I’m a registered Republican, but I couldn’t bear to watch the Republican convention. After the “fun” that characterized the primary contest, I just needed a break. However, it was an event during the convention that finally sealed my vote… for Hillary.
One of the mornings during the convention week, I found myself skimming the usual news outlets online. I was reading an article when I was distracted by one of those randomly appearing video clips. In this clip, a woman was standing at the Republican National Convention, holding a sign that read “No Racism, No Hate.”
The sign itself was not a shocker or even newsworthy. What grabbed my attention was the elderly couple trying to rip it out of her hands. Worse yet, as the woman struggled to keep her sign held high, another group of men in suits were trying to cover her with a flag, seemingly to hide her from cameras and stifle her message.
A rage boiled inside of me. I had the computer volume off, but I replayed this clip several times on silent. I scoured the sign for clues that would explain or justify their actions. Did it say “I hate Trump” or “I love Democrats”? Both I imagine would be unpopular messages at the Republican convention. No – it said “No Racism, No Hate.” And people were trying to smother her message.
I questioned the source of my unusual rage. As a libertarian at heart and a fan of the Bill of Rights, I thought maybe it was the suppression of free speech that got me riled. That aspect indeed provoked my ire, but not to rage levels.
Then it came to me. The elderly couple’s behavior, and that of the gentlemen with the smothering flag, embodied perfectly what we have been observing through this election cycle. In the past year, I have witnessed previously kind, loving people, on all sides of the political spectrum, become really nasty toward their fellow human beings. And sadly, this is happening more with Republicans than Democrats, and I do believe Trump is to blame.
“The elderly couple’s behavior, and that of the gentlemen with the smothering flag, embodied perfectly what we have been observing through this election cycle.”
A leader of any sort creates a culture for his or her team. Whether in a company, in a family, or for country, a leader’s actions, words, and decisions lay the groundwork for the team members. Organizational development experts have produced heaps of evidence on how a CEO’s behavior creates the culture for the entire company. In a family, the head of household’s behavior also sets the tone for what is acceptable or not for the children. For example, children model traits such as work ethic, table manners, or even displays of affection based on what they observe in their parents.
Trump, as the leader of the Republican party, is creating a culture that is not just disruptive to the “establishment,” but is risking unraveling much of what actually does make America great: its society of generally friendly people who co-exist despite wildly different backgrounds, skin colors, religions, economic status levels, and political affiliations. With his powerful leadership status, when he attacks various classes, demonizes specific nationalities, praises violent acts performed in his name, and just acts like an old-fashioned bully and jerk, Trump is giving the “OK” to his constituents to act in the same manner.
“Trump, as the leader of the Republican party, is creating a culture that is not just disruptive to the 'establishment,' but is risking unraveling much of what actually does make America great.”
Human beings are born with caveman instincts and have to be taught to play nice. When children first play in the sandbox with other kids, they have an innate tendency to bash each other over the head and grab the toy or candy the other has. Parents exist in order to moderate those tendencies through admonishment, and with additional socialization with its peers, the child learns that he will not have any friends if he behaves like a nasty person. Fast forward to when the child is an adult and has a job. If he or she ridicules a colleague, or screams at an employee, chances are that his/her employment won’t last long.
With Trump now in a significant leadership position and thus acting as a role model for U.S. citizens, his actions are bringing out and validating these base instincts in a significant amount of the adult population. Here is a man who says it’s OK to punch someone over your beliefs, who tells you to fear someone who doesn’t share your religion, and who shows it’s permissible to call your colleagues names. Indeed, he is rallying people to actively display animosity toward entire segments of communities that have co-existed peacefully in America to this point. I really would hate to see how far people would regress should he become president, becoming role-model-in-chief.
“I am 'forced' to vote Hillary despite my worries about her ethics or my confidence that her 'Bernified” economic platform will harm the American economy.”
So much so, that I am “forced” to vote Hillary despite my worries about her ethics or my confidence that her “Bernified” economic platform will harm the American economy. I’m not super optimistic about the economic or global progress our country will make over the next four years under Democratic leadership. However, we can ultimately recover and repair policy mistakes that over-regulate or dis-incentivize productive economic behavior. Under a Trump leadership, the rifts in our society could be much harder to navigate and could take decades to fix. So, I’m stuck voting for Hillary.