurrence. I witnessed a preadolescent girl in the grocery yelling at her mother that she was ready to leave the store because she was tired and ready to go home. Yelling, I want to highlight.
Warren Buffet spoke on Tuesday at a rally in Omaha, Nebraska for Hillary Clinton. In speaking to the audience, asked very rationally, "How in the world can you stand up and to a couple of parents who have lost their son, and talk about sacrificing because you were building a bunch of buildings? I ask Donald Trump, do you not have any decency, sir?" Decency, this just may be the missing word that is used least in our culture today (and perhaps respect and thought). Where is our "decency" and our manners. With youth, I would ask, where is their respect.
As an example, I personally stopped reading Twitter for about 1 year because all of the reactions and comments were full of venom and downright attacks on people. No decency, no understanding that every issue has multiple sides, no respect. Choosing to only post to my (@lisaellis on Twitter) via my Instagram feed, I could participate, but no have to read any posts. Even posts from media outlets ctually made me angry and anxious. There is a tone that is just negative in our culture that has to change. It has to. This point is made not to get off the subject, and down the rabbit hole of the culture of each social media platform, but simply to say, we are breeding a negativity in our communication with each other that is breeding disrespect and a lack of decency. It truly should be medically studied as a disease attacking the population much like any other.
My Mother is a Registered Nurse and has primarily worked in the areas of trauma, terminally ill, and the critically ill patiens most of her 45 year career. She currently works as a Nurse and Health Advisor to a large Health & Life Insurance company. We were having dinner a few weeks ago when she was making a medical observation that there is a noticeable increase in cases of anxiety, depression and mental illness in our society. Now, I am not medical expert, and her concentration is also not psychiatric; however, the National Institute of Mental Health has reported that 46% of American adults over the age of 18 meet the criteria for at least one mental illness set by the American Psychiatric Association . Many of my friends now have young children in schools in various cities nationwide, most of my personal friends being in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. It is widely discussed among them the interviews, activities, and work that create layers of pressure on the child. Add in the ingredients that our youth and teens are consumed with gossip on social media, reality television that presents competition and negativity between people as entertainment. Many of the images that are most popular focus on plots and storylines that are centered around appearances, betrayal, competitiveness, distrust, and infidelity. Audiences do not understand that perhaps these plots are exaggerated or even created for the purpose of the show. What they see are people that are rarely at work or school, but in constant conflict. (This is not to say the participants do not have real jobs and are not intelligent people off camera). What youth and teens are seeing "on camera" is many times everything except reality.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, one of the kings of this "reality culture" is the Republican candidate for President, Donald Trump. So I go back to asking the very simple question put forth by the very intelligent Eugene Robinson, is Trump "Crazy like a fox, or just plain crazy?" Has his experience on television and his already megalomaniac personality completely removed this man from "reality" and "relatability" to people and society at large? Is our election for the President of the United States now one big reality show?
I have worked with clients, entertainers, and athletes in the public eye my entire career. Over the past decade, I have seen an enormous shift in focus on things that once were ancillary to a core talent (looks, wardrobe, circle of "friends", media coverage, etc). Now it seems that the image drives the core talent, or perhaps there is not a core talent such as singing, writing, acting? Some entertainers are quiting their core talents in an effort to be more lucrative just being famous and good looking.
There was once a quote I used to read as motivation, "Your mind will always believe everything you tell it." This could be good for believing in yourself, and never giving up and knowing you can accomplish your dreams, but turned on it's head, it could also be detrimental to one's soul, and the cause of loosing yourself, or never finding yourself. It is my opinion that I am observing a young generation that is entitled and has no concept of how to work to accomplish goals, learn, educate themselves. Our society is filled with short cuts that are creating a generation that has a lack of deep understanding and comprehension of what they are actually doing. As long as it "looks and feels" like you know what you are doing, then if you really do not know, then that is ok. They just want to "look" like they are important or feel famous. Not care if they actually are important, or earned respect, or if they are succeeding in hitting the thresholds of accomplishment. Certainly, there are a large number of people that pay their dues, and thrive in learning. I feel the popularity in Mr. Trump's "movement" is not that he is disruptive in a necessary way, which many of his followers would try to argue. He also does not have any answer to the change that is necessary in governing and politics. It is that he is playing to the "reality show" and "celebrity" culture that the masses are engulfed in. He is playing to the masses that do not actually understand comprehensively government, foreign policy, or economics; so his loud and obnoxious comments may sound like he is strong and has leadership qualities, but instead it is the exact opposite to anyone educated. He sounds chaotic and out of control. Like a truck rolling downhill with no brakes. He has absolutely no idea what he is talking about, and can not explain it in any articulate manner that makes sense without attacking someone else as a distraction away from the fact that he does not know what he is doing. This is the parallel I see now with society. Instead of working on yourself, yell at everyone else about how they are not doing their part, or just simply blame others for your shortcomings.
Trump does not understand that actual laws of the US Government, nor International law for that matter, he has an uneven and bully-like temper, and he is obsessed with himself, and hates anyone that does not agree with him. He basically is a reality show appealing to the lowest aspects of our society, pretending to fix it all. Anyone that says "yes" to his bad strategy is on the team. Anything constructive, off the team. Like the teenager that thinks they are going to meet a famous rich person that will change their life, so they have a short cut, or get a job at a big company without actually working for it; this man is lost and clueless and it is simply never going to happen. He is chasing his own tail and not realizing it.
In 1998 Trump was quoted in People magazine with regard to a question about his political aspirations. His remark, "If I were to run, I'd run as a Republican. They're the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they'd still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific". I am afraid now that this quote may actually represent our society as a whole. This election may actually be measurement of where our behavior economics actually are, and we have a much larger problem in our culture.